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Vitamin B12 deficiency - your experience


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Have you been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency? I'm in the middle of (or hopefully near the end of) a depressive episode and my GP just dx'ed a B12 deficiency, and told me to start taking supplements. I went to see him this time because I've been feeling lightheaded sometimes and my blood pressure has been on the low side.

The GP told me to start taking B12 supplements. Have you been dx'ed with this, and if so, what was your experience? How long before you noticed some effects after starting supplements, if that's what you did?

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Yes, I have been dx with B12 deficiency, about 15-20 years ago.  I can't take supplements (unless sublingual) because my body does not absorb it.  So at first I was getting a 1000 mg shot of B12 every other day for 1-2 weeks.  Then it was once a week, then every 2 weeks, and now once a month. 

I have been on PPIs (GERD meds) for so long I can't remember when I started them.  Those alone can cause a B12 deficiency for some people (DRs are pretty sure that is why I was B12 deficient. That and using laxatives.

I started noticing something was wrong when every time I sat down, I bolted right back up ... I lost sensation in my legs when I sat down.  I don't remember how long it was before I saw the DR to get checked.  It wasn't a long time, but don't remember the time frame.

There was something wrong with my nerves so that I could not sit down.  I could only lay flat or stand.  My Gdoc at the time did immediate B12 and folate levels on me, and the B12 came out under 100 (normal is about, from what I remember, in the 800-900+ or higher range).  So that was when she started the B12 shots. Losing sensation in my legs was a terrible nightmare.

But just a regular B12 vitamin won't absorb in me.  It has to be a 1,000 mg shot once a month.  Some times I take a sublingual vitamin (dissolves in your mouth under your tongue).

There is also a relationship between B12 and depression:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-and-depression/faq-20058077

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Yeah, Melissa's story sounds familiar. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that B12 supplementation is best done through injections given by your doctor because of problems absorbing B12 when given as tablets.

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21 hours ago, jt07 said:

Yeah, Melissa's story sounds familiar. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that B12 supplementation is best done through injections given by your doctor because of problems absorbing B12 when given as tablets.

You're right jt about B12 supplementation being best done through through injections.  Taking a pill supplement won't work if you can't absorb it.

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Yes, I've been diagnosed with a B12 deficiency too. It was found during a routine blood check five years ago -- I started taking oral supplements as prescribed, and I'm not sure that I had it checked after that for a long time. About a year ago I had it tested again after I fainted at the place where I was volunteering and they found it to (still? or again?) be very low. For a while up until then I would become light-headed and lose my vision for a short while most times that I stood up from a sitting or lying position.

I had the injections after that. First six injections within two weeks to get the levels back to normal as fast as possible, and now I have one every three months.

The initial injections helped: gradually the dizziness improved, and the  feelings of weakness and tiredness.

It's hard to say how long it might take for supplements to help. It really does depend on the individual, how low your current B12 levels are, how well your body is able to absorb it through digestion (if at all), the dose of the supplements, etc.

I hope that the supplements do the job for you, but if symptoms persist, it's definitely worth going back to the doctor in case you need injections.

Edited by amianthus
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on B12 shots here as too. dx'd a few months ago, along with a range of other vitamin and electrolyte imbalances (including iron deficiency and anemia). our B12 levels aren't terribly low but are moving that way so we get a shot each week, after which the effects are fairly quick to kick in, in terms of energy. the only drawback: we seem to be allergic to something in the injection mix, no matter which of the two forms we get (pretty sure there are only two formulations), so sometimes there's some nausea afterwards. 

 

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  • 8 months later...

Bumpin' this bad mutha up because I have a question. I am frequently tired/lethargic/fatigued despite being on the start of a manic upswing. Someone mentioned to me possibly having B12 levels checked. Would this be of any correlation? Or maybe my meds deplete it? I can drink all the coffee in the world and not feel better, but for about 2 hours I perk up a bit after an Energy drink that contains B vitamins. Any thoughts??

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1 hour ago, Alien Navel Cord said:

Bumpin' this bad mutha up because I have a question. I am frequently tired/lethargic/fatigued despite being on the start of a manic upswing. Someone mentioned to me possibly having B12 levels checked. Would this be of any correlation? Or maybe my meds deplete it? I can drink all the coffee in the world and not feel better, but for about 2 hours I perk up a bit after an Energy drink that contains B vitamins. Any thoughts??

Do these help?  The first link I found very helpful:

http://www.drperlmutter.com/learn/resources/drugs-that-deplete-b-vitamins/

 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/424267-what-depletes-b12-folic-acid/

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  • 7 months later...

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