Vitamin B12 is a great example of why simply buying a multivitamin at the grocery store usually isn’t enough to improve health.
I wanted to highlight this special vitamin because it is one that I order from overseas. The first reason I order it is because of the high quality of the products and also because of its availability in liquid form, which is great for children and those that have difficulty swallowing pills.
The second more selfish reason is because it comes with a stamp that says “Royal Mail,” and I like to pretend the King and Queen are sending me packages!
Signs You May Need B12
- Memory loss, dementia, forgetfulness
- Mulitple Sclerosis (MS) or numbness/tingling
- Depression, Bipolar Disorder
- Anxiety, Pyschosis
- Learning or Developmental Disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Autoimmune disease and Immune Dysregulation
- Infertility (both male and female)
- Chronic Fatigue
- Elevated Homocysteine
B12 is a unique vitamin in that it is one of the 13 essential vitamins and it is the only vitamin that cannot be obtained from plants or sunlight. It is produced by the bacteria in the gut of animals and then it is absorbed in the small intestine. The best sources of B12 are animal products like meat, fish and dairy.
Given that, obviously vegans and vegetarians are likely to become deficient in B12 over time. Even in those eating a diet high in animal products, the process of digestion and absorption of B12 is complex and many people fail to get B12 from the food they are eating.
The difficult part about B12 deficiency is that there is not a particular symptom that suggests B12 deficiency. Symptoms vary based upon your age, your length of deficiency and the severity of your deficiency. Because Vitamin B12 is used in maintaining health of the nerves, brain, blood and immune system, it can affect almost any part of the body.
- Personality changes
- Memory loss
- Violent behavior
- Developmental Delays
- Autistic Behavior
- Tingling or numbness
- Decreased Sense of Touch
- Decreased Sense of Pain/Temperature
- Muscle Weakness
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Muscle Spasms
- Vision Changes
- Optic Nerve Damage
- Heart Attacks
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness
- Chronic Fatigue
- Loss of Appetitte
- Weight Loss
- Poor Digestion/Pain
- Poor wound healing
- Failure to thrive (newborns)
- Vitiligo or hyperpigmentation
Many people think that if they are eating a Paleo diet and plenty of animal type products that they are not susceptible to B12 deficiency, but getting B12 out of food and to its activated from can be impaired from many things. Some of the more common reasons I see are:
- Intestinal dysbiois
- Leaky gut or gut inflammation
- Low stomach acid
- Medications (antacids)
- Nitrous Oxide
Because B12 is difficult to digest and activate, I often use Adenosylcobalamin and Methylcobalamin depeding on which tests in office. Standard treatment for B12 deficiency is cyanocobalamin, but if you are only converting a small percentage of it into active Adenosyl-B12 and Methyl-B12, then the process to recovery can be prolonged.