How to Diagnose Vitamin B12 Deficiency Written by a Person with B12 Deficiency
B12 deficiency is a reduction in the normal amounts of B12 in the body due to inadequate dietary intake or impaired absorption. Most of the time B12 deficiency is asymptomatic, but in serious cases it can lead to neurological damage. That being said, if you play close attention to your body, you might be able to see some symptoms.
I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency last year when I was 30 years old. Having always been rather energetic and slim I started to worry when I was gaining weight and felt rather lethargic. The weight gain was slow and having just changed my birth control medicine, I thought perhaps that was the cause. So I went back on my old medicine, and started being more cautious about my diet and exercise, but the weight never went off. I started noticing that I was more tired than usual, not sleepy, but tired. My body just didn't have the energy I needed. I started eating more vegetables think maybe my diet was off. Then I noticed that no matter what I ate, within 30 minutes of eating it I felt tired. This isn't normal.
With a mother that has hyperthyroidism, I thought maybe it was my thyroid, so I went to have my thyroid tested. My doctor did a complete blood work on me and my test came back the next week. My thyroid was fine, but my B12 was dangerously low. So low, in fact, that the doctor didn't think prescription strength B12 would get the levels back up to normal fast enough so I was put on weekly shots. For 6 weeks I had to have a shot in my arm of B12, but after 6 weeks I felt amazingly better. I have more energy and I stopped gaining weight! Now I just take an over the counter 2500 mcg B12 supplement daily to keep my B12 levels stable.
I was amazed to find out that some of the symptoms of B12 deficiency can resemble thyroid issues. My doctor informed me that B12 is directly linked to your thyroid and to the production of energy. Therefore, if you don't have enough B12 in your body, your body doesn't convert the food you eat into energy. So, if you pay close attention to your body and you know your normal energy level then if you start to have a loss in that energy level you might want to have your B12 checked.
B12 occurs naturally in milk, eggs and meat. Thus, Vegans and Vegetarians are more susceptible to having this deficiency than most. That being said, I am neither Vegan nor Vegetarian. Selective impaired absorption of B12 is due to an intrinsic factor deficiency such as atrophic gastritis, stomach surgery, or hereditary factors such as Celiac Disease.
Other symptoms may include:
Fatigue, White spots on the skin, Itchy or tingling on the tongue, Sharp stabbing or tingling pain in the palm of you hand, Sore raw spots on the corners of your mouth, Nerve shock on the side of the body, Shortness of breath, Eye twitch, Facial pain, Tingling along the back or both thighs, Memory loss or Disorientation, Migraine headaches, Irritability, Depression, Changes in personality