A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the vast majority of those studied were in the below “optimal” ranges for B12. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/2/460.short?rss=1
Why is this important?
Having low B12 can be life threatening and can cause permanent, irreversible damage if not caught and treated soon enough. B 12 deficiency frequently goes undetected or in many cases, the person is given another diagnosis incorrectly.
What are some of the signs or symptoms of low B12?
- depression memory loss
- violent behavior
- strange tingling sensations or numbness in arms or legs
- diminished sense of touch, pain or to temperature
- weakness in arms or legs; muscle spasms; paralysis
- vision changes & optic nerve damage
- TIA’s (mini-strokes)
- coronary artery disease
- heart attack
- congestive heart failure
- deep vein thrombosis
- shortness of breath
- chronic fatigue
- loss of appetite
- poor digestion
- full or bloated after eating small or normal sized meals
- GI problems
- increased susceptibility to infections
- failure to thrive in infants
Looking at this list of symptoms you can see why low B 12 is so frequently diagnosed as something else. This is particularity alarming when you consider that a simple, routine blood test can detect this! But even if you have your blood tested most doctors do not flag low B12 as the reason for a persons symptoms!!!
Expert Sally Pacholok, R.N, B.S.N. believes the American Medical Association’s guidelines are too low.
It was Pacholok who first brought this to many in the medical fields attention. Pacholok has written an excellent book on the subject ” Could it be B12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnosis”, the problem with these ranges is that the normal range is far too broad.
Nurse Pacholok believes anyone with serum levels of B12 below 450 pg/ml should be treated with supplemental B12 shots.
Doctors and other medical clinicians should listen to her because she has proven that by restoring B12 to healthy levels ( > 450 pg/ml); people with this condition can in may cases if caught early enough, be made well again.
You see Sally has been an emergency room nurse for twenty-four years and she is experienced in trauma care. In 1985 she discovered her own B12 deficiency after doctors failed to find the cause of her illness.
Please see her website for more information: http://www.B12Awareness.org
Those who are at especially high risk include anyone on the following medications:
- PPI’s (proton Pump Inhibitors)
- H2 Blockers
- Metformin or other diabetes medications
- Vegetarians, vegans and those on macrobiotic diets -( B12 is only found in animal products)
- People over age 60
- Anyone who’s had gastric by-pass surgery
- Anorexic or bulimia patients
- Anyone who is suffering from Anemia
- Anyone given a diagnosis of Crohn’s, IBS, IBD
- Anyone diagnosed with an Autoimmune disorder; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; Graves disease; type I diabetics; Lupus, Addison’s disease;
About those reference ranges….
Common reference ranges used for serum B12:
<200 pg/ml deficient
200 – 270 mg/ml borderline
271- 870 mg/ml normal
What should you do to make sure you are not B12 deficient?
Insist your doctor do a B12 serum blood test and check to see your levels are above 450 pg/ml. If you have recently had your blood work done – get a copy of your test results and examine them closely. B12 is one of thirteen vitamins and eleven minerals the body needs to stay healthy.
Anne Baker, CN LE is a certified nutrition therapist and lifestyle educator who specializes in helping people re-claim their health and avoid prescription medications. She works with people nation wide who suffer from the tri-fecta of modern living; poor sleep, low energy and chronic pain. Get her free Top Five Worst Food Mistakes & how to avoid them here:http://nourishholisticnutrition.info/
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