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B12 deficiency?

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Old 03-17-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
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tiredpoet HB User
B12 deficiency?

Hello to all! I am a frequent poster on these boards but this is (I think) my first visit to this forum as I continue my journey to find out what is wrong with me.
I have many symptoms including severe fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive difficulties, balance problems, numbness (esp. in hands and feet), etc. I have dxs for cfs, fibro and lyme (clinical dx with no positive blood tests). I feel that somehow something very simple is being missed. I requested copies of all of my workups for the past 4 years and found that a lot of my thyroid levels were out of range (even though I was told my thyroid was perfectly fine).
I also noticed I had a b12 level of 451--not low but on the low end of the "normal range." I also noticed by folic acid levels were off the charts high--odd, since I don't supplement or eat a lot of foods that are rich in folic acid (either naturally or fortified).
I've since read that high folic acid can mask a b12 deficiency. Does anyone know abut this, or if it's possible that my "normal" b12 results might actually be low but not showing up low because the folic acid is somehow making the results inaccurate?

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Old 03-18-2008, 12:10 AM   #2
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Re: B12 deficiency?


I too have read that too much folate can mask the symptoms of a deficiency of Vitamin B12. From another post of mine on the topic where I discussed the fortification of many foods with extra folate:

People who don't eat a lot of whole foods, such as whole grains and lots of veggies, are at risk of not having enough folate in their bodies when they become pregnant, and thus increasing the chance that their babies are born with neural-tube birth defects. Ahem. It might be that some of the people who eat these fortified foods are men, or women who are too old or too young to get pregnant, or who have no plans to get pregnant. But nevertheless, foods are being fortified for everybody. My understanding is that the numbers of these babies with neural-tube birth defects has actually gone down since the law went into effect, so this is a good thing.
I don't understand exactly what is meant by "masking the symptoms". I don't know if it means that you don't see the usual symptoms until damage has already been done to the body, or if the symptoms are different if folate is too high, or what. But I too have been concerned with the increased fortification of lots of foods with folate. It is a good thing that fewer babies are being born with neural-tube defects, but the literature also says that too much folate can mask Vitamin B12 deficiency. Rather than testing people to see how their B12 levels are doing, or recommending that people take a balanced B-Complex supplement, the "powers that be" are simply encouraging the fortification of folate in lots of food products.

I don't have an answer for you. Just that this is also something that has interested me since I started hearing about the fortification of folate everywhere, and the fact (buried deep in the literature) that too much folate can mask a B12 deficiency.

Since you say that you are not aware of actually taking in too much folate, it may be that your B12 results are from some other cause. I hope that you can find some more knowledgeable help, and I hope that B12 supplementation will help you.


Old 03-18-2008, 07:46 AM   #3
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tiredpoet HB User
Re: B12 deficiency?

As a really odd coincidence, last night my local news happened to do a story on the dangers of folate fortification in foods. They interviewed a local doctor and a local mother who got colon cancer and they said that too much folic acid might be the cause. **This was one news story, and there's no direct link. You know how local news is, they run with stories, sometimes irresponsibly or before the research is done** But I thought it was strange that I posted this and then the story ran that night.
My B12 level is 451--the low end of the normal range, not alarming to any doctors. But my folic acid, I found the test result my doc mailed me--the normal range ends at 6, mine is 21.8. How it got that high I have NO idea, but it seems weird to me, especially since I was taking a ton of B12 supplements but no folic acid, and I was on the pill, which supposedly causes a decrease in both B12 and folic acid.
I also have low red blood cells (actually flagged low on the CBC), WBC just above the low cut-off point, MCV just under the high cut-off point and a fairly low platelet count, all of which are supposed to be hints to a B12 deficiency. But supplementation did me no good. I need a doctor to get on board and treat me.
My symptoms have been going on for some time, so I'm probably reaching here to try to just get a definitive answer. But I wondered if anyone else had heard this or had thoughts on it.
I read that if folic acid is so high but can't be used by the cells it ends up spilling out into the blood, resulting in a high level, but I don't know what this means either.

Old 03-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #4
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Re: B12 deficiency?

Hi, I can't seem to find any documentation on what is too high a level for folate. My blood test reference range says normal is >5.4, indeterminate is 3.4-5.4, and deficient is <3.4. My level was 16.6 and it didn't cause any alarm. It seems they only worry about too low. I don't know what is considered high? My B12 was at 324 but I managed to get it up to 424 by taking 5mg (that's 83,330X the daily requirement) Methylcobalamin sublingual tablets for 2 months. I also have flagged low RBC 3.99 and high MCV 98. I also do not take folic acid and all of my tests are "normal" according to the doc. I would love to know what you find out.

Old 03-18-2008, 01:08 PM   #5
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tiredpoet HB User
Re: B12 deficiency?

Yeah, I've never found anything that says there is a "too high" limit for folic acid. I've just noticed that mine is very, very high for no reason. And I read that sometimes high levels form in the blood because the body isn't using it correctly and the cells can't hold it.
I'm just really desperate to feel better. I have all the symptoms of a B12 deficiency, including the awful burning feet and such severe fatigue I cannot function. I certainly don't want to seem like I think I'm a medical expert--I'm just exploring every single avenue. If anyone has any insight on this please share!

Old 11-13-2008, 01:11 PM   #6
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40mills HB User
Re: B12 deficiency?

Hi TiredPoet:

My situation is very similar to yours. I have burning feet, sore mouth, burning tongue-all the classic B12 symptoms.

Have you got your problem solved yet? I would like to know what you did to solve it?

I have always thought I had Pernicious Anemia (PA)...........BUt
my B12 labs always show very high.

I still think mine is PA, and i have an MD doing some tests now......


Old 11-22-2008, 05:51 PM   #7
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Re: B12 deficiency?


There best way to test for B12 deficiency at the cellular level is to have a uMMA test this is a urine test also Homocysteine as well folate can be elevated in a B12 deficiency as well the 2 are best buddies and should always be taken together along with a small amount of B6 they are cofactors for B12 yor folate wont work as well without B12 so it just floats around in the system not being utilzed.....

The uMMA will show a Deficiency even when the B12 serum is normal but your serum levels should be above 550 really my doc says aorund 700 is optimal but he wants to keep me around 1600....My ferritin was slightly lowish too vit D deficiency and folate defiency I have aproblem with gluten so that has caused problems for me....

It is wise to test for intrinsic factor antibodies and partiel cell antibodies these will be evident with PA but bare in mind you dont have to PA to be B12 deficient I didnt...

Do you have any brain fog or poor memory, balance issues, fatigue, coordination problems as well?

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Old 07-24-2011, 05:57 PM   #8
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Location: Slidell, Louisiana, United States
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sterssters HB User
Re: B12 deficiency?

Put in all those symptoms and MTHFR behind all those symptoms. It is a very common metabolic disease. In long it means methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. People with MTHFR cannot handle synthetic anything. Organic foods only. Reverse osmosis water only. The cyano cabalamin b vitamins are toxic to us because they are synthetic a cyanide derivative. The l methyl folate forms are better for us. If you can't find a doctor that will test for MTHFR try a site called 23andme. It tests for MTHFR cheaper than most doctors test for it. I'm writing a book on MTHFR. If you read about me, you will see what it can cause. Many people have it and the World Health Organization is recognizing it as a disease in January 2012. It is actually a genetic glitch on chromosone 1. Hope I could help you.

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