Severe B12 Deficiency and Exercise

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Hey guys, I would like to know if it's okay to do some light to moderate exercise while with this deficiency. I've been anemic now for several years, but only in the last few months I've started treating it properly and I'm still on the mend, feel a bit better, but not okay, for instance when I climb up stairs I feel my legs getting very heavy and sometimes I get out of breath. I've read that it's okay to do some light exercise if you can and it could even help a bit (for blood to circulate) and others tell me that I should stay put and rest a lot. (I'm a very active person in spite of this).

Thanks for any advice.

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    I have PA with Intrinsic Factor. I was bedridden for 2 years before getting diagnosed.  The atrophy and muscle loss creates more problems to deal with. My daughters are both deficient and exercise regularly, run weekly and half marathons, and Pilates. Our physician encourages us to do all we can to build stamina and tone muscle.  This has also improved keeping balance.
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  • Posted

    Good morning Jasmyne, I do armchair Pilate's its quite

    Good you know youve had a work out,the reason its armchair is we r all in our 60's a70's and 80's and all have back knee problems etc.I hadn't done any exercise,due I now know to b12 deficiency, had no energy,walking got me out of breath,

    B12 injections, I've had 6 they have helped slightly, but as Clive on this site says, it could take weeks or months to recover,the damage deficiency caused, gentle exercise to strengthen those muscles building yourself up again. Yoga very good too,take it easy.

    Try waling too. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I find Yoga is very good, and is helpful to learn breathing techniques and increase muscle strength. It does need to be a gentle exercise to begin with, it’s very easy to overdo things with this condition. If you do that, then it can take a while to recover.

    Walking is also good, but be careful if your balance is still bad.

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  • Posted

    Also, make sure you are taking all the co-factors. Folic Acid is necessary for your body to process the B12. 
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  • Posted

    I have had Pernicious Anaemia (a form of B12 deficiency) for 46 years and I have found during time that exercising with the disease needs to be "self limiting" - do what you can without exhaustion setting in.

    Personally I do 20 minutes a day on an electrically power assisted bike which I can pedal whilst sitting in my arm chair.  As others have mentioned, walking is fine as long as your balance is OK which sadly mine at the age of 76 is not.

    You don't say what B12 supplementation you are on or whether your Folate level is being checked.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Clide, I'm taking sublingual 2500mcg twice a day, sometimes three right after meals. Unfortunately haven't been able to check Folate or anything for that matter, but I will as soon as I can (it's not easy due to the health care system in my country).

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    • Posted

      We can get Folate from a good diet including lots of leafy green vegetables or it can be bought very cheaply over the counter at your local pharmacy or supermarket.

      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

      diarrhoea

      numbness and tingling in the feet and hands

      muscle weakness

      depression

      Folic acid works closely with vitamin B12 in making red blood cells and helps iron function properly in the body 

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  • Posted

    I'd like to know the response to this. I'm finally starting to feel better since starting injections, but exercising is still a problem for me. I used to train for half marathon/triathlon weekly, but I am now finding my heart going mad after only 10 minutes of running at pace and my symptoms return with a vengeance for a few days afterwards. My resting heart rate is about 50 but just walking up 3 flight of stairs and my heart will go to 130. 

    I do walk to work every day (15 minutes there and back) and that seems ok, but I hope to be able to resume some level of training at some point, so would also welcome any advice about resuming exercising.

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    • Posted

      As I said to Jasmyne88 above any exercise you take needs to be "self limiting" by being careful not to over exert yourself in the early stages.

      Yes! It's sad that you are no longer able to do the things you used to do but there are no guarantees of a full recovery as  a lot will depend on the severity and longevity of the deficiency. In fact it is not uncommon for some symptoms to appear to get worse before they get better and it is also possible that some functions may never be fully restored.

      I am not medically trained but have had P.A. (a form of B12 deficiency) for nearly 46 years.

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    • Posted

      Thanks clive, one more thing if you could answer me, can intense stress deplete our b12 levels as well?
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    • Posted

      Yes! Stress and worrying definitely "uses up" Vitamin B12 

      Don't forget what I said about the Folate.

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