Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12, in a form called hydroxocobalamin.
At first, you’ll have these injections every other day for two weeks, or until your symptoms have stopped improving. Your GP or nurse will give the injections.
After this initial period, your treatment will depend on whether the cause of your vitamin B12 deficiency is related to your diet. The most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK is pernicious anaemia, which isn’t related to your diet.
Most people need to take folic acid tablets for about four months. However, if the underlying cause of your folate deficiency anaemia continues, you may have to take folic acid tablets for longer possibly for life.
Before you start taking folic acid, your GP will check your vitamin B12 levels to make sure they’re normal. This is because folic acid treatment can sometimes improve your symptoms so much that it masks an underlying vitamin B12 deficiency.
If a vitamin B12 deficiency isn’t detected and treated, it could affect your nervous system.
Functional Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Functional vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when people have vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms yet appear to have normal vitamin B12 levels in their blood.
This can happen if theres a problem with proteins that help transport vitamin B12 between bodily cells, which results in neurological complications involving the spinal cord.
About Vitamin B12 Or Folate Deficiency Anaemia
Vitamin B12 or B9 deficiency anaemia occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 or folate causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that can’t function properly.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body using a substance called haemoglobin.
Anaemia is the general term for having either fewer red blood cells than normal or having an abnormally low amount of haemoglobin in each red blood cell.
There are several different types of anaemia, and each one has a different cause. For example, iron deficiency anaemia, which occurs when the body doesn’t contain enough iron.
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Ways To Increase Vitamin B12
The most important thing is to work with your doctor to find out whats causing your low vitamin B12 levels and to treat any underlying conditions.
Discuss the additional lifestyle changes listed below with your doctor. None of these strategies should ever be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes!
1) Get More Vitamin B12 in Your Diet
If your diet is low in vitamin B12, try and boost your dietary B12 intake.
Common sources of B12 include animal products such as red meat, fish, poultry, yogurt, and milk. Vitamin B12 is poorly absorbed from eggs .
A couple of studies suggest that algae may also be a viable source of B12 .
However, keep in mind that vitamin B12 levels are often low due to underlying conditions, such as impaired nutrient absorption due to gut-associated disease. In these cases, a simple dietary change wont help increase B12 levels.
2) Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol consumption can reduce B12. Avoiding it will prevent further decreases in B12 levels .
3) Avoid Smoking
Smoking can also lower B12 levels and should be avoided .
4) Alternative Drugs
Knowing that your drugs likely decrease B12 levels can help if you take action and supplement accordingly. Metformin in diabetics is a good example .
Review your medication with your doctor or another healthcare professional, and discuss alternatives for those that are decreasing your B12 levels.
Natural or biologically active forms are a better option than synthetic cyanocobalamin.
How To Keep Your Vitamin B12 Levels Healthy
If you do discover you have a vitamin B12 deficiency or low amounts in your body, you should always seek the advice of your GP, who can help you get to the root of the cause and advise treatment.
Vitamin B12 supplements are widely available if you worry that your diet or other lifestyle factors may eventually lead to depleted vitamin B12 levels.
Most multivitamins contain vitamin B12 too, and it doesnt hurt to pre-empt any potential vitamin B12 issues by supplementing, especially if you dont eat many B12-rich foods.
You can also easily increase the B12 in your body by eating some or all of the following:
- Some fortified breakfast cereals
- Some fortified nutritional yeast
Click here for more advice on vitamin B12, what it does, and how to keep your levels up.
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What To Eat To Prevent Vitamin B
Many cases of B-12 deficiency are rooted in underlying health problems, but its possible to take preventative measures. Preventative measures include paying close attention to your diet, especially if youre vegetarian or vegan.
One serving of fortified breakfast cereal may fulfill 25 to 100 percent of your daily intake value, depending on the brand. Three ounces of cooked salmon has about 80 percent of your daily intake value.
You can also find B-12 in:
Causes Of Vitamin B12 Or Folate Deficiency Anaemia
Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia occurs when a lack of either of these vitamins affects the body’s ability to produce fully functioning red blood cells.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. Most people with vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia have underdeveloped red blood cells that are larger than normal. The medical term for this is “megaloblastic anaemia”.
A vitamin B12 or folate deficiency can be the result of a variety of problems, some of which are described below.
What Happens During A Vitamin B Test
Vitamin B levels may be checked in blood or urine.
During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Vitamin B urine testing may be ordered as a 24-hour urine sample test or a random urine test.
For a 24-hour urine sample test, you’ll need to collect all urine passed in a 24-hour period. This is called a 24-hour urine sample test. Your health care provider or a laboratory professional will give a container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. A 24-hour urine sample test generally includes the following steps:
- Empty your bladder in the morning and flush that urine away. Record the time.
- For the next 24 hours, save all your urine passed in the container provided.
- Store your urine container in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice.
- Return the sample container to your health provider’s office or the laboratory as instructed.
For a random urine test, your sample of urine may be collected any time of the day.
How Do You Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you are otherwise healthy, maintaining a normal diet enriched in vitamin B12 is important.
Foods that are good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Lean red meat and chicken
- Fish, such as catfish and salmon and seafood, such as clams and oysters
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified vegan milk substitutes
- Fortified cereals
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Heres What Youll Want To Know Before Being Tested
People who take Vitamin A or C supplements on a regular basis also tend to have higher than normal levels of B12. Taking an oral contraceptive or having estrogen therapy can produce a similar result. For this reason, it is important to speak with your medical provider about all medications and supplements that you take on a regular basis.
In the developing world, the #1 cause of low B12 and folate levels is malnutrition. It may also been seen at times with people who follow a vegan lifestyle and do not take vitamin supplements or eat fortified cereals, flours, and other grains.
Certain medications can also cause changes in B12 or folate levels. Protein pump inhibitors can often lower B12 levels, sometimes quite dramatically and quickly. Certain anti-seizure medication and blood sugar controls are also known to lower B12 and folate levels.
It is important for women who are pregnant to increase their consumption of these vitamins. Folate in particular is critical to the development of the spinal cord and brain stem. There is also an increased need when there is a Stage 4 cancer or certain chronic anemias affecting a persons health as well.
Why Normal Levels Can Differ Across Different Labs
Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for vitamin B12 in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels, according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.
Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.
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What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is more common in people whose families come from northern Europe. It is caused by one of the following:
- Lack of intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a protein made in the stomach. It is needed to absorb vitamin B12. This type of B12 deficiency anemia is called pernicious anemia.
- Surgery that removes or bypasses the end of the small intestine. This part of the small intestine is where vitamin B12 is absorbed.
The inability to make intrinsic factor may be caused by several things, such as:
- Chronic gastritis
- Surgery to remove all or part of the stomach
- An autoimmune condition, where the body attacks its own tissues
Other types of megaloblastic anemia may be linked with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and a family history of the disease.
The inability to make intrinsic factor may be the result of several factors, such as chronic gastritis, gastrectomy , or an autoimmune condition . Other types of megaloblastic anemia may be associated with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and a family history of the disease.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is very little risk to you or your baby during an MMA blood test. You may experience slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
Your baby may feel a little pinch when the heel is poked, and a small bruise may form at the site. This should go away quickly.
There is no known risk to having a urine test.
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Other Benefits Of Home Vitamin B12 Diagnostics Kits Can Include:
- No doctors appointment necessary
- Dont need to book off work / use holiday
- Do it whenever is best for you
- You have more choice over what is tested
However, it is important to keep in mind that these sorts of tests are no substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms, as these companies will not be able to diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. But, if you just want to know for peace of mind or if you should be upping the vitamin B12 in your life, they can provide very useful.
What Is A B12 Blood Test
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Vitamin B12 and folate tests measure vitamin levels in the liquid portion of the blood to detect deficiencies. Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is found in foods from animals, such as red meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, and eggs.
Also Know, what are the symptoms of b12 deficiency? Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness.
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath.
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas.
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking.
Then, what is considered a low b12 level?
Levels of vitamin B-12 are low if they are below 200 ng/mL. This result suggests a vitamin B-12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, or an overactive thyroid. People with low vitamin B-12 levels often experience neurological symptoms. High.
Does high b12 mean cancer?
Elevated plasma vitamin B12 has been associated with an increased cancer risk. This large cohort study shows that cancer patients with high B12 have increased mortality. This association was independent of cancer stage, comorbidity, age and sex.
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How Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diagnosed
It can be difficult to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency because symptoms are not always present or the symptoms can be similar to other nutritional deficiencies. Healthcare providers will usually do routine blood tests to check for vitamin B12 deficiency in people who have a high risk of developing it.
The tests used to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency are a complete blood count and a vitamin B12 blood test level. A person is diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency if the amount of vitamin B12 in their blood is less than 150 per mL.
What Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia happens when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells because your body has a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is needed to make red blood cells. Because of this, a lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia. People can have a vitamin B12 deficiency without having anemia.
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What Happens When Your Vitamin B12 Is Low
Low levels of vitamin B12 can be difficult to spot until its too late and you are dangerously lacking, and a surprisingly high percentage of people are deficient.
In the United Kingdom 6% of adults younger than 60 years have a vitamin B12 deficiency and that figure raiser to close to 20% of those older than 60. Vitamin B12 also tends to drop in pregnancy, but usually return to normal levels after giving birth.1
Your body needs vitamin B12 for the following functions:2,3
- Releasing energy from food
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia
You need vitamin B12 to make healthy red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body. When you lack Vitamin B12, blood cell production is affected. By extension, your tissues and organs dont get enough oxygen, which means your body cant function normally.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of megaloblastic anemia, in which the bone marrow produces abnormally large, unusually structured, and immature red blood cells. Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia in which a person cant properly absorb vitamin B12 because they cant produce intrinsic factor.
Low levels of either vitamin B12 and folate can cause macrocytic anemia, a condition in which blood cells are larger than normal and have low hemoglobin . Macrocytic anemia makes a person feel weak and tired.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and folate deficiency anemia often occur together, and they can be hard to tell apart because they share similar symptoms. Taking high levels of folate can mask low levels of vitamin B12 by preventing anemia, although there is still an underlying problem. This is why vitamin B12 and folate are sometimes tested together.
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Why It Is Done
A vitamin B12 test is used to:
- Check for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. There are several risk factors for this anemia, such as those who have had stomach or intestinal surgery, small intestine problems, or people with a family history of this anemia.
- Diagnose the cause of certain types of anemia, such as megaloblastic anemia.
- Help find the cause of a decrease in mental abilities or other nervous system symptoms, such as tingling or numbness of the arms or legs .
- See if vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is present after a person has been diagnosed with atrophic gastritis.
Do Home B12 Blood Tests Work
If you go with a reputable home blood test brand that sends out clear instructions, good kit, uses accredited laboratories to test your blood samples, and details / communicates your results clearly, then yes, they should work.
Obviously, you have to take ownership of following instructions correctly and completing your part at home, as this is key!
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How Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treated
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated with vitamin B12. It is often treated with cyanocobalamin, a man-made form of vitamin B12. Depending on the cause of the deficiency, the person may only have to be treated until their vitamin B12 levels are back to normal, or they may have to take vitamin B12 therapy for the rest of their life. Options for vitamin B12 treatment include:
- Vitamin B12 oral medication.
What Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency happens when your body is either not getting enough or not absorbing enough vitamin B12 from the food that you eat that it needs to function properly. Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps your body make red blood cells and DNA, the genetic material in all of your cells.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause physical, neurological and psychological problems if it is not treated.
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Order One Of Our Easy
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins your body needs to make new cells each day.
Vitamin B12 deficiency means your body is not getting enough to stay healthy, and as a result you can experience symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
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