0 Comments | Jun 20, 2011

B12 Deficiency – A Silent and Growing Epidemic

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Most people are surprised to learn that it has been estimated that more than half of the population in North America suffers from levels of Vitamin B12 that are low enough to cause serious symptoms and side effects.  In fact, experts agree that even moderately low levels at the low end of the normal range may be enough to cause diminished neural function.

The sad truth is that symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency very often go unnoticed by medical professionals.  Although poor medical training can sometimes be the culprit, more often than not the problem boils down to money.  The reality is that b12 deficiency symptoms very often mimic other diseases.  This means that it cannot be identified simply by looking at your symptoms.  Likewise, the inexpensive serum B12 test that is most often used very often comes up with false positive or false negative results.  And although a blood smear which tests for enlarged red blood cells is effect, this only works in clear cut cases of anemia.  While these tests can be helpful in some cases, it is possible to have normal results with a near fatal deficiency.  A more sophisticated – and more expensive – test must be run to completely rule out a B12 deficiency.  This test measures the methylmalonic acid n your urine.  Although it really isn’t much money – less than $150 – very often doctors do not feel the need to order it and insurance companies do not always pay for it when it is ordered.

This is unfortunate, because untreated b12 deficiency will cause a host of symptoms that will mimic other serious illness.  And, while symptoms of the vitamin deficiency are treatable via b12 shots when they are found early left untreated the issues can become permanent.  The good news is that even serious issues like psychosis, dementia and paralysis can begin to disappear just so long as the vitamin deficiency is caught prior to any serious damage being done.

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