If you’re planning a pregnancy, you might want to check your B12 levels- numerous reports link vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy with miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, and other fertility problems. B12 deficiency anemia- pernicious anemia– makes it harder for women to conceive, as well as for men to produce fertile sperm.
Medical research proves the fertility-B12 deficiency link
One of the most famous studies on fertility and B12 deficiency examined fourteen women of childbearing age who suffered vitamin B12 deficiency:
- All women who participated in the study suffered severe vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in addition to low fertility- Four had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for two to eight years, and eleven experienced repeated miscarriages and spontaneous abortions.
- Dr. Michael Bennett, hematologist of the Ha’Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, implemented vitamin B12 supplementation to see if it would have any effect on their ability to conceive and have healthy pregnancies.
- If fetal loss were to continue despite elevating B12 levels, it would prove that infertility was unrelated to B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia symptoms.
- Instead, result showed that ten out of the fourteen test subjects experienced favorable results from vitamin B12 supplements. The results can be found in this study on vitamin B12 and fertility.
Dr. Bennett explains the connection
- Bennett notes that B12 deficiency, combined with folate deficiency, led to thrombophilia (blood clotting) in seven of the women studied, thus increasing their risk for miscarriage.
- He believes that taking large amounts of folic acid, a nutrient prescribed to women of childbearing age, often masks B12 deficiency symptoms, making it harder to diagnose and treat.
- In his conclusion, Dr. Bennett attributes raised homocysteine levels, a symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency, with repeated fetal loss, and over time, ovulation disorder.
“Correcting this deficiency can rapidly lead to a normal pregnancy,” states Bennett. “This study illustrates the importance of measuring B12 levels…in every patient investigated for infertility or recurrent (miscarriage).”
Report findings are available by The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
Why does my body need B12?
Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways- it helps to produce red blood cells, promotes DNA synthesis, guards the nervous system’s myelin sheath, maintains cognitive functioning, lowers homocysteine levels, and supports metabolism.
Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms
What symptoms are associated with vitamin B12 deficiency?
Since vitamin B12 interacts with so many different areas of the body, many seemingly unrelated symptoms indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia masks itself as mood disorders, diabetes, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, hypothyroid, and other chronic conditions.
Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency:
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- “Brain fog”
- Painful tingling, numbness or “prickly” sensations, mainly in the hands and feet
- Sore, swollen tongue
- Altered sense of taste
- Loss of balance while walking, running, or jumping
- Decreased fine motor skills
- Muscular feebleness
- Heart palpitations
Read more about B12 deficiency and pregnancy:
Pregnant Moms and Low B-12 Levels: Let ‘em Eat Steak!
Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency while Breast Feeding
Are Vegans in France Responsible for Breast-fed Baby’s Death?
Vitamin B12 deficiency, infertility and recurrent fetal loss- PubMed, NCBI
Lack Of Vitamin B12 Linked To Repeat Miscarriage
Vitamin B12 deficiency, infertility and miscarriage
Image credits, from top:
Stuart Miles, Ambro, photostock, winnond