Does a B12 deficiency make it difficult to walk?

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I have been dealing with problems balancing when I am walking lately and I read somewhere that having a B12 deficiency can be related to balance issues. I am only 25 years old and I am embarrassed, I feel like I am drunk at times, I want to get a folding walking cane to help me, I am concerned about safety, anyone has any idea if these are good?[/b] Also, does anyone have the same problems balancing like I do? Please help me, is there anyone that could give me some advice?

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  • Posted

    You are Vitamin B12 deficient and you need your doctor to be following the British National Formulary (B.N.F.) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (N.I.C.E.) guidelines on Treatment of cobalamin deficiency and the relevant paragraphs for you as highlighted below: 

    "Current clinical practice within the U.K is to treat cobalamin deficiency with hydroxocobalamin in the intramuscular form outlined in the British National Formulary, BNF, 

    The BNF advises that for Pernicious anaemia and other macrocytic anaemias patients presenting with neurological symptoms should receive 1000 µg i.m. on alternative days until there is no further improvement, then 1 mg every 2 months.

    However, the GWG recommends a pragmatic approach in patients with neurological symptoms by reviewing the need for continuation of alternative day therapy after three weeks of treatment"

    The N.I.C.E guideloines read:

    "For people with neurological involvement:

    Seek urgent specialist advice from a haematologist.

    Ideally, management should be guided by a specialist, but if specialist advice is not immediately available, consider the following:

    Initially administer hydroxocobalamin 1 mg intramuscularly on alternate days until there is no further improvement, then administer hydroxocobalamin 1 mg intramuscularly every 2 months.?"Anyone at any age, can become B12 deficient.  However, certain people are at an elevated risk. They include the following:

    Vegetarians, vegans and people eating macrobiotic diets.

    People aged sixty and over

    People who’ve undergone any gastric and/or intestinal surgery, including bariatric surgery for weight loss purposes (Gastric bypass).

    People who regularly use proton-pump- inhibitors. H2 blockers, antacids, Metformin, and related diabetes drugs, or other medications that can interfere with B12 absorption.

    People who undergo surgeries or dental procedures involving nitrous oxide, or who use the drug recreationally.

    People with a history of eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia).

    People with a history of alcoholism.

    People with a family history of pernicious anaemia.

    People diagnosed with anaemia (including iron deficiency anaemia, sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia).

    People with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten enteropathy (celiac disease), or any other disease that cause malabsorption of nutrients.

    People with autoimmune disorders (especially thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease) Type 1 diabetes, vitiligo, lupus, Addison’s disease, ulcerative colitis, infertility, acquired agammaglobulinemia, or a family history of these disorders.Treatment for PA and non-dietary vitamin B12 deficiency is virtually the same."

    The sympotms of PA are the symptoms of the B12 deficiency that it causes. If the cause isn't dietary then it is an absorption problem so you need to find another way of replenishing B12 initially. Most absorption problems aren't treatable but a few are - notably h pylori infection - which would mean that once that has been dealt with you would be able to absorb B12 from your diet so wouldn't need maintenance shots for life.

    Symptoms of B12 deficiency tend to develop slowly and may not be recognised immediately. As the condition worsens, common symptoms include:

    Weakness and fatigue

    Light-headedness and dizziness

    Palpitations and rapid heartbeat

    Shortness of breath

    A sore tongue that has a red, beefy appearance

    Nausea or poor appetite

    Weight loss


    Yellowish tinge to the skin and eyes

    If low levels of B12 remain for a long time, the condition also can lead to irreversible damage to nerve cells, which can cause the following symptoms:

    Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet

    Difficulty walking

    Muscle weakness


    Memory loss



    PsychosisIt is also important that your Folate level is monitored as this is essential to process the B12.

    There is a complex interaction between folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron. A deficiency of one may be "masked" by excess of another so the three must always be in balance.

    Symptoms of a folate deficiency can include:

    symptoms related to anaemia

    reduced sense of taste


    numbness and tingling in the feet and hands

    muscle weakness


    Folic acid works closely with vitamin B12 in making red blood cells and helps iron function properly in the body and your B12 levels are "bumping along the bottom of the range.

    I do use one of those foldable walking stick which is very stable as I have had a few falls lately.

    I am not a medically trained person but I've had P.A. (a form of B12 deficiency) for more than 45 years.

    I wish you well  

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    • Posted

      Hey clivealive,

      I made my appointment, my doctor will see me soon, thankfully, I just noticed you mentioned you use canes, I found this place and I am thinking about buying a folding cane from them, you said you have used the folding canes before, is there a place you can recommend?

      Thanks a lot!


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    • Posted

      I cannot remember where mine was bought but it is called a "DRIVE FOLDING CANE WITH GEL GRIP HANDLE".

      If you do an internet search on the description above there are lots of places to buy from.

      It has four sections and five adjustable heights - I stand six feet four and can use it on its maximum comfortably. It's light and easy to use and stores in a plastic wallet.

      If you are deemed to be Vitamin B12 deficient make a list of your symptoms and present this to your doctor and ask him to treat you according to your symptoms and (perhaps) even start you on loading doses "until there is no further improvement" according to the N.I.C.E guidelines I mentioned above.

       If possible take someone with you who can validate your neurological symptoms as the doctor is less likely to pooh pooh you in front of a witness.

      I am not saying that this is an easy thing to do but try to stay calm, write out what you want to say and keep to the script.

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    • Posted

      Hello Clive,

      Thank you for your advice, I think I will follow your suggestion and take a family member with me, I agree, sometimes doctors can be difficult. I don't like going to the doctor in the first place, I wish more doctors did it for "wanting" to help others instead just for the money.

      I am searching the folding cane as we speak, it looks like the ones I found at the other company I mentioned prior are similar.

      I appreciate the time you have taken to help me.


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  • Posted

    Morning, yes I do have slight imbalance, I've had my first 6 injections and they have helped, but I suffer balance problems as I've got inner ear damage from an accident, but deff helped me,my levels were 169 borderline for England. Have you seen your Dr ??? Been tested for b12 deficiency,

    My question to anyone is . to anybody reading is :-

    My main problem at the moment is I was low in folic. The Tabs I was given by Dr gave me terrible stomache problems, someone recommended methyl folate, Dr ok'd it,as its not on prescription,so I bought 600 mcg tabs, but once again after 3 days feeling sick and bloated, so stopped it,if I take vit B9 will it help ?? My intrinsic and parietal cell test were all neg.

    I Am trying to get this B12 working for me.


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    • Posted

      Folate and folic acid ARE Vitamin B9.

      Could you increase your vegetable intake in your daily diet?

      Rich natural sources of folate include spinach, dark leafy greens, asparagus, turnip, beets, and mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, beef liver, brewer's yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, bulgur wheat, kidney beans, white beans, salmon, orange juice, avocado, and milk.In addition folic acid can be found fortified into many breakfast cereals 

      I wish you well

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