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  • B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

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    Old 04-03-2005, 01:25 PM   #1
    Mum Of Two
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    Question B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    Hey there,
    I'm new here and I wonder if you can help me with something. I will hopefully be seeing my doctor very soon, but before I see her I was hoping to get some information.
    I'm 23 and have a history of B12 deficiency - approx. 6-7 years ago I needed a course of B12 shots. I have never really thought anything of it since, because at the time I was on a vegan diet (although if I remember right eating some fortified foods) and I assumed this was the cause.
    However recently, despite eating a lot of dairy over the past 5 years, I've been getting a lot of the same symptoms I had back then - extreme fatigue, constant back pain, sudden mood changes & irritability, depression, headaches, appetite changes etc.

    Recently I took my breastfed daughter (9 months) to the doctor because I was concerned about possible meningitis - she had a petichial rash on her upper arm. They ruled that out since her temperature was normal and she had no other symptoms. They did send her for iron studies and a complete blood count, which came back with elevated platelets - 729 x10^9/1. They ruled out ear, throat and chest infection as all were fine, and repeated the test a week later - platelets had come down to 313 x10^9/1, but platelet clumping had occurred in the specimen which will affect the accuracy of the platelet count. MCH was marginally raised - 28.3 pg, and eosinos had gone from 7% to 11%. Haemoglobin was good, ferritin normal, iron slightly low but doc not concerned, B12 was not done.

    She is an otherwise happy, healthy, intelligent child, but I have noticed lately that her complexion is pale, and she has dropped down in the percentiles, still gaining weight but certainly less than she was. She eats a balanced diet, but we are vegetarian and delaying dairy for her until 12 months because of a family history of dairy allergy in infancy, so the only B12 she would get is from my breastmilk (which she still has a lot of).

    I drank a ton of milk during my pregnancy, and still drink a lot (we buy it in 4L containers for the two of us), so if it turns out I'm deficient again, doesn't it look like I can't absorb it from food? But I thought most people who had trouble absorbing B12 from food were usually considerably older than me?
    I plan to get myself tested first to save my daughter being stuck with needles unnecessarily, the poor kid has had enough. I figure if my B12 is low, hers possibly is, and if mine is fine, hers likely is as well. Make sense?
    I've read the most specific test for B12 deficiency is methylmalonic acid (MMA) with normal being below 370 nmol/L - have any of you heard anything about this?

    One last thing, I promise! I got myself some OTC B vitamins, including 25mcg B12 (a small dose I know, but you can't buy high dose B12 tablets here). I noticed my daughter's urine has also gone the neon yellow typical of B vitamin consumption. Will B12 supplements cross the breastmilk and benefit her - and will any of the B vitamins risk harming her, since it seems they cross in quantity enough to change urine colour?

    Sorry for such a long-winded post ...I'm just freaking out right now that something is seriously wrong with my daughter and that it's my fault. I also had an unexplained stillbirth in 2002, which could be related....who knows...so I feel the pits now thinking I may have caused that too.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

     
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    Old 04-03-2005, 01:36 PM   #2
    Mum Of Two
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    One other thing I forgot to mention, I have a problem with my throat - I get sore throats with pustules (sorry for TMI!) approx once a month. My right tonsil looks permanently enlarged now. Can this be aggravated or caused by B12 deficiency?

     
    Old 04-03-2005, 04:30 PM   #3
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    did you get tested for celiac disease..all of the symptoms you mentioned and, the b12 deficency is related to celiac disease..

    search for symptoms of celiac disease

    good luck

     
    Old 04-03-2005, 04:45 PM   #4
    Mum Of Two
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    Hey, thanks for that
    A cousin of mine (only a 3rd cousin) and her adult daughter have severe gluten intolerances and while tests were inconclusive, they are doing better on a gluten-free diet. Given our family's predisposition to allergies (food, drug, miscellaneous & asthma) I've kept my daughter on a wheat & dairy free diet - also mainly gluten free - and intend to do so for the first 12 months.
    I also suffer gastric disturbances and bloating at times, so it's worth looking into - although I don't expect the tests to be any more conclusive on me.

    I know that my Dr. will automatically assume any B12 deficiency is due to my vegetarian diet, but I have been vegetarian since a child and thrived on it - I'm sure I consume enough milk & cheese to meet my B12 needs. My symptoms only emerged mid-adolescence, from the age of about 15.

    Oh wow - just saw gluten intolerance can also cause joint pain & menstrual irregularities. Have had debilitating menstrual cramps on & off since age 13. Also joint pain periodically, in knees, ankles, fingers etc - I always assumed I was just getting arthritis like my mother.
    Maybe on to something....I'm assuming I need to absorb B12 in order to pass it on through breastmilk to my daughter? So supplementing me probably won't help her unless I can actually absorb it.

    Last edited by Mum Of Two; 04-03-2005 at 04:52 PM.

     
    Old 04-03-2005, 04:55 PM   #5
    Losec20mg
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    yes but, still I recommend you get the blood tests done for celiac, it doesn't cost anything and, atleast you'll know for sure..or if you'd like you can do an ilimination diet to know for sure..

    Last edited by Losec20mg; 04-03-2005 at 04:58 PM.

     
    Old 04-03-2005, 09:23 PM   #6
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    Thanks Losec. I see my Dr. on Wednesday, and I'll request the celiac antibody tests and the MMA test for B12 as well.
    It probably won't be easy - Doctors here (even the good ones) don't seem to like patients who try to self-diagnose. I don't know how many times I was told over the years that it was all psychosomatic illness, while they doped me up with numerous psychiatric drugs that didn't work on me. I've been off them for about four years now.
    Unlike my cousin, I'll make sure I eat as much bread as I can stomach before the tests. It's weird to _want_ there to be something wrong with you, but I'm sick of having a collection of symptoms that don't seem to fit anything.
    Shooting pains too - do you get those? Sometimes in my abdomen, as a dull ache (often right hand side) and sometimes in my chest. The chest pain will come out of nowhere occasionally when I try to take a deep breath.
    I think overall, I'm healthy. I can go for long walks and feel fine, things like that. I'm healthier than a lot of people for sure. Aren't people with celiac's usually skinny? I'm usually prone to excess weight - not obesity, but I certainly don't struggle to put it on.

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 01:05 AM   #7
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mum Of Two
    Aren't people with celiac's usually skinny? I'm usually prone to excess weight - not obesity, but I certainly don't struggle to put it on.
    Mum of Two,

    The intestinal damage from celiac disease occurs in different parts of the intestine for different people. So nutritional deficiencies would be different depending on which part of the intestine is damaged. If you indeed have celiac disease, it could indeed be that yours shows up with Vitamin B12 deficiency. The severe weight loss, indicating inability to absorb calories, is seen in some people but not all -- certainly not me! LOL Hopefully, with a gluten-free diet, your intestine will have a chance to heal so that you can absorb Vitamin B12 again. Keep us posted.

    --Rheanna

     
    Old 04-04-2005, 08:04 AM   #8
    Losec20mg
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    never mind what the doctors say, tell them you wanna get tested and, thats it. ..it is a very healthy diet and, you will love it

    keep us posted

     
    Old 04-05-2005, 09:02 PM   #9
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    I was actually going to post a message about this, I saw the top message in this board was on the same topic! So I figure I'll just add my problem here since it's related. Hope that's okay. I was actually wondering what caused an inability to absorb B12 as well basically. My mother was telling me recently that she would like me to get tested because my aunt and her husband and their three living kids (my cousins) all have to get B12 shots every month and she was wondering if maybe it was a genetic thing and I had the same problem and that was what was causing my fatigue. One of my cousins is like myself a vegetarian, but I have dairy and eggs and I think my cousin does too. He might even eat some meat ocassionally. I am not sure if he's really a vegetarian or if he just usually eats that way. However, the other 2 kids and the aunt and uncle all eat meat. The aunt is diabetic if that is related. The kids aren't actually kids, I just say kids because they are their children. I am approximating ages here- the aunt with diabetes is about 64 or 65 and so is the uncle (by marriage. Well he's like family, but just stating cause of the genetic medical connection to me). The "kids" are- well, the vegetarian is about 34 or 35 and his two living sisters are about- well one is about 36 and one about 38. Is there anything besides celiac disease that would cause this? That is possible though cause most of my family has stomach problems.

    Last edited by ApathyAnnie; 04-05-2005 at 09:03 PM.

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 04:50 AM   #10
    Losec20mg
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    nope, when your vitamine levels are low especially the B's means your intestines are damaged, thus not absorbing the adequate vitamines needed to stay healthy...you should get screened for celiac disease, the damages are reverable once on the diet..you'll be able to eat whatever you want, you'll just have to do some research. Good luck, and, let us know.

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 05:39 AM   #11
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    Re: B12 Deficiency? May be affecting breastmilk

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ApathyAnnie
    I was actually going to post a message about this, I saw the top message in this board was on the same topic! So I figure I'll just add my problem here since it's related. Hope that's okay. I was actually wondering what caused an inability to absorb B12 as well basically. My mother was telling me recently that she would like me to get tested because my aunt and her husband and their three living kids (my cousins) all have to get B12 shots every month and she was wondering if maybe it was a genetic thing and I had the same problem and that was what was causing my fatigue.... Is there anything besides celiac disease that would cause this? That is possible though cause most of my family has stomach problems.
    ApathyAnnie,

    I was curious myself what could cause B12 anemia, so I found some info from the mayo clinic. They say that celiac disease can certainly be a cause, but there are others as well. Unlikely causes in your family's case are: stomach or intestinal surgery, Chron's Disease, a tapeworm ingested from contaminated fish, or an abnormal bacterial growth in the small intestine. "However, a deficiency is most often due to a lack of a substance called intrinsic factor. Vitamin B-12 is broken down from food in your stomach. Intrinsic factor is a protein secreted by the stomach that joins with vitamin B-12 in the stomach and then escorts it through the small intestine to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Without intrinsic factor, vitamin B-12 can't be absorbed and leaves the body as waste. Lack of intrinsic factor may be due to an autoimmune reaction, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the stomach cells that produce intrinsic factor. Or it may be due to a genetic defect that suddenly halts production of the protein in your adult years. Vitamin B-12 deficiency ultimately leads to anemia. If the deficiency is from a lack of intrinsic factor, it's called pernicious anemia. Pernicious means deadly. Lack of intrinsic factor was often fatal before the availability of vitamin B-12 shots. Because vitamin B-12 is stored in large amounts in your liver, it may take several years before you develop signs of a deficiency."

    If the problem runs in your family, then it's likely from either celiac disease or a lack of this intrinsic factor that allows your body to absorb vitamin b12. You'll need to see a doctor to verify which is the problem. If the problem is the lack of intrinsic factor, then switching to a gluten-free diet won't solve the problem.

    Good luck figuring it out.

    --Rheanna

     
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