A feeling of being exhausted all the time, difficulties with memory and focus, Trouble sleeping, Diarrhea and/or constipation. These can all be vital signs of the body’s requirement for additional vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is a necessary nutrient, meaning it is essential for regular body functioning but cannot be made by the body.
So, it is crucial to get the B-12 our bodies require through the food we consume and/or dietary supplements. A vitamin B-12 deficiency is comparatively common, believed to affect almost 15% of the overall population. That percentage goes considerably higher among people with chronic illness.
Symptoms of a Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
The symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency are unusually similar to several symptoms of fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Lyme disease, multiple chemical sensitivities and Gulf War syndrome. While a B-12 deficiency is not believed to be the source of these illnesses, it has been implicated as a probable factor in a number of diverse chronic illnesses. The symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency may comprise:
- Tiredness, weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Poor sense of balance
- Vision problems
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Cognitive functioning complications
- Beefy, red, smooth and sore tongue
- Sore mouth and/or bleeding gums
- Numbness and tingling of hands and feet
- Loss of hearing and tinnitus
- Pale, perhaps yellowish pallor in light-skinned individuals; blotchy pigmentation in dark-skinned
The B-12 & Fibromyalgia-ME/CFS Connection
As a B-12 deficiency has so many symptoms in common with FM and ME/CFS, researchers were logically interested in whether or not small levels of B-12 could play a part in those diseases. A 1997 study of 12 patients with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS found that most had little or no noticeable B-12 in their cerebrospinal fluid, in spite of the fact that their B-12 blood tests were all regular. On the contrary, they had high levels of homocysteine in their cerebrospinal fluid.
Dietary Sources of Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is formed exclusively in the digestive tracts of animals. The richest dietary sources of B-12 are beef liver and clams. Other worthy natural sources comprise meat, fish, eggs and dairy foods. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with B-12; but, they do not contain suitable quantities to be used as the only dietary source.
Are You Getting Enough B-12?
A better query might be “Are you absorbing sufficient B-12?” A deficiency of vitamin B12 is not typically triggered by inadequate dietary consumption but rather by an absence of intrinsic factor secretion. In order for the B-12 gained from food to be absorbed by the body, it need to attach itself to a protein named intrinsic factor, which is secreted in the stomach. Devoid of intrinsic factor, vitamin B-12 cannot be absorbed. Unluckily, several things can inhibit the secretion of intrinsic factor, which in turn blocks the absorption of B-12 and results in a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Great risk factors for reduced absorption include:
- Digestive disorders for example celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine or a parasite.
- Gastric bypass surgery.
- Acid-reducing medications, medicines normally prescribed for heartburn, GERD, acid reflux and peptic ulcers, such as proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, or H2 (histamine2) receptor antagonists like Pepcid and Zantac, suppress the secretion of stomach acids, also obstructing the secretion of intrinsic factor.
- Diabetes medications, drugs like Metformin, used to treat diabetes, are well-known to damage intestinal absorption.
- Aging, the older we get the more probable we are to be deficient in B-12. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that grownups over 50 supplement their diets with vitamin B-12.
- Vegetarian and vegan diets, as B-12 is only present naturally in animal foods, it is essential for people on these foods to supplement their diets with B-12.
- Pernicious anemia, a blood disease that develops when the body lacks the intrinsic factor essential to naturally absorb vitamin B12 from food.
Diagnosing a Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
A B-12 deficiency can be hard to diagnose as serum blood levels of B-12 may test normal. Having circulating B-12 in the blood doesn’t mean it is being used as it should be by the body’s cells. Some physicians propose that a test determining methyl-malonyl coenzyme A levels in the urine offers a more exact reading of B-12’s availability in the body. However, as there are no identified toxic effects, even at tremendously high dosages, often doctors will recommend vitamin B-12 based on symptoms and risk factors, rather than testing for a deficiency.
The Four Forms of B-12 – Which Is Best?
We incline to chat about vitamin B-12 as a single thing, but there are in reality four diverse forms of B-12 in the cobalamin family, each with its own specific distinctive purpose.
Methylcobalamin Promotes better memory, focus and concentration. Is significant for the central nervous system, playing a vital role in cell development and nerve cell regeneration. Supports healthy homocysteine levels. Supports in controlling circadian rhythms, which contributes to increase sleep quality and refreshment.
Adensylcobalamin (Dibencozide) Promotes metabolism of vital fatty acids to yield extra energy. Reacts with cells to deliver muscles and nerves with spurts of energy.
Cyanocobalamin The most common form of B-12 found in oral supplements and injections. Come to be active in the liver, generating enzymes to aid with blood formation, cell reproduction, iron utilization, and tissue synthesis. Encourages the digestion and absorption of foods.
Hydroxocobalamin Helps eliminate heavy metals from the system and maintains overall cleansing. Is FDA-approved as a remedy for cyanide poisoning. Significant for smokers because it eliminates the cyanide found in cigarette smoke. Also assists with methylation (gene regulation) and energy production. How do you know which form(s) of B-12 you need? You don’t have to choose. By combining all four forms of the vitamin, B-12 Extreme offers you the best of each.
Role of vitamin D in balance problems in fibromyalgia patients
The precise connection between low vitamin D levels and fibromyalgia (FM) is mysterious at this time, but there is an amplified deficiency risk in people with fibromyalgia. In a study of one hundred and fifty patients with fibromyalgia, ninety-three percent had deficient levels of vitamin D. In another study of one hundred and three patients with fibromyalgia or muscle pain, seventy-five percent had low vitamin D levels. Treating the deficiency resulted in ninety percent of them having improvements in their pain. T
he benefit on long-term bone health and muscle strength and the improvement in depression that can be found with treating vitamin D deficiency are all important for patients with fibromyalgia and make it an important test for anyone with fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia (FM) who have low levels of vitamin D may have more problems in postural control and balance, a new study says. Another study, titled “The Relationship between Balance and Vitamin 25 (OH) D in FM Patients,” was published in the journal Modern Rheumatology.
Patients with fibromyalgia, also referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), frequently complain of postural control and balance problems, and these musculoskeletal complications may lead to more falls. Previous studies have suggested that balance may be affected by low levels of vitamin D. According to this hypothesis, lack of vitamin D leads to muscle weakness, deficient bone mineralization and increased risk of falls.
However, studies on vitamin D levels in fibromyalgia patients have reported contradictory results, so the contribution of this molecule to the disease remains elusive. The objective of the study was to estimate whether levels of vitamin D would be related with pain and difficulties in balance and daily activities in fibromyalgia patients.
The study comprised fifty-three fibromyalgia patients and forty-seven healthy individuals, with ages ranging from thirty-five to sixty-five years. Patients were examined using several measures, such as the Berg Balance Scale (BBS measures the patient’s balance during certain activities), FM Impact Scale (FIQ, measures the practical status), the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP processes the physical), visual analog scale (VAS measures pain severity and fatigue) and emotional and social effect of the disease on the patient.
Patients then were separated into groups in relation to whether they existing blood vitamin D levels above or below 30 ng/mL. The examination showed that thirty-three fibromyalgia patients and twenty-seven healthy individuals had vitamin D levels under 30 ng/mL, and that levels were lower between patients with FM. Though, the difference amongst both groups was not substantial. The authors wrote in their report that according to the results of their study, a statistically substantial change was perceived between the patients with fibromyalgia syndrome and the control group by balance, total and all subscales of NHP and pain.
The study also stated that the results showed that there was a statistically substantial difference between fibromyalgia syndrome patients with low and those with normal [vitamin D] levels by pain and balance tested with BBS. An optimistic major connection was recognized between balance and [vitamin D]. They concluded by saying that the impaired balance detected in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome may be related with a number of causes. “It should be kept in mind that vitamin D level is probable to negatively affect balance and current pain intensity in fibromyalgia syndrome.
After a relationship is recognized between vitamin D level and balance in fibromyalgia syndrome, such causes ought to be examined again. Impaired balance in fibromyalgia syndrome stated in previous studies can be the result of low vitamin D levels. This should be measured in follow-up studies covering a larger population.” Age Children: A study done in Ethiopia found that schoolchildren between the ages of eleven to eighteen years were more likely to be overweight or obese when they were deficient in vitamin D.
Another study of 301 students aged eleven to nineteen years found that twelve percent of the students were deficient, and fifty-three percent had insufficiency. It also found that as body weight increased the level of vitamin D reduced. Elderly: It has been shown that as we age our body has a decreased ability to synthesize vitamin D from exposure to the sun. There can be as much as twenty-five percent reduced production over the age of seventy. While this can have an impact, it doesn’t cause as much of a deficiency as the other risk factors.
Vitamin D May Ease Fibro Pain
[Vitamin D] may be considered as a comparatively safe and economical treatment and a tremendously economical substitute or adjunct to costly pharmacological treatment. Vitamin D levels should be observed in FM patients particularly in the winter when levels can be lower because of less sun exposure and adjusted as essential, Wepner said.
Although the study was able to find an association between vitamin D supplementation and an easing of FM pain, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link. On the other hand, people who worry that they are vitamin D-deficient should always check with their doctor before taking supplements. Taking in too much vitamin D can actually be toxic and cause harm.