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Thread: Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  1. #1
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    Default Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Hello, I'm a twenty year old girl from East Texas living in D. C. for college. I have a question about possible B12 deficiency neurological symptoms. I've got the last six months or so of my physical state written below, if you would rather not read that and just skip to the question, I don't mind :-) Thanks for any help!

    Since November, I haven't been feeling well. My initial symptoms were fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and loss of appetite. I just chalked it up to college life and continued on with myself. My symptoms worsened and increased at the end of January. The above were enhanced and I also began having nausea, some confusion (fuzzy head, some slight short-term memory loss) and weakness. Now all these symptoms were irritating, but not necessarily debilitating. I was still going to class, writing papers, and enjoying myself on Friday nights. Around March things took a definite turn. Everything was much worse, the fatigue and weakness had become absolutely draining and the "fuzziness" in my head had become a thick fog. I started to occasionally experience either disorientation and loss of balance. I still lived my day to day life as usual, but I was becoming worn down.

    I went to the local health center on campus (end of March) and was tested for anemia, thyroid levels and some other things. Everything came back fine, except I had a slightly elevated White Blood Cell count. The doctor said she wanted to test again a week later and see if the level went down. I scheduled the appointment for the next Monday. That week my disorientation/ loss of balance increased dramatically and on Friday (the Friday before my appointment) night, I began experiencing full body tremors. The ER doctor said it was likely anxiety. He said that they would stop, gave me Lorazepam, and sent me home. The tremor's persisted until Saturday night (nearly 24 hours after they started) and calmed down into gentle jerks in my legs. As the tremors calmed, I began to get a very bad headache, starting from neck and creeping to my forehead. The mental fog had increased to the point where I did not even feel like I was there, similar to a constant out-of-body experience. That Monday the doctor referred me to a neurologist and I was able to get in that afternoon at a local clinic. The neurologist ordered blood work, and EEG, and an MRI. I had the blood work done that day, and scheduled the other two tests for that week.

    Two weeks have passed and I have received the results. My EEG and MRI are fine and the blood work largely came back normal. The only cause for concern is my B12 level. The range on the paper is 200-1100. My score is 287. On the paper is a note stating that though the range is 200-1100, 5-10% of people with scores in the range of 200-400 experience neuropsychiatric and hematological symptoms due to occult B12 deficiency. I've researched the deficiency and the symptoms listed match mine to a T.

    I am curious if a person can have neurological symptoms due to B12 deficiency without actual damage appearing on an EEG or MRI.
    Last edited by kblesmis; 04-21-2012 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Vitamin B12 deficiency

    Same thing happened to my 19 year old. B12 in the 200s is not "optimal" even though it is the so-called range of "normal" It does not reflect level of B12 in the tissues. You need to replete asap, because left untreated it can lead to permanent nerve damage. You can try a high quality sublingual Methyl-B12 lozenge every day. But since the B vitamins work together you might want to try Methyl-B12 + Methyl-folate (not folic acid) + B6. Even better would be to start with a B12 shot or series of shots, but as you have already discovered, many practicing physicians were not taught the signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency in absence of anemia. Folic acid in our foods corrects the anemia that used to be seen....Sadly, now patients are just told they have "anxiety" There is no reason to replete slowly , the longer you wait the more likely damage will be done.

    Huge amounts of wasted health care dollars on unnecessary tests, and terrible patient suffering because of physician knowledge gap.

    This paper is a good start to read: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0301/p979.html

    Some people will need shots not pills. So if the pills are not working for you find a physician in DC who knows about B12 deficiency , this article mentions some, I think associated with GW hospital: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...340653656.html

    Quote Originally Posted by kblesmis View Post
    Hello, I'm a twenty year old girl from East Texas living in D. C. for college. I have a question about possible B12 deficiency neurological symptoms. I've got the last six months or so of my physical state written below, if you would rather not read that and just skip to the question, I don't mind :-) Thanks for any help!

    Since November, I haven't been feeling well. My initial symptoms were fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and loss of appetite. I just chalked it up to college life and continued on with myself. My symptoms worsened and increased at the end of January. The above were enhanced and I also began having nausea, some confusion (fuzzy head, some slight short-term memory loss) and weakness. Now all these symptoms were irritating, but not necessarily debilitating. I was still going to class, writing papers, and enjoying myself on Friday nights. Around March things took a definite turn. Everything was much worse, the fatigue and weakness had become absolutely draining and the "fuzziness" in my head had become a thick fog. I started to occasionally experience either disorientation and loss of balance. I still lived my day to day life as usual, but I was becoming worn down.

    I went to the local health center on campus (end of March) and was tested for anemia, thyroid levels and some other things. Everything came back fine, except I had a slightly elevated White Blood Cell count. The doctor said she wanted to test again a week later and see if the level went down. I scheduled the appointment for the next Monday. That week my disorientation/ loss of balance increased dramatically and on Friday (the Friday before my appointment) night, I began experiencing full body tremors. The ER doctor said it was likely anxiety. He said that they would stop, gave me Lorazepam, and sent me home. The tremor's persisted until Saturday night (nearly 24 hours after they started) and calmed down into gentle jerks in my legs. As the tremors calmed, I began to get a very bad headache, starting from neck and creeping to my forehead. The mental fog had increased to the point where I did not even feel like I was there, similar to a constant out-of-body experience. That Monday the doctor referred me to a neurologist and I was able to get in that afternoon at a local clinic. The neurologist ordered blood work, and EEG, and an MRI. I had the blood work done that day, and scheduled the other two tests for that week.

    Two weeks have passed and I have received the results. My EEG and MRI are fine and the blood work largely came back normal. The only cause for concern is my B12 level. The range on the paper is 200-1100. My score is 287. On the paper is a note stating that though the range is 200-1100, 5-10% of people with scores in the range of 200-400 experience neuropsychiatric and hematological symptoms due to occult B12 deficiency. I've researched the deficiency and the symptoms listed match mine to a T.

    I am curious if a person can have neurological symptoms due to B12 deficiency without actual damage appearing on an EEG or MRI.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for replying!

    My mother came up to help deal with doctors and has since scoured the greater East Texas area for anyone who has ever had, considered, or thought about B12 Deficiency. Apparently, it is quite quite common on my mother's side of the family. I have been taking B12 supplements for almost a week, but had to stop today after having some adverse side effects (it destroys my stomach). I'll be seeing the neurologist for my follow up on Monday and have already arranged a plan of attack. Hopefully, I'll get it figured out in the next week. Thank you again, your articles and story were very helpful.

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    My dad was a GP who firmly believed in vitamin deficiencies & supplemetation. He got his MD in the 1940s, so had a different head-set. Almost all of his older patients came in for their B12 shots, and some would come in early because they could tell that the effects had worn off. Dad didn't go by the standard blood tests, but rather his years of experience. I just cajoled my PCP into giving me a vial and some syringes. Gotta get started.

    He had one guy who wasn't really his patient but who would call almost every Xmas to thank him for saving his life decades before. The man had been hospitalized for weeks and weeks for some other major problem & was just not recovering enough to send him home. In fact, he was at death's door, so the other doc [probably a surgeon] threw up his hands & my dad took over w/ aggressive vitamin therapy. Today they would probably use slurry fluids IV. He lived for another 40-50 years.
    Sher
    My Life Menu: CFS probably since birth, full flavored since the 80s, with Fibromyalgia, Major Depression with a side order of Anxiety and Agoraphobia sauce, Restless Leg Syndrome with spicy Other Sleep Disorders, 11 Eye Surgeries, a generous helping of Gut Problems

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    So...

    I have to take B12 shots 3 times a week for a month, then once a week for another month, and if this manages to regulate my B12 levels then great! I only need more shots when my levels drop! But if it doesn’t, then I’m looking at 3 times a week for life.

    Why would I actually go through with this? Because I got pulled over by Dr. Habbal at the hospital (I was an intern in his lab this summer, so I know the guy pretty well) and yelled at for NOT taking them, and apparently with my current B12 levels I’m at risk for:
    Cardiac problems, and heart attacks way before the age of 40
    Constant fatigue (which I have) and an inability to focus on anything for a long period of time (which I have)
    Nerve damage
    CNS involvement, which leads to (even more) mental instability, hallucinations, and (possible) insanity
    (eventually) transfusion dependent anemia

    Now this doesn’t happen in a minor B12 deficiency, but my levels are well below panic levels (I’m talking 77 when the normal range is above 243), so yes…yes I will take the shots.

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    did anyone tried minoxidil, i had a very big problems with hair loss because of anemia???
    Last edited by Mike Weins; 10-31-2012 at 10:52 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining the body in a healthy form and has many more benefits. However, a lot of health problems are caused by a deficiency of this vitamin and must be treated immediately when the first symptoms become available.
    Last edited by Moderator #7; 11-04-2012 at 07:50 AM.

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