Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time. It can also come on relatively quickly. Given the array of symptoms a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else. Vitamin B12deficiency symptoms may include:
- strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
- difficulty walking
- difficulty thinking and reasoning , or memory loss
While an experienced physician may notice the symptoms and be able to detect a vitamin B12 deficiency with a good interview and physical exam, a blood test is needed to confirm the condition.
Its a good idea to ask your doctor about having your B12 level checked if you are a strict vegetarian or have had weight-loss surgery or have a condition that interferes with the absorption of food.
Early detection and treatment is important. If left untreated, the deficiency can cause severe neurologic problems and blood diseases.
Lack Of Intrinsic Factor
In a very small portion of the population, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a protein secreted by the stomach lining that binds to vitamin B12 and enables its absorption.
Lack of intrinsic factor can be caused by weakened stomach lining or certain autoimmune diseases.
This can lead to pernicious anemia, a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.
If left untreated, it ultimately leads to serious neurological damage.
Treatment usually involves mega-doses of oral B12 or regular B12 injections.
If you suspect that you have a lack of intrinsic factor, discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.
Healthy Brain Aging With Adequate B12
B-12 supplementation offers promise for supporting normal brain health. A 2010 Oxford study on older adults found that B vitamin supplementation over the course of two years slowed brain atrophy by an astonishing 30%. Participants with the highest levels of homocysteine responded with a remarkable 53% reduction in brain atrophy when compared to the placebo group.
If youre in the market for a safe, natural B12 supplement, I highly recommend Global Healings own Vitamin B12. This supplement is made from 100% vegan sources and contains a blend of methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin.
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It May Help Treat Alzheimers Disease
Gotu kola has the ability to enhance memory and nerve function, which gives it potential in treating Alzheimers disease. In fact, one 2012 study on mice found that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in mice with Alzheimers disease.
The extract was also shown, in lab and animal studies, to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This could also protect the cells from forming the plaque associated with Alzheimers.
Still, further research is needed to determine exactly how gotu kola could be used to treat Alzheimers. If youre interested in adding this to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor before use.
How to use: Take 30 to 60 drops of liquid gotu kola extract 3 times per day. Dosages may vary between manufacturers, so always carefully follow the directions on the bottle.
animal study from 2016 found that gotu kola had an anti-anxiety effect on male mice that were sleep deprived for 72 hours. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, oxidative damage, and neuroinflammation.
Mice that were given gotu kola for five consecutive days before undergoing sleep deprivation experienced significantly less anxiety-like behavior. They also experienced improved locomotor activity and less oxidative damage.
A 2013 review of anti-anxiety herbal medicines also concluded that gotu kola has an acute anti-anxiety effect. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Which Vitamins Help Memory And Concentration
The nutrients in our body play a role in nourishing brain health, ensuring normal blood flow to the brain, and improving cognitive function. When the brain is not properly fed, people may experience cognitive decline resulting in memory loss, brain fog, memory problems, and compromised short-term memory function. When our bodies and brains come up short of the vitamins that make us tick, thats where supplements should come into play.
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Specific Objectives And Objectives Of The Separate Studies
In North Indian children aged 6 to 30 months at enrolment, measure to what extent 6months administration of vitamin B12 with or without folic acid improves neurodevelopment and cognitive function 5years after the end of supplementation. Age range at follow-up is 79 years.
In South Indian children, measure to what extent administration of daily vitamin B12 in combination with iron and folic acid from 14 weeks gestational age through 6weeks postpartum improves neurodevelopment, cognition and neurophysiological function in childhood. Age range at follow-up is 56.5 years.
In Tanzanian children, measure to what extent administration of vitamin B12 given with other vitamins from 11 to 17 weeks gestational age until delivery improves neurodevelopment and cognitive function up to school age. Age range at follow-up is 1115 years.
In Tanzanian children, measure to what extent administration of vitamin B12 given with other vitamins from week 6 to 18 months of age improves neurodevelopment and cognitive function up to school age. Age range at follow-up is 710 years.
To estimate the effect of vitamin B12 administration on certain domains of neurodevelopment using pooled data from all of the above studies.
Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin .
It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk.
Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly. Youre at risk of deficiency if you dont get enough from your diet or arent able to absorb enough from the food you eat.
- Those whove had surgery that removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12
- People on the drug metformin for diabetes
- People following a strict vegan diet
- Those taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn
Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex. A B12 deficiency can sometimes be mistaken for a folate deficiency.
Low levels of B12 cause your folate levels to drop. However, if you have a B12 deficiency, correcting low folate levels may simply mask the deficiency and fail to fix the underlying problem (
Here are 9 signs and symptoms of a true vitamin B12 deficiency.
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So What Is One To Do To Try To Prevent Dementia
The experts have put out many recommendations about lifestyle factors that can lead lower rates of dementia.These typically include things that comprise a generally healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, a diet high in fruits, vegetable, whole grains and low in fat and sugar, moderate alcohol intake, good sleep habits. In addition, keeping your brain active with things like crossword puzzles, Sodoku and regular social interactions are also known to preserve to the continued firing of those brain cells.
However, many people would like to go beyond lifestyle changes to prevent memory loss. It is certainly worth considering what vitamins or supplements to take for memory loss and concentration. There is a great deal of research out there about many different vitamins for memory, with a just a few things showing some conclusive evidence that these vitamins prevent memory loss. They can in fact be a part of a custom all in one vitamin.
Other Research About Vitamins For Memory Loss Have Included Some Data On The Antioxidant Vitamins Such As Vitamin C And Vitamin E
There is some conflicting data, but some good information to suggest that reasonable doses of these vitamins may help prevent memory loss. They seem protect more against vascular dementia as compared to Alzheimers type dementia. However, many people with memory loss have features of both type of disease, so helping the vascular component would be useful. Vitamin C and Vitamin E seem to help prevent dementia because they have an anticoagulant or blood thinning effect. For this reason they should only be taken in moderate doses and with caution in someone who has a risk of bleeding .
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How Long Does Vitamin B12 Take To Work
If you begin early on, then you should start seeing results from vitamin B12 before long, depending on how much vitamin B12 you need in order to achieve a normal level.
Normal vitamin B12 levels are about 200 900 pg. /mL, but its not unusual to experience symptoms even if you are within the normal range.
Some people start to feel better, more energetic, immediately others dont notice improvements in memory or mood problems for a few weeks. Still others may not experience any relief for several months.
There is really no accurate way of measuring exactly how long it will take for vitamin B12 to help your body build new red blood cells, begin healing damaged nerve cells, or boost energy levels.
Most vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, and it took years for B12 levels to drop to the point that you started noticing the symptoms of B12 deficiency, so its important to be patient, and give your body enough time to slowly accumulate vitamin B12 in the bloodstream.
How To Ensure You Get The Right Vitamins And Minerals In The Right Amounts
Vitamins and minerals are as essential for living as air and water. Not only do they keep your body healthy and functional, they protect you from a variety of diseases.
Vitamins and minerals get thrown together, but they are quite different. Vitamins are organic substances produced by plants or animals. They often are called essential because they are not synthesized in the body and therefore must come from food.
Minerals are inorganic elements that originate from rocks, soil, or water. However, you can absorb them indirectly from the environment or an animal that has eaten a particular plant.
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Prepares You For A Good Nights Rest
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest reading as part of a regular sleep routine.
For best results, you may want to choose a print book rather than reading on a screen, since the light emitted by your device could keep you awake and lead to other unwanted health outcomes.
Doctors also recommend that you read somewhere other than your bedroom if you have trouble falling asleep.
Does Folic Acid And B12 Reduce The Risk Of Memory Loss
Although some early observational studies have suggested that vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements may reduce the risk of memory loss and improve cognitive performance, new study results in the journal Neurology say it isnt so.
Two-year folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation did not beneficially affect performance on 4 cognitive domains in elderly people with elevated homocysteine levels, says study author Rosalie Dhonukshe-Rutten, PhD, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. It may slightly slow the rate of decline of global cognition, but the small difference reported may be attributable to chance._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Vitamin B12 Therapy That’s Easy to Swallow_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dhonukshe-Rutten and her colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to look at the effects of 2-year folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation on cognitive performance in elderly people with elevated levels of homocysteine. High levels of this amino acid have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimers disease.
Dhonukshe-Rutten and her colleagues look forward to discovering more about how B-vitamins interact with the brain as they continue their research in this area.
Immune System And Vitamin B12
A growing body of evidence confirms that vitamin B12 exhibits immunomodulatory effects. One study discovered that although this vitamin doesnt affect the immune system of rats that were fed the standard diet for 30 days, it has a beneficial impact on protein-deficient animals.
Supplementation with vitamin B12 strengthened the immune system of rats that didnt consume sufficient amount of protein, thus confirming that adequate intake of this micronutrient is vital for good overall health and wellbeing.
The positive impact of vitamin B12 on the immune system is particularly important if we bear in mind that thyroid hormones T3 and T4 modulate immune activity on a cellular level.
Evidence shows that thyroid hormones play a big role in regulating lymphocyte reactivity.
Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells generated by the immune system to defend the body against pathogens, cancerous cells, viruses, bacteria, and diseases.
What If The Person Wont Go For Investigations And Tests
The person may be feeling frightened of getting a diagnosis and may think that they will lose their independence or have to go into care. In some cases, they may not understand that there are concerns about their memory or behaviour and deny they have a problem.
It is important to reassure the person that their symptoms may be due to another potentially treatable condition. This could mean they become more willing to visit the GP. If the person simply refuses to go to the GP, you can contact the surgery to explain the situation, either by phone, letter or email. The GP may be able to provide a home visit to speak to the person about their symptoms.
The GP may not be prepared to discuss confidential information with you, but they should welcome relevant information about the persons current health and concerns.
For more advice on encouraging someone who is reluctant to visit their GP, please watch our video, here.
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General Characteristics And Nutrient Intakes
The general characteristics of participants are described in a previous study . The mean age of subjects was 74.8±7.2 years, and patients with AD were older than those without AD. Patients with AD were less educated, lived less often with a spouse, and comprised a higher proportion of females than those without AD. The average dietary and total nutrient intake including supplements is presented in Table . The total energy intake of subjects was 1490.4±445.5 kcal, which was 75.1% less than the estimated energy requirement for KDRI. Mean intake of total energy, protein and folic acid was significantly lower in MCI and AD groups compared to the normal group. However, no significant difference in nutrient intake was found among all groups after adjustment for covariates of age, gender, BMI, marital status, education, current smoking, energy intake, thyroid disease, and vascular risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Table 1 Comparison of mean intake of each nutrient among AD, MCI and normal groups
The Symptoms Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A vitamin B12 and folate deficiency can develop slowly, over time, or it can rapidly progress.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Bleeding gums and easy bruising
- Muscle weakness and severe fatigue
- Numbness, pins and needle sensations and tingling in the extremities
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the tongue
Because so many seniors were discovered to have B12 and folate deficiencies, researchers convey that there needs to be a higher level of public health policy to protect the public.
They also recommend that people with dementia be screened to address the overlap that may occur between symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency and symptoms of dementia. Its vital to consult with a health care provider if symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency are noted in a person with dementia.
Dementia caregivers should also inquire about regular screening and supplementation of vitamin B12 and folate as part of a brain-healthy diet and lifestyle regime.
Have you, a parent or senior loved one been screened for a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency? Why or why not? Wed like to hear your stories in the comments below.
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Potential Side Effects And Risks
Gotu kola is generally well tolerated. In some cases, it can cause headache, upset stomach, and dizziness. Starting with a low dose and gradually working up to a full dose can help reduce your risk of side effects.
You should only take gotu kola for two to six weeks at a time. Be sure to take a two week break before resuming use.
When applied topically, gotu kola has the potential to cause skin irritation. You should always do a patch test before moving forward with a full application. Herbs arent monitored by the FDA and gotu kola has been found to have dangerous levels of heavy metals due to being grown in contaminated soil. Choose to buy products from reliable sources.
Dont use gotu kola if you:
- are pregnant
- have hepatitis or other liver disease
- have a scheduled surgery within the next two weeks
- are under 18 years of age
- have a history of skin cancer
Talk to your doctor before use if you:
- have liver disease
- are taking medications such as sedatives for sleep or anxiety
- are taking diuretics
Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
The current project takes advantage of recently completed randomised placebo-controlled trials to study long-term effects of oral vitamin B12 supplementation on neurodevelopmental outcomes and growth in children in Tanzania and India.
The project provides an excellent opportunity to examine the effect of vitamin B12 supplementation during different periods of the critical first 1000 days and measure the outcomes later in childhood.
The studies were not designed to follow the children up beyond the time of supplementation, which may lead to a somewhat high rate of loss to follow-up.
The effect measures may be difficult to standardise across the different studies.
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