Vitamin B12 is Too Important to Ignore

If you’re over the age of 50 this information is for you. If you are a vegetarian/vegan; take metformin for diabetes or acid blocking medications; have hypothyroid; experience chronic stress; consume excessive amounts of alcohol; MTHFR gene mutation; have low stomach acid, gastric ulcers, H. pylori, celiac, Crohn’s disease or gastritis; or have had weight loss surgery this is also for you.

Vitamin B12 deficiency due to malabsorption or not enough in the diet is very common among these populations. It can lead to serious, painful and possibly debilitating diseases gradually, and intensify over time. Symptoms can also appear very quickly.  We will provide you with what you need to know to reverse B12 deficiency and prevent it from being a problem for you again.

Vitamin B12 is the catalyst for production of red blood cells, neurological function, nerve health, DNA synthesis, protein conversion and fatty acid synthesis. It helps ensure you can make enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body. It’s vital for brain and cardiovascular health. It is needed to ensure error-free cell division.

B12 has the most complex structure of all of the vitamins. B12, folate (folic acid) and iron work together in the body. The usable form of B12, methyl cobalamin, works directly within cells, where it is needed to reactivate folate. Without methyl cobalamin, folic acid is unusable. Methyl cobalamin also helps get rid of the homocysteine which contributes to cardiovascular problems. This form of B12 is non-toxic, better absorbed and better stored inside the body.

Here are over 40 acknowledged B12 and folate deficiency symptoms:

  1. Tingling hands and feet
  2.  “Pins and needles” sensation
  3.  Numbness
  4. Burning sensation (possibly on thighs)
  5. Vertigo, dizziness, wobbliness
  6. Legs hurt and “jump” at night (restless legs)
  7. Pain, including bone pain in legs
  8. Balance and gait problems; loss of coordination; difficulty walking (ataxia), (Parkinson’s link)
  9. Feeling exhausted (chronic fatigue); lethargy
  10. Memory problems, increasing forgetfulness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, dementia,       brain shrinkage
  11. Shortness of breath
  12. Chronic “mystery” coughing
  13. Heart palpitations
  14. Muscle weakness
  15. Nausea, diarrhea, constipation
  16. Vision problems
  17. Age-related hearing loss
  18. Elevated homocysteine levels (causing decreased blood flow to the brain, ears and eyes)
  19. Mood changes, leading to anxiety, depression, paranoia or psychosis
  20. Heavy menstrual bleeding
  21. Bleeding gums; gingivitis
  22. Nose bleeds
  23. Pale complexion (loss of pinkness; may have a yellow tint); jaundice
  24. Vitiligo (patches of lost pigmentation)
  25. Many brown spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation)
  26. Cutaneous skin lesions
  27. Hair loss or premature greying, especially in women
  28. Fingernail ridges
  29. Loss of half-moons near cuticles
  30. Sensitivity to noise
  31. Smooth tongue without papillae (taste buds) leading to loss of taste
  32. Swollen, sore, red tongue; canker sores
  33. Accelerated aging
  34. Osteoporosis; bone density loss
  35. Weakened immunity
  36. Anemia
  37. Nerve damage
  38. Myelin sheath damage
  39. Degeneration of the spinal cord
  40. Peripheral neuropathy (this is most often related to methyl cobalamin B12 deficiency, but in some cases vitamin B1 and/or vitamin D deficiencies may also be involved. Always take a high quality daily multivitamin-mineral complex to cover your bases.)


Low B12 causes a wide range of debilitating symptoms yet rarely do doctors check for this as a contributor to patient complaints. The reason seems odd: they require evidence for the cause before they will begin a treatment. In the case of B12 they typically only look for a condition related to enlarged red blood cells called Macrocytic Anemia. The problem is that this condition only shows up years after the B12 deficiency first began. Add that to the fact that most physicians have no nutrition training and so don’t tend to consider it important.

You can ask your doctor to have your B12 serum level checked using the Schilling test to determine whether you’re absorbing vitamin B-12 properly and have enough Intrinsic Factor. Intrinsic Factor is a glycoprotein produced in the stomach that enables the absorption of vitamin B12 in the ileum of the small intestine. Some people produce antibodies that destroy Intrinsic Factor, and will be diagnosed as having pernicious anemia, an auto-immune condition.

Some people receive a result from the Schilling test that says they are “normal” but they still have deficiency symptoms. Some of the machines that determine B12 in patients are known to give false high readings and “normal” will vary from person to person. Let your symptoms be the guide.

Turning It Around

It’s a rare person over the age of 50 who has strong stomach acid. Without very strong stomach acid vitamin B12 can’t be assimilated from foods or supplements. Calcium must be present as well, and also requires strong stomach acid to become bioavailable. The diabetes drug metformin tends to diminish calcium levels in the small intestine which is directly linked to B12 deficiency in people taking this drug.

*If your levels are already in the optimal range taking a high quality daily supplement of oral B12 and food sources are helpful in order to maintain it.

Foods high in B12 are: beef, cod, eggs, lamb, beef liver, salmon, sardines, herring, shrimp and tuna. Fortified foods such as nutritional yeast can be added to the diet. For cheese lovers the best source is raw grass-fed Emmentaler from Switzerland. The big bubbles (eyes) in the cheese are produced when B12-producing bacteria (Propionibacterium freudenreichii) consume lactic acid and release it in the form of carbon dioxide. All vitamin B12 originates exclusively from microorganisms.

Once you are deficient in this important nutrient the amount of B12 needed to recover is not sufficiently available from food. A high quality supplemental form is needed. In cases where there are stomach or digestive problems, thyroid issues, alcohol abuse (which causes stomach inflammation), or use of metformin, certain antibiotics or acid blockers, oral B12 won’t make a significant difference. And once deficient, pills may take a long time at high doses to increase your serum level of B12. Avoid the cyanocobalamin form of B12 found in many over the counter supplements due to the presence of cyanide molecules and poor assimilation.

Here are the most effective ways to get your vitamin B12 levels back up:

  1. Daily B12 injections from your doctor until levels increase. (Unfortunately, most doctors inject cyanocobalamin instead of the active form methyl cobalamin which the body actually uses and stores.)
  2. Transdermal delivery via B12 skin patch. This is our preferred choice; however the FDA is making it difficult to achieve this due to their campaign against allowing dietary supplement companies to sell the patch. Their position is that their “rules” make anything in a patch is a “drug” (no matter that it is just a vitamin) which only Big Pharma can market. When you use a patch make sure it is NOT cyanocobalamin form of B-12. There are still a few sources of the B-12 Patch. Contact us for a reliable source of what we believe to be the best choice.
  3. Take Betaine HCL with pepsin tablets (to create more efficient stomach acid) with a protein-based meal. Take Methyl cobalamin B12 tablets at the same time.
  4. Sublingual methyl cobalamin B12 spray.

*Very rarely some people experience adverse effects or allergic reaction to B12 supplements or injections. If you are pregnant please consult your doctor before beginning taking B12 supplements.