Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!
Vitamin B12 deficiency is not some strange, mysterious disease. It has been well documented in much medical literature. The causes and effects of vitamin B12 deficiency are well-known within the scientific community. But despite that Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed.
In fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is far more common than most people realize.
Vitamin B12 deficiency in 40%
The Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggests that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma vitamin B12 levels in the low-normal range – a range at which many people still experience neurological symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and numb, tingling muscles.
Outright vitamin B12 deficiency was exhibited by 9 percent of the study participants and 16 percent exhibited “near deficiency”. Low vitamin B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly, to the surprise of the researchers.
Vitamin B12 is vital
The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, protect the nerves, synthesize DNA, and carry out other crucial functions.
The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day. But since your body can’t produce vitamin B12, it is necessary to supply it through foods containing vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 supplements.
Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency that can be difficult to diagnose.
Vitamin B12 deficiency- off the radar
There are two reasons why a vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed. To begin with, most physicians do not routinely test for vitamin B12 deficiency, even in adults who are at high risk.
Second, the low end of the laboratory reference range for vitamin B12 deficiency is too low. Most studies underestimate the true levels of B12 deficiency. Many B12 deficient people have so-called “normal” levels of B12, enough to prevent death from pernicious anemia, but not enough to prevent debilitating symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 levels.
Digesting vitamin B12 is difficult!
Vitamin B12 absorption is a complex process and involves multiple steps. The malabsorption of Vitamin B12 can be caused by:
- Intestinal dysbiosis (microbial imbalances)
- Leaky gut, gut inflammation
- Atrophic gastritis or hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
- Autoimmune pernicious anemia
- Medications such metformin and PPIs (acid-suppressing drugs)
- Extremely high alcohol
- Exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or recreational use)
Treating vitamin B12 deficiency
Diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency is relatively easy and cheap. Explain your symptoms to your doctor, and request a blood test to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency.
Usually, 1,000mcg doses of vitamin B12 taken biweekly or monthly will suffice, but it’s important to judge by your symptoms. You may need to take extra vitamin B12, in addition to what your doctor prescribes, as some medical insurance plans don’t cover the amount of prescription vitamin B12 shots needed to achieve full recovery.
Fortunately, vitamin B12 is safe to take in any amount, according to FDA guidelines, so you can take as much vitamin B12 as you think you need to increase your energy and improve your mood, without worrying about any harmful side effects.
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