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How Long To Recover From Vitamin B12 Deficiency

May 25, 2022

 
How Long To Recover From Vitamin B12 Deficiency

There are many vitamins that you need for your body to perform properly. It can be difficult to keep track of what you need, and if you are giving your body enough of it, and if you are deficient in a specific vitamin, your body can respond negatively.

Vitamin B12 is an important contributor to various bodily functions, and it is extremely common to be deficient in vitamin B12. This deficiency is prevalent in those who are older and those who don’t eat foods rich in vitamins.

However, diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency can be tricky because it has many symptoms as other health conditions.

If you think you might be lacking in this vitamin, or your body seems off, and you aren’t sure why, check out the information below to find out what a vitamin B12 deficiency is, what it looks like, and what the recovery process entails.

Why Is Vitamin B12 Important To Your Health?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce. It can be found naturally in certain animal products, but it is also commonly added to foods or taken as an oral supplement or injection.

Vitamin B12 supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. A list of functions that vitamin B12 supports can be found below.

Reducing The Risk of Anemia

Vitamin B12 helps red blood cells develop properly, and a low vitamin B12 level will reduce red blood cell formation.

If your body does not have enough vitamin B12, red blood cells will form irregularly, which will prevent them from moving from the bone marrow into the bloodstream at an appropriate rate. As a result, this can lead to anemia.

When you’re anemic, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your vital organs. This can cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness.

Can Support Bone Health and Prevent Osteoporosis

Research has shown that vitamin B12 is important for bone mineral density. Therefore, people with low levels of vitamin B12 may experience the side effects of weaker bones.

Bones with decreased mineral density can become delicate and fragile over time, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Can Reduce Your Risk of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that mainly affects your central vision, and increases in risk as you get older.

Vitamin B12 may have the ability to lower homocysteine, a type of amino acid that is found in your bloodstream. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration.

May Prevent Memory Loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with memory loss, especially in older adults.

The vitamin may play a role in preventing brain atrophy, which is the loss of neurons in the brain and often associated with memory loss or dementia.

A combination of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acid supplements are thought to slow mental decline and prevent diagnoses such as Alzheimers.

Supplementing with this vitamin may also improve memory, even in the absence of a clinically diagnosed deficiency.

The benefits of vitamin B12 don’t even stop there. It can also:

  • Improve Mood and Symptoms of Depression
  • Give You an Energy Boost
  • Improve Heart Health by Decreasing Homocysteine
  • Support Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

What Can Cause a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Absence of Intrinsic Factor

Intrinsic factor is a protein produced by cells of the stomach lining. Intrinsic factor attaches to vitamin B12 and takes it to the intestines to be absorbed. Without intrinsic factors, your body cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.

The absence of intrinsic factors is often associated with a condition called atrophic gastritis, a thinning of the lining of the stomach, which is more common in elderly people. Decreased levels of intrinsic factors can be an inherited condition or an age-related issue.

Removal or destruction of the stomach

Vitamin B12 deficiency can develop in people who have had surgery to remove part or all of the stomach.

Surgeries such as gastrectomy, gastric bypass, and other weight related stomach surgeries , can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Overgrowth of Bacteria

Some people develop vitamin B12 deficiency as a result of conditions that slow the movement of food through the intestines, such as diabetes, scleroderma, strictures, and diverticula.

Because the food moves slower through the digestive system, intestinal bacteria can multiply and overgrow in the upper part of the small intestine. These bacteria steal vitamin B12, rather than allowing it to be absorbed by the body.

Dietary deficiency

Vegans can develop vitamin B12 deficiency because vitamin B12 is most often found in animal products.

Additionally, vitamin B12 deficiency can be found in people who struggle with bulimia or anorexia nervosa because the body is not receiving and or absorbing enough vitamin B12.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is clearly so important for a healthy life, you want to be on the lookout for the signs of a deficiency. Some of the most common symptoms are listed below.

Fatigue

If you’re low or deficient in B12, you’ll likely feel fatigued.

The decline of normal red blood cell production, caused by low levels of vitamin B12, can impair oxygen delivery. You’ll likely start to see notices of weakness and fatigue when your body doesn’t create enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.

Signs of Pale or Light Yellow Skin

Another sign that can indicate B12 deficiency is pale or yellow skin.

Anemia, which we know can be caused by low levels of vitamin B12, can make your skin pale due to a lack of fully-matured, healthy red blood cells in the body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause a condition called jaundice, which makes your skin and the whites of your eyes take on a yellowish color.

Headaches

Because B12 deficiency affects your nervous system, it can lead to neurological side effects, including headaches.

In fact, headaches are amongst the most commonly reported symptoms related to B12 deficiency in both adults and kids.

Depressive Symptoms

The impact a vitamin B12 deficiency has on your central nervous system, can also impact your mental health.

The elevated levels of homocysteine may contribute to the development of depression by increasing oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell death in the body.

In addition to depressive symptoms, low or deficient B12 levels may lead to other mental conditions, including mood disorders and psychosis.

Difficulty concentrating and mental impairment

Another side effect of the impact a vitamin B12 deficiency can have on your nervous system: people with low or deficient B12 levels may feel foggy-headed and have difficulty concentrating and completing tasks.

However, studies show that mental impairment related to low B12 levels can improve with B12 treatment.

Pain and inflammation of the mouth and tongue

A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause something called glossitis, which leads to an inflamed, red, and painful tongue.

In people with this deficiency, glossitis can appear alongside stomatitis, which causes sores and inflammation in the mouth.

Paresthesia in hands and feet

Many adults and children who have experienced a vitamin B12 deficiency have experienced paresthesia, which refers to a burning or pins-and-needles sensation in certain areas of the body, like the hands and feet.

How Quickly Does a Vitamin B12 Shot Work?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, you need to receive proper treatment. If your body is already severely lacking in vitamin B12, it might be too late to rely on oral supplements or eating foods high in vitamin B12.

The best, most efficient, way to supply your body with vitamin B12 and try to bring your levels back to normal is to receive a vitamin B12 shot. With a vitamin B12 shot, you will see improvements within 24 to 72 hours after the injection. It can take up to 6 to 12 months before you fully recover from the vitamin deficiency, but the recovery time would be much longer without the shot.

Vitamin B12 injections are also recommended for people who have trouble properly absorbing vitamins from food or supplements. A vitamin B12 injection allows the vitamins to go directly to the bloodstream, avoiding the digestive system entirely, making it the most efficient choice.

Vitamin B12 is also found in the Beautify IV treatment and may be added to any IV treatment that The I.V. Doc provides.

Conclusion

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by a lack of vitamins in your diet or inherited conditions. This deficiency can also cause various symptoms, including fatigue, head and neck tension, poor mental health, pale or yellow skin, mental impairment, and pain and swelling in the mouth and tongue.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or have been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, the best way to boost your levels back to normal is with a vitamin B shot with The I.V. Doc. It’s easy, quick, and your body will thank you immediately.

Sources:

Anemia - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Osteoporosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Brain Atrophy and B Vitamins.

Adult Jaundice: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

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