Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Why It's Important To Know If You're Vitamin B12 Deficient

Today's post from (see link below) returns to one of the first identified causes of neuropathy and that is vitamin B12 deficiency. These days, as more and more potential treatments and therapies emerge, to help with the symptoms of nerve damage, the almost old-fashioned B12 deficiency has tended to take a back seat but it's not for nothing that a lack of vitamin B12 can cause neuropathic symptoms and it's rightly one of the first places a doctor should look when searching for cause and remedy. However, this article like so many others fails to tell us how we know we're B12 deficient and how we should go about finding out. The answer is a simple blood test via your home doctor. The problem is that many doctors will advise you to supplement with B12 without knowing if you already have enough in your system and as with everything else, too much of a good thing can do you harm! You may have to push your doctor for a test because although vitamin deficiency test are simple, they are relatively expensive and in this cost-cutting age, doctors are reluctant to make exceptions. Nevertheless, for people with neuropathy symptoms, it's important to find out if our diet doesn't provide us with enough vitamins and we need to supplement. In this day and age we throw multi-vitamins and individual vitamin supplements down our throats without doing the maths to see if we're getting enough, or even too much (bad for both wallet and health) A blood test is therefore important to give you parameters on which to base your supplement use (if necessary). The article tells you why B12 is important for your nerves but a test and a discussion with your doctor is definitely the right place to start, to avoid over dosage. Use the Search button here on the blog to find more articles on the subject.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Vitamin B12

by JOSEPH PRITCHARD Aug. 14, 2017

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that involves a disruption of the neuro-electrical synapses from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles in the limbs and other parts of the body, according to MedlinePlus. The nerves lose their function and thus affect the patient’s ability to feel pain, and they may lose their sense of taste. Among other effects, this results in a loss of muscular control, painful tingling, numbness and loss of sensation. Peripheral neuropathy has several possible causes, among them a lack of Vitamin B12.


Peripheral neuropathy most commonly appears as a symptom of a disease or injury and has two main variants, as noted by the University of Chicago Center for Peripheral Neuropathy.

Mononeuropathy affects a single nerve group and causes weakness in specific, isolated parts of the body. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrist nerves, and peroneal nerve palsy, which affects the nerve behind the knee.

Polyneuropathy affects multiple nerve groups and is far more common than mononeuropathy. The affected nerves are usually in different parts of the body, such as one arm and one leg.

Risk Factors and Causes

Several potential causes for peripheral neuropathy exist. Mononeuropathy is most often caused by physical injury or accident-related trauma. Pressure on a nerve for extended periods is also a very common cause. Polyneuropathy can be caused by a large variety of factors, such as poor nutrition, complications from kidney failure and exposure to specific types of toxins. One possible cause of peripheral neuropathy is chronic deficiency of vitamin B12. 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an essential dietary nutrient for maintaining health, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. A deficiency can be caused by several factors. A strict vegetarian diet eliminates the only sources of dietary B12, such as dairy products, fish, red meat, eggs and poultry. Autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s disease, HIV infection, gastritis, malabsorption syndrome and multiple sclerosis can also cause a B12 deficiency.

Patients without enough vitamin B12 are at risk for nerve damage, anemia and degeneration of the spinal cord. Even a relatively mild deficiency can affect brain functions and the nervous system, and the nerve damage may develop into permanent debilitation if left untreated. 


Peripheral neuropathy usually manifests in the longer nerves in the body and thus often starts in the hands and feet, as these are the most susceptible to injury and damage, says Pain Clinic. This condition usually affects both sides of the body symmetrically at the same time.

The damage to sensory fibers causes burning sensations, tingling, numbness, nerve pain or an inability to feel one’s joint positioning. This can potentially cause accidents due to the patient’s lack of coordination and inability to feel warning pain. Cramps, loss of muscle mass and loss of muscle control are also associated symptoms. 


Several remedies can be used for the pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. These include anti-seizure medications, anti-depressants, lidocaine patches, and general pain relievers. However, proper treatment of peripheral neuropathy involves addressing the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.

Addressing vitamin B12 deficiency can help eliminate pain by restoring the nerve sheaths and promoting regeneration of nerve cells. The most direct treatment is increasing the intake of B12. Oral B12 therapy and injections are viable options. Dietary B12 can be boosted by increasing consumption of fish, red meat, dairy products, poultry and B12 supplements.

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