Could you be suffering B12 deficiency?
Ailsa Frank's own B12 health story
I am a hypnotherapist and the author of the self-help book Cut the Crap and Feel Amazing. I have helped thousands people to overcome all sorts of issues including finding health solutions. I wanted to share my own health story to get the information across to other people who may be affected by the same condition, vitamin B12 deficiency.
Visit to the Doctor
Back in September 2011 I first mentioned to the GP that I was feeling really tired and I had a sore tongue.The Doctor dismissed my symptoms at this stage as nothing. Then 2 months later in November 2011 I mentioned again about the over whelming tiredness, my really painful tongue and a thirst problem. He tested for diabetes and B12 deficiency, but the results came back as normal. I continued to get worse and over the following six months I visited the GP several more times.
The symptoms meant I would get up in the morning but by eleven o'clock I was washed out. Then again around 4pm I would feel overwhelming exhaustion. The Doctor was very patronising as if he thought I was attention seeking by coming into the surgery. I told him that it felt as if I had suddenly aged overnight my back ached, I had a constant head ache at the back of the left side of my head, I had a wheezy breathlessness particularly going upstairs (for which I was given an asthma inhaler which made no difference), I had a prickly cough in my throat and my chest which was worse during the night, my hair began falling out unusually in clumps, I had memory loss on and off throughout the day, I had a balance problem often stumbling into things, I had a constant chest pain around the heart area, numbness and nerve pains in my hands and feet and painful hip joints.
The Doctor suggested I was depressed but as a hypnotherapist treating other people for depression and able to use self hypnosis myself I knew it was not depression. He got me to fill in a depression questionnaire which identified I was not depressed but he still ignored me. He suggested I had carpel tunnel syndrome in my hands so I was sent for wrist splints at the physiotherapy dept of the local Hospital. The Physiotherapist gave me exercises to do but my hands continued to get worse. After three months the Physio was surprised to not see any improvements. By now I was going downhill rapidly so the physiotherapist referred me back to the GP.
In September 2012, by chance I spoke to an elderly relative who has pernicious anaemia (PA), I went on the pernicious anaemia website to help her get some information. When I saw the symptoms listed I discovered the symptoms were the same as my own. At first I thought it was coincidence but after further investigation I decided to try vitamin B12 patches (in October 2012) and later went privately to get an infusion of B12.
I then began injecting twice per day combining this with taking folic acid tablets to help the vitamin B12 absorb. Within 24 hours my balance problem had stopped. I then began to breathe properly and over the coming months I started to get better. Since 2014 I stopped injecting instead replacing this with applying three vitamin B12 skin patches daily which contain folic acid. I also apply one vitamin D skin patch daily and I have found being in the sun really helps me too. The patches work by by-passing the stomach. The vitamin supplement tablets which I also take daily are B100 complex, magnesium, CoQ10. I soak in an epsom salt bath once per week. I am on a gluten free diet as I found out I am celiac (coeliac) gluten intolerant, which apparently destroys the absorption of vitamin B12 absorbtion in the gut.
Pernicious anaemia Society
Visit the Pernicious society for further information http://www.pernicious-anaemia-society.org/
Symptoms - do you suffer from some of the following?
- Shortness of breath – ‘the sighs’, breathlessness, wheezy cough
- Extreme fatigue
- Brain fuzziness
- poor concentration
- short-term memory loss
- forgetting names of objects
- Clumsiness/lack of coordination
- Brittle, flaky nails; dry skin
- Mood swings, heightened emotions
- Sore tongue
- Shivers over body, feeling cold
- M.E. symptoms
- Balance problems
- frequently bumping into things, stumbling to side
- general unsteadiness
- inability to stand up with eyes closed or in the dark
- Numbness/tingling – especially in hands, arms, legs, feet
- Tinnitus – nerve damage in the brain
Less common symptoms
- Irritability/frustration/impatience; desire for isolation, quiet and peace; aversion to bright lights and crowded spaces
- Unaccountable and sudden diarrhoea often reported following a spell of constipation
- Sleep disturbance
- Fungal feet
- Bladder irritation
- even though patient is exhausted, is unable to sleep
- waking up still tired, even after many hours sleep
- Hair loss – can range from moderate to severe; premature greying of hair
- Poor digestion
- Burning legs and feet – Grierson-Gopalan Syndrome
- Neuropathic pain/fibromyalgia – often on only one side of the body
- Vertigo – inability to cope with heights, linked to the need for a visual reference as compensation for damage to the brain’s balance mechanism
- Hypo- or hyper-thyroidism – almost exclusively among females
- Rosacea – a reddening of the skin around the nose and cheeks
- Arrhythmia – irregular, fast or slow heartbeat
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Coeliac disease – sensitivity to wheat and/or wheat products
- Myasthenia Gravis – weak muscles leading to problems swallowing, chewing and opening eye(s)
- Vitiligo – white patches that develop on the skin
- Psoriatic Arthritis
I did further research and discovered that vitamin B12 is commonly given as injections in Germany you can buy injections over the chemist counter. In Japan they give vitamin B12 injections to anyone who’s blood level is 500 whereas in the UK they don't give vitamin B12 injections with the NHS until your blood level is 160. In Japan there is no dementia and some believe this is due to the vitamin B12 given.
The deficiency causes the neurons to die in your nerves which is what cause the pain in hands and feet, balance and memory problems.
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin which you cannot overdose on but it is not on offer through the NHS unless you have a low blood reading or anaemia with it (Pernicious Anaemia PA).
Current testing is believed to be insufficient.
My Great Grandfather died of Pernicious Aneamia in 1934 a few months before they discovered that vitamin B12 needs to be injected as the body does not always absorb or process vitamin B12 properly in the gut.
It can take up to ten years to get a diagnosis as Doctors do not believe you until the symptoms are more advanced.
Many people need an injection daily but the NHS often only give it once per month even if you are diagnosed.
Could the NHS be spending a lot of money testing people for other illnesses when it is a vitamin B12 deficiency which explains the patients long list of symptoms?
It is estimated:
1 in 30 people under the age of 50 yrs are believed to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
1 in 16 over the age of 50 yrs are believed to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
People with celiac disease (coeliac) or wheat intolerences are perhaps more prone to a vitamin B12 deficiency due to not absorbing nutrients correctly.
(Always consult a medical proffessional)
Click here to see the article about my B12 story in Pick Me UP magazine
Click here to read about my book 'Cut the Crap and Feel Amazing' which has a chapter on health