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B12 Deficiency and neurological damage

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Old 05-04-2007, 10:26 PM   #1
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B12 Deficiency and neurological damage

Hello everyone,

I would appreciate some information.

My arm has been tingling, with some numbness for over four months now. The areas affected are mostly the entire hand (all fingers) and forearm. Due to my health problems, not much attention was paid to this issue. I just found out I will be seeing a neurologist for this on May 24th.

Reading through your post on vitamin B12 deficiency, I was amazed at how many of the possible symptoms I am showing. Unfortunately, I am on several prescription meds. Taking all of them has resulted in many unpleasant side effects. It would be almost impossible to categorize which of my "symptoms" should be attributed to B12 deficiency and which ones (as side effects) to my prescription drug use. I believe there's a good chance my levels of B12 might be too low.

My questions:

Is there anything in particular I should do (or ask the Dr.for) during the appointment? (regarding the B12 issue)
How is B12 deficiency normally diagnosed?
Do neurologists routinely screen patients for this deficiency?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Many thanks,

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Old 05-07-2007, 06:28 AM   #2
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Re: B12 Deficiency and neurological damage

Hi, As far as I know, B12 deficiency is diagnosed by a blood test; they just test for it and then they can assess your levels. I am often on the low side and the doctor then just gives me a B12 shot and I feel much more energetic.

Good luck.

Old 05-07-2007, 09:32 PM   #3
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Re: B12 Deficiency and neurological damage


I'm sorry that you are experiencing this. I'm sure there are many reasons why someone can become deficient in B12 sufficient to cause neurological damage. I'd like to mention a couple of things that you could discuss with the doctor.

First, I've been noticing that folic acid (folate) is the new wonder-vitamin that is being put into every food and vitamin/mineral supplement. This is an important vitamin for pregnant women, because a developing foetus who gets too little can develop neurological defects. But then I read an article by the NIH that discusses Vitamin B12. One of the things that can cause B12 deficiency is consuming too much folate. It is recommended that we consume no more than 1000 mg per day, or we risk B-12 deficiency. You might want to discuss your diet with your doctor to see how many sources you're getting folate from. Just looking in my own kitchen, I see that I picked up folate-supplemented salt on my last visit to the grocery store. My B-Complex vitamin pill has, of course, folate, and my Zinc has added folate as well. It's now being added to joghurt and breads and all sorts of foods.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that you may have gluten intolerance. The symptoms of gluten intolerance (or out-right celiac disease) are numerous, and can mask as lots of other conditions. The reason is that if your body starts reacting to the gluten in your diet, it starts destroying certain portions of the intestine. The part of the intestine that is attacked may vary from person to person, and therfore the nutritional deficiency will vary, and therfore the symptoms will vary. This is why doctors tend to think that celiac is a "fad" disease. Out-right celiac disease, as displayed by babies, is easy to recognize. They can digest hardly any food at all, they have constant diahrrea, they have distended stomachs and they don't grow as fast as other children. But for adults, the symptoms can be more subtile, or can present as other conditions.

At any rate, I'm not saying that you have either too much folate in your diet OR that you have gluten intolerance. But these are two of the things that I would explore if I had your symptoms.

Best of luck in finding out the cause, and in finding a way to reverse the damage.


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