Friday, 16 May 2008

vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

A deficiency of vitamin B12 can gradually lead to abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms, like:

* fatigue
* diarrhea
* pale skin
* dementia
* spasticity
* psychoses
* sore mouth
* hypotension
* incontinence
* appetite loss
* bleeding gums
* rapid heart rate
* vision problems
* tongue problems
* muscle weakness
* shaky movements
* mood disturbances
* shortness of breath
* impaired sense of smell
* tingling/numbness in hands/feet
* unsteady gait ~ especially in the dark
* personality changes ~ “megaloblastic madness”
oh dear! better get some of this!

1 comment:

Jeffrey Dach MD said...

B12 deficiency and MS symptoms

Vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 10%-15% of individuals over the age of 60.

A recent study in Israel of elderly hospitalized patients found 40% had low or borderline serum B12 levels. Vegetarians are another group with inadequate dietary B12 intake since much of our B12 comes from meat consumption. A recent study showed 50% of long term vegetarians have B12 deficiency, with decreased serum B12 levels and elevated homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause unusual neurological symptoms such as tremor, gait disturbance, severe pain, and can mimic MS (multiple sclerosis) or even Parkinson’s Syndrome. The physical signs and symptoms can often mimic other diseases and the diagnosis is frequently missed.

An excellent book on the topic is: Could it Be B12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnosis by Sally M. Pacholok, R.N. and Jeffrey J Stuart, D.O.

Most doctors do not test for B12, and even they do a blood test, they do the standard serum B12 which is unreliable. A more accurate test called the methyl malonate test has been devised.

The substance, Methyl Malonate is elevated in the urine and serum in patients with B12 deficiency.

Should the B12 level be low in spite of oral or sublingual B12 supplements, then inexpensive B12 injections can be taken at home. Recent work by Kuzminski showed that daily 2 mg. oral B12 serves as well as monthly 1 mg intramuscular B12 injections.

Other tip offs: Serum Homocysteine is elevated in B12 deficiency. And red blood cell size (MCV) is enlarged.

It is important to discover B12 deficiency early, since nerve damage can be irreversible if not discovered right away.

B12 Deficiency by Jeffrey Dach MD

Jeffrey Dach MD