7 Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

7 Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

image
  • Pin It

The importance of B12 in the human body is hard to overestimate.

And while you hear things like how it’s important for your nerves, DNA and red blood cells among many other things, what does a lack of it actually do in more “every day” language?

To answer that, let’s take a look at a case study of what can happen when your levels get too low.

 

A real life example of what happens from low B12

 

The New England Journal of Medicine reported on the case of 62 year old man who, during the course of several weeks, starting having varied symptoms.

He experienced numbness, difficulty walking and intense joint pain. He had “stinging” sensations in his hands almost like pins poking him. His skin took on a yellowish color and shortness of breath would often occur.

He was checked out at Massachusetts General Hospital and they pinpointed the cause as a severe lack of B12 in his blood.

I highly encourage you to get a blood test for B12 and to know what your own levels are.

If you can’t do that anytime soon, here are 7 common warning signs that are linked to low levels of this vitamin.

 

Signs that you may be B12 deficient

 

  • Memory loss, impaired thinking and general cognitive difficulties.

 

  • If you have difficulty walking, tend to stagger, or have balance problems.

 

  • Various and “odd” sensations throughout your body, numbness, or tingling that occurs in your hands, legs or feet

 

  • Yellowish or jaundiced skin.

 

  • Anemia

 

  • A swollen tongue or if it’s inflamed.

 

  • General weakness and fatigue

 

If B12 levels drop to into the severely deficient range, it can lead to much worse conditions.

Deep states of depression, hallucinations and paranoia are all associated with extremely low levels. Losing the ability to taste and smell has even been linked to low B12.

And since it’s such an important part of brain health, it can lead to greatly diminished brain functioning, beyond what is mentioned above.

 

So what leads to low B12?

 

Here are some things to look out for, that can lead to or cause lower B12 levels.

A vegetarian or vegan diet (since plants don’t make B12, and you would need to supplement with B12 to keep your levels up).

Certain medications like PPI’s

Gut issues such as “leaky gut” or an inflamed gut.

Pernicious anemia

Low stomach acid or taking drugs to suppress acid production in the stomach.

Other things can include Metformin, a drug used for diabetes, people aged 60 and over and women who have had infertility issues in the past.

 

What to do?

Eat a lot eggs, dairy, poultry and animal sources of protein, which are all good sources of this vitamin.

(Quick note: you may hear things like fermented soy or spirulina and other sources have B12, but many of these plant-based foods have B12 analogs. These are called cobamides and they can block your intake of “real” B12 that your body needs).

If eating any of the above isn’t an option for you for any reason, you’ll want to supplement with B12.

And a form of B12 called methylcobalamin is your best bet, since it is better absorbed within your body.

 

OK, so what are optimal B12 levels to shoot for?

 

In the United States, you’ll see lab reference ranges as low as 250 or 300 pg/mL (picograms per milliliter) listed as “normal” when they are anything but.

As an example, Japan uses a lower limit of around 500 pg/mL and recommends treatment for anything below that number since B12 deficiency symptoms can start showing up at levels lower than 500.

Personally, I’d like to see B12 levels in the 800 to 1200 pg/mL range for optimal health.

Please do get your levels tested though as soon as you can.

And if you happen to find yourself with any of the warning signs described above or with levels of 400 or lower, you may want to boost your B12 and see what this powerful vitamin can do for you.

You’ll discover a list of additional things you can immediately do to experience extraordinary health by going here.

 

 

 

Now available: You can get the special report How to Heal Almost Anyone of Almost Anything using these 3 missing healing factors that works to reverse almost any condition.

 

 

  • lea

    you did not comment on if a B12 shot is better than pill as pills are water soluble and you pee most of them out ?

    • mwing

      I get B12 shots, and they are better absorbed because they are intramuscular. I get them because the body doesn't absorb B12. So if I were to take a B12 vitamin, I wouldn't absorb it. They do sell though the sublingual B12, at like a pharmacy store, which goes directly into your system. Don't know the dose; you'd have to ask your DR about that.

  • Tamstermac

    You DO NOT have to eat animals products to get B12. The best way to get it is to supplement with sublingual B12 tablets. Misleading information here.

    • Jodi

      Agreed! You definitely do not have to eat animals products to get B12. Couldn't agree more. Spirulina as well as B12 sublingual tablets have done wonders for me! 🙂

    • Ursula

      Of course you realize that vegans would die of B12 deficiency if there was no such a thing as supplements, right? Meaning that your diet doesn't supply everything needed for life.

      • Nandita

        Do you realize many meat-eaters are deficient in B-12 and many vegans/vegetarians aren't ! 🙂

  • Jessica

    I'm a Certified Health Educator and your advice that meat and dairy is advised to raise or get your source of B12 or AWFUL. Just take a whole foods vitamin. The health risks you put yourself in eating meat and dairy are truly the worst thing you can do.

    • MIKE

      Agreed Jessica !! For a health newsletter they are so off base–B12 deficiency is rare, we need so little
      of it to be deficient isn't easy. Taking 5 mcg daily is enough. Some take 1000mcg's daily–don't know why.

    • dppdee

      milk and meat actually are acid forming in the body and DEPLETE our bodies of B12 and calcium…..
      say no more

  • Lisa

    I have pernicious anemia so I can't absorb B12 normally because my body lacks Intrinsic Factor. I have to inject it weekly or biweekly.

    • mwing

      Me too. In an emergency though I take the sublingual B12 vitamins.

    • Brain On Hugs

      I read that pernicious anemia is caused by a parasite, which can be treated, but most doctors don't bother with testing for that. http://pamrotella.com/health/b12.html

  • Juniper

    What about the balance of ALL B-vitamins? – I've heard that overdose of one vitamin B could lead to lack of other B-vitamins?

    • saintpio1

      Juniper, I was just about to write that. If you want Alzheimers -just take one B for a long time, especially in a shot form! Niacin is a B vitamin and is the memory vitamin. Big pharma is the evil of all foods! and when they get into the supplement business you can expect all sorts of bad info.
      As far as research goes—don't believe everything they come up with. It's all about MONEY!
      AND my husband was in research. The journals paid the lab people for their results. There was a deadline each month to make the next month's journal. If you're research was not quite finished and you wanted the bonus for that month, you just came to your own conclusion with the project not quite finished! So who's to believe any research???

  • Ty

    Do levels of the mineral cobalt correspond to levels of Vitamin B12?

  • brittany

    The b12 shot is on a national back order. How is someone with a severe lack of B12 going to recover? The vitamins in my case wear off after 20mintutes and my symptoms don't improve

    • mwing

      I don't think it is on back order anymore that I've heard. At least where I live. My DRs office didn't have it for about 2 months but got it in awhile ago (maybe 4 months ago?) because the manufacturer started making it again.

  • Belinda

    I have vitamin b12 patches so it goes straight Into the blood stream, as I don't absorb it either but I have found if I have to much I get acne so be careful. If you lack b12 your hair goes grey prematurely too.

  • Brain On Hugs

    B12 is not made by plants OR animals, but by bacteria. Most animals today are given B12 supplements themselves. I have no problem taking a supplement instead of eating from an animal that was given one.

  • Sandra

    Personally I feel it is wrong for vegans/ vegetarians to attach a balanced food diet that include animal product. People will attach someone else's lifestyle choices using mis-information and scare tactics to convert people to their own way of thinking.

    A balanced healthy lifestyle no matter if your animal and veg or just veg should be sufficient to supply you with the nutrients you need to be healthy. Yes so what if a person chooses to eliminate animal product they may need supplement in their diet, at least those alternatives are available.

    So what if others enjoy the inclusion of animal products in their diet and don't need a supplement.

    At the end of the day each and every nutrient/vitamin needs to be balanced in your body or you will not absorb any of them properly if at all.

    Key take away is all vitamins and nutrients are inter connecting and too much of one and not enough of the other will see a lack of absorption and the synergy being thrown out of whack. So no matter who you are and the dietary lifestyle choices you make the most important key to keep in mind is "BALANCE"

  • Sandy

    I'm taking a SISU 5,000 mcg sublingual daily. It dissolves under the tongue after 5 minutes. But I have absorption issues so I don't think it is working very well.

    For those here taking injections, which form of B12 are you taking? Is it cyanocobalamin? In Canada that is the only form I can find for injections. The methylcobalamin (better absorb-able) kind is very hard to find in injection form. I haven't been able to find any online. Does anyone know of a reputable online supplier where you can purchase it online?

  • Kerry
  • kerry

    there is also http://www.chemistwarehouse.com.au/cartedit.asp
    hope this helps
    Kerry

  • Charlotte Parker

    For those struggling with B12 deficiency, I recently heard about a new alternative to the injections. Has anyone heard of it, it’s called Eligen B12? Apparently it is the first and only true alternative to the intramuscular injection. I recently read that it works as well as the IM injection even if you don’t have intrinsic factor (so even if you don’t have normal gut absorption). It’s a once daily pill that apparently it came out a month or two ago

  • Vickie

    Is B-12 most effective with a shot? I’ve heard that before and was wondering if it was true or not.