Harmful and Sneaky – Vitamin B12 deficiency

Harmful and Sneaky – Vitamin B12 deficiency

How important is Vitamin B12? Here is an answer that should get your attention: Over the course of two months, a 62-year-old man

  • developed numbness and a “pins and needles” sensation in his hands,
  • had trouble walking,
  • experienced severe joint pain,
  • began turning yellow, and
  • became progressively short of breath.

The cause was lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream, according to a report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine.i That’s not all that could have happened: a severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more.Important: A B-12 deficiency can be permanently damaging. The good news is that it isn’t that hard to avoid if you pay attention. “...neurological complications are present in 75-90 percent of individuals with clinically observable B-12 deficiency...” (Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes) Who’s at risk:

  • Vegetarians
  • If you are using a proton pump inhibitor (e.g. Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid) or an H2 blocker (e.g. Zantac or Pepcid)
  • Individuals over 50
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gastric bypass or gastric sleeve
  • Type 1 Diabetics and Type 2 Diabetics using Metformin
  • Poor eating habits

What to look for:

  • tingling and numbness in your hands, legs or feet
  • difficulty walking
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of reflexes
  • unsteadiness, loss of balance, trouble walking

Severe cases can have:

  • confusion or difficulty thinking or reasoning
  • memory loss
  • dementia
  • depression

Digestive tract effects:

  • nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • vomiting,
  • heartburn,
  • abdominal bloating and gas,
  • constipation or diarrhea,
  • loss of appetite, and
  • weight loss.
  • an enlarged liver

Blood-related effects: Finally, B-12 deficiency can cause hematological (blood-related) problems:

  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • palpitations (feeling that the heart is beating either too hard or too fast, or skipping a beat, or fluttering

That’s a long list of symptoms and many of them can be caused by other deficiencies and diseases, so you cannot assume that a B-12 deficiency is the cause. Always consult your doctor. What Vitamin B12 will NOT do: Because B12 deficiencies have been associated with some kinds of cognitive decline, some vitamin companies market it as if it will benefit Alzheimer’s patients. We know of no research that supports that claim. About B12 Quality: Most brands of Vitamin B12 contain B12 made in China. OPURITY Vitamin B12 is China Free: it contains no ingredients and no raw materials from China.

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