Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Don't B caught short!

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are not all the same for all people. Two people can both have a vitamin B12 deficiency but have very different symptoms.

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What does Vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 is also known as the energy vitamin because it is essential for critical functions such as blood formation, energy production, central nervous system function, and DNA synthesis. Without adequate B12 your body can display symptoms that mimic depression, dementia and even multiple sclerosis. Read more on my Vitamin B12 page.

What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin B12?

Low vitamin b12 can lead to anaemia, fatigue, and depression. Long term deficiency has the potential to cause permanent damage to the central nervous system and the brain.

Following is a list of potential vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, but be aware these can also be the result of other nutrient deficiencies and conditions. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, then you may have some of these symptoms but not all.

  • Fatigue and feelings of weakness
  • Anaemia
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Poor eye health
  • Red and/or sore tongue
  • Numbness/tingling in arms and legs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Occasional digestive issues
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased blood clotting
  • Memory problems and mental fogginess
  • Menstrual problems
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Loss of motivation/apathy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Hair loss and/or dandruff
  • Sleep difficulties/insomnia

What are the causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Many of the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are listed on the Vitamin B12 page.

How is Vitamin B12 Deficiency diagnosed?

The only way to ascertain Vitamin B12 levels in the blood is to have the new tests of serum methylmalonic acid and homocysteine which are highly sensitive for vitamin B12 deficiency. (Afd. Inwendige Geneeskunde, Academisch Medisch Centrum/Universiteit van Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam.) See your health professional for testing.

What is the treatment for Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms?

Eat foods with vitamin B12 already naturally packaged in them!

Depending on whether you have a mild or severe deficiency, you will be prescribed oral pills; sublingual pills, liquid, or strip; intranasal spray; transdermal patches or by injection.

For severe vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, the traditional approach is to give subcutaneous or intramuscular injections of hydroxycobalamin, cyanocobalamin, or methylcobalamin. Stores in the liver are partly repleted with six injections in the first couple of weeks but full repletion of liver stores will require approximately 20 injections, and then maintenance with monthly injections throughout the life of the patient. Vitamin B12 injections can also be self-administered using the same fine-gauge needles and syringes used for self-administration of insulin but this is all to be ascertained by your health professional.

Interesting Article

According to an article appearing in the Americal Family Physician Contrary to prevailing medical practice, studies show that supplementation with oral vitamin B12 is a safe and effective treatment for the B12 deficiency state. Even when intrinsic factor is not present to aid in the absorption of vitamin B12 (pernicious anemia) or in other diseases that affect the usual absorption sites in the terminal ileum, oral therapy remains effective.

Most of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can often be reversed by early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

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