Is this Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Posted , 4 users are following.

It all started 9 months ago when suddenly I started having discomfort in my arms and chest and a tightness in my throat thats persisted til now. (Two months before that I found out I had acid reflux & a throat infection for the 1st time, got antacids medicines etc. and it went away in a few wks) I heard that can deplete your b12, as well as stress and also my diet was somewhat poor before that too. I was fine for a whole month then it happened.

After that, i started getting random symptoms every few weeks/months that generally lasted a few weeks then disappeared such as 

-teeth sensitivity

-numbness on either sides of my body or face

-tongue feels dry/uncomfortable(but not smooth)

-sometimes chest upwards heats up

-tinnitus (still have)

-left eye twitching (still have)

So to sum it up i have tinnitus, eye twitching, a slight dry feeling or something tongue i can't describe it but it's uncomfortable, chest and arm achey discomfort. Sometimes i have random palpitations especially when im laying/resting these symptoms feel worse or when i drink coffee, and sometimes I just feel weak and sick. I've had b12, vit d bloodtests and more and they all came back "normal". I forgot the # but will pick up paperwork and find out again soon. Is there any way these symptoms are related to b12 deficiency although my test came back normal? Or is it unrelated, does it seem like another cause?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated thanks lots!

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24 Replies

  • Posted

    It sounds as though they could easily be symptoms of low B12, but it is also worth getting your thyroid function checked out. You need to post the actual results and ranges to get more advice. 
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    • Posted

      Hello marion, i've had my thyroid checked about 6-7 months ago or so (that's actually mainly when i got all my bloodtests done) and it came back as normal, fine. I'll be picking up the copies of my bloodtests today from my previous gp so i'll keep you posted 

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    • Posted

      It sounds as though Clive has given you loads more info, but if you put all your results up on here I'll have a look. I have a thyroid condition as well as Pernicious Anaemia, and I know we need our B12 levels to be well into range if our thyroid meds are to work properly. 

      Unfortunately, doctors often say our results are fine when actually they aren't.

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    • Posted

      I've just picked up the bloodtests at my previous doctors and i've come to realize i never had my b12 test done.. He also keeps pinpointing on maybe stress and anxiety and it irritates me, but can he be right? I was not anxious or anything and theres so much things suddenly for it to be a coincident rolleyes and he tells me i can go to another doctor but shouldn't since it'll be the same, however i still am 

      I can't seem to see the thyroid tests anywhere which I did have gotten?? Now I'll definitely go and get it done asap please bare with me. However I've had some others done 

      25OH Vit D = 72nmol/L  Range (51-150)

      Haemoglobin = 127g/L  Range (115-165)

      Platelets = 215 x10^9L Range (150-400) 

      If it makes any difference 

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    • Posted

      Hi Marion, I hope you can check my thyroid results I posted below, I've been told by someone else although they are in reference ranges that my TSH is too high and T4 is low, also I did ask my doctor for a T3 but for some reason he didn't include it in my tests. 

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    • Posted

      Hello again, 

      I would definitely agree that the TSH is a bit high and the T4 too low. Even if doctors request T3 the labs often won't test it if the other figures are "within" range. Most of us who are being treated for thyroid problems don't feel well until our TSH is 1 or slightly less than 1, and our T4 is above the middle of the range. Doctors worry when the TSH gets that low, but it is a pituitary hormone and is produced to stimulate the thyroid. So when it gets higher, it is a sign that the body is having to fight harder to make the thyroid work. TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. I'm guessing your doctor said everything was fine? You may need to ask for your thyroid tests to be repeated and monitored. I was told I was borderline for needing treatment for a long time, but all the while becoming more and more sluggish. Eventually, in desperation, I paid to see a private endocrinologist who diagnosed me with underactive thyroid.

      When you had your blood test was it taken as early as possible in the morning and had you fasted since the night before? Take nothing but water before the test, no medications. This will give you the highest possible TSH, and increase your chances of being treated.

      Hope this helps. 

      Best wishes


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    • Posted

      With all the research I've come across and real advice I actually can't believe how broad the ranges are and why they're like that, 0.5-5.0 "normal". My doctor didn't mention anything besides the fact that I had a little bit of reflux whilst every other test was ok to him, besides the H Pylori problem that I need to treat and then to come back in 3-4 weeks and re-test to see if it's gone. During that time I'll try my best to ask him for full thyroid testing. I did some research on HP+thyroid connections and saw some studies that talk about how H Pylori can affect other things in your body, e.g. one being your thyroid, so I still wonder if the infection is affecting my thyroid function, and if it'll get back to normal after a bit of getting rid of it. Or if it's just my thyroid on my own, but either way I'll keep updated on how I feel after I also get rid of this bacteria. 

      And yes that day I got the test done pretty early, I fasted the night before. I'll do that again for the next. And I'm really glad you were diagnosed after being undiagnosed for a long time. Did you start to finally feel better/normal after taking medication?

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    • Posted

      I did feel much better once I began treatment. What was odd was my GP, who'd told me for years I was only borderline, was very worried about the level of thyroxine the endocrinologist started me on. She told me it was too high and I would get shaky and not be able to sleep. I had neither of those symptoms and just lost the awful sluggish feeling that had become normal for me.

      Some areas even have a range for "normal" TSH that goes up to 10! I would imagine at that level you'd feel very ill indeed! 

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    • Posted

      Wow years, that one choice was worth every penny! I believe now that so many doctors don't know enough valuable information that could solve so much and it's disappointing, I really wish they knew and cared more. I had a type of infection recently and my doctor had no idea what it was when I mentioned the name of it, whereas the doctor I got medicine from recognised it straight away, goes to show a bit..

      10 wow, I'm speechless! I can't imagine how that would feel. 

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  • Posted

    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.

    Women with a history of infertility or multiple miscarriages.

    You score a "hit" with one or two of the above people and your symptoms certainly point toward a possible B12 and/or Folate deficiency.

    Sadly the serum B12 tests are not all that reliable and what may be "Normal" for a normal person may not apply to you as an individual.

    However the British Society for Haematology (BSH) guidelines say "In the presence of discordance between the test result and strong clinical features of deficiency, treatment should not be delayed to avoid neurological impairment".

    This means that your doctor should ignore the "Normal" and treat your neurological symptoms post haste and in accordacce with the N.I.C.E guidelines on the treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency as follows:

    Treatment for B12 deficiency

    How should I treat a person with vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia?

    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.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 guidelines  Also ask to have your Folate level tested as the two work together with your iron to make red blood cells and to function properly.

    I'm not a medically trained person but have had P.A. (a form of B12 deficiency) for over 45 years.

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    • Posted

      Hi clive, thank you so much this is so informative, i'm still quite young (19), been on antacids, i used to take nurofen (ibuprofen) quite often, i've heard that stress/poor diet can deplete your vitamins and minerals as well? I used to drink only every few weekends, don't smoke. But now i eat healthy and exercise as often as i can 

      When i read of symptoms on vitamin b12 i felt like mine didn't match much of them so i wasn't sure, and how most of the symptoms came for a while and disappeared, but they couldn't have been coincidents can they.. But if so it would explain the feelings in my arms, random starting tinnitus and more

      I've also found a new decent doctor which is sending me for a chest xray and barium meal in a few weeks time and put me on ppi's for a month to see if it makes any difference, he also wants me to get my previous bloodtests for him to see. I'm worried that if it's vit b12 or something, the ppi's may make it worse. I've been on it for two days no change yet. Do you think its worth having another bloodtest since my bloodtests were taken so long ago? 

      I'm just also taking magnesium oil for now for my health. I will do so and go see my doctor as soon as possible when I get my blood tests 

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    • Posted

      I forgot to mention that months back I started to take vitamin B12 1000mg co methylcobalamin a day, the one that melts in your mouth but it had no effect. I took vit d too, i'm not sure when i got the numbness was because of side effects of these vitamins. You mentioned hydroxocobalamin, is there a difference between methylcobalamin and that?

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    • Posted

      The only way we source Vitamin B12 naturally from our food is by eating "animal products" such as meat, fish, srafood, eggs, poultry and dairy produce.  For Folate we need to eat leafy green vegetables, broccoli, sprouts, asparagus, spinach, peas, beans etc.  Hence you make up the ideal daily meal of "Meat, potato, greens and gravy" or  "Meat and two veg" as some say.

      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



      PsychosisIf you have an absorption problem with your tummy or on medications that reduce the acid level then over time you will become "deficient".

      In my case I had two thirds of my stomach removed at the age of 17 way back in 1959 due to a burst peptic ulcer but I'm still "clivealive" and over 75.

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    • Posted

      You will need to have stopped taking your B12 tablets for two or three weeks before having another blood test carried out as the supplement will "skew" the result.  You must tell your doctor about them as he/she will need to know how long you were taking them for and how long ago since you stopped.

      If you are unable to absorb the B12 from food via your stomach it will have to be injected.

      Here in the U.K. standard treatment is (as mentioned above in my previous initial reply) is injections of  (the relatively new - since the mid 1980s) hydroxocobamalin although personally I am on the original cyanocobamalin.  There is no difference in the cobamalin element just in the make up of the igredients in the vial.

      The "latest" version methylcobamalin is not available in injection form on prescription in the U.K although it can be bought over the counter in tablet, spray or patches. Again the actual cobamalin (the B12) content is the same as the other two.

      I hope this helps and I wish you well

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  • Posted

    So the blood test results will come back in 2 or 3 days, he tested me for thyroid, vit b12, folate, and some autoimmune diseases (not sure which ones). I started to notice that I'm starting to get red dots on my tongue, like a strawberry kind of tongue and some of my papillae in the back is swollen, and then two days ago I got a small cluster of canker sores in the roof of my mouth with one side of my throat being sore til now. I thought it was a fever since it's going around but the fever isn't really present. Just now i got a tingling sensation in both feet and my feet feel all tensed up! It lasted much longer than normal and felt different. This is sounding more and more like vit b12? I got so freaked out, I hope the results come back soon.. 

    What should i do if the results are considered "normal" and he doesn't treat it? Is it still vit b12 then?

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    • Posted

      As I said a fortnight ago I think you need to make sure your doctor knows that you supplemented (and for how long) with B12 before the test as this may "skew" the result.

      I cannot here give you the links so will send them to you in a private message.

      It might be a good idea to pop into your local pharmacy about your sore mouth.

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    • Posted

      Thankyou for your message and quick response, the last time I went, I presented him with my symptoms on a list and as well as ordering the bloodtests he said that he's mostly sure it's stress. Gave me antidepressants (prozac) and said to take this for a month and it is just being more used to  "diagnose" my symptoms, if they are from stress as he says. I was reluctant on trying them but I've been on them for a little bit, think they make me more emotional than usual, besides that, no changes and I don't really want to continue them

      He doubted it could be b12 because I eat meat and my symptoms can come from a range of things, although he does notice that my symptoms seem somewhat 'severe' and need treatment. 

      The second link says it's only available for Great Britain but as you attached the info with it thankyou Clive I'll show my doctor all that in my next appointment hopefully it goes well

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    • Posted

      That you "supplemented many months ago" should not now affect your B12 test level but it would still be a good idea to tell your doctor that you tried.

      I apologise, I did not know you were not in the UK. but nevertheless diagnosis and treatment should be much the same wherever you are although the "thresholds" may be slightly different.

      Good on you for shunning the prozac - your doctor may not be aware that some antidepressants can have an adverse affect on B12 levels.

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