B12 deficiency

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I am a 35 year old female, and about a year and a half ago I had iron-deficient anaemia. I was treated with iron supplements and my iron levels are now ok. However, I have felt utterly exhausted over the past few months (no matter how much I sleep) and have been suffering with poor memory, confusion, lack of concentration, regular ‘brain fogs’, headaches, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath and general feeling of nausea. I assumed the anaemia returned (or I was just loosing my mind!) so asked my GP for a blood test.

The results came back, and my iron levels were fine, but my B12 levels were low:

Transferrin saturation index 24%  (range 16-50%)

Serum iron level 16.5 (range 11-30)

Serum ferritin: 19 (range 10-200)

Haemaglobin estimate: 125 (range 120-150)

B12: 127 (range 180-900)

I read the information on the NHS website and patient.info and felt an enormous relief that there seemed to be an explanation for how I was feeling, as my symptoms seemed to match those of B12 deficiency. I also read many case studies where levels of around 127 were considered very low, and patients experienced similar symptoms to me.

I saw my GP last week to discuss my test results. I was told that they were all normal. When I questioned the B12 result, she said my B12 levels were slightly low, but that “we are all a bit deficient in some vitamin or other”. When I asked if it could be the low B12 that was causing my symptoms, I was told no, and that I probably had post viral fatigue syndrome. When I said “But I haven’t been ill!” I was then told that I must be depressed (I'm not). She said there wasn’t any point in further testing for pernicious anaemia, because my blood test shows I’m not anaemic.

The GP recommended I take multivitamins (which I already do, and have done for years). I was fairly desperate, so asked her outright if I could have B12 injections and she reluctantly agreed.

Does anyone have any advice? Specifically:

- Should I see a different GP to discuss this problem? 127 seems lower than it should, so surely this could be causing these symptoms?

- The GP agreed to the 6 loading doses, but should I ask for more? The NICE guidance suggests that where neurological symptoms are present, you should continue with the injections every other day until symptoms stop improving, with possible referral to haematologist or neurologist . Do the confusion, brain fogs, memory loss and headaches count as neurological symptoms? I don't want to risk any permanent damage.

- Why would my B12 levels be low? Is this pernicious anaemia (even though I'm not apparently anaemic)? I do have psoriasis which is another auto-immune condition, but am otherwise healthy, eat a good balanced diet, with plenty of meat so why wouldn't I be absorbing B12?

Thanks.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Did you have any tingling in your feet or arms?I had a blood test of B12 with 317 and have tingling and joint warmth.Have the injections helped?
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  • Posted

    I've just been diagnosed and had my 1st jab last Wednesday 9-9-2015. None of my symptoms have improved, and I have all the same questions as you? I am also worried that my GP is not taking this as serious as I would like, and that the damage is done, the dizziness is my biggest problem, I have to ring tomorrow for the results of another blood test I has last week, which I think my GP said was for wheat intolerance? A few people were saying on Facebook that the jab works straight away so I was hoping for a miracle, sadly I feel no better, getting more fed up by the day sad
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  • Posted

    I'm so glad you asked for what you NEEDED...its your body.

    I would take the supplement shots she is willing to give..wait a couple weeks and have it tested again.....and if it is NEEDED again...than get a second opinion from her as to why it keeps happening and if you are not happy with her answer....

    Go somewhere else for another opinion.  For now, its very possible the shots will help you and then after the shots...end all 6.....the week after...start taking a B12 with your Multivitamin everyday. maybe.

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  • Posted

    First question has to be are you taking any other regular medication for example hypertensive drugs or statins.  Many of these block the absorption of vitamins but doctors often ignore this fact.
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  • Posted

    As you are not taking any prescribed medication, it may be worth reviewing your multi vitamin.  Some contain compounds to which we may become sensitive.  I have a very cranky immune system confuses everyone and it has been suggested that organic supplements may be better.  I don't take any on a regular basis but a B+ supplement including folic acid helped me through fatique and brain fog during one particular episode.  I now find folic acid alone offers a great boost if feel I am sliding down the scale.   
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