Warning signs of Vitamin B-12 deficiency:


       Tiredness, lack of energy, fatigue, weakness

       Burning sensation in the feet

       Numbness and tingling in the feet or hands

       Soreness or burning in the mouth or tongue

       Unsteady gait

       Memory loss

       Changes in mental status



       Loss of appetite

Not all patients are symptomatic. Some symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency can result from, or mimic, a variety of medical conditions other than Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Causes of Vitamin B-12 deficiency:

There are two basic causes of vitamin B-12 deficiency:

         1.      Inadequate Vitamin B-12 Nutrition (a diet deficient of vitamin B-12), and

         2.      The inability to absorb vitamin B-12, known as malabsorption.


         Vitamin B-12 is found mainly in animal products, such as milk and milk products, eggs, fish, poultry, and red meat. Strict vegetarians and patients with an inadequate diet can be at risk for Vitamin B-12 deficiency. This is the least common cause of Vitamin B-12 deficiency.


         Even if there is sufficient vitamin B-12 in the food you eat, some people cannot utilize it because their bowels are unable to absorb it from the food. Vitamin B-12 absorption occurs in the small intestine and requires a secretion from the stomach called Intrinsic Factor. If Intrinsic Factor is not present, or deficient, absorption of Vitamin B-12 is severely diminished. Malabsorption can also exist when a part of the small intestine becomes damaged or is surgically removed. Long-term use of certain antacid medications, including those that suppress acid formation, may impair the body’s ability to extract vitamin B-12 from food. Other medical disorders that can interfere with absorption of vitamin B-12 include pernicious anemia, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and gastric bypass surgery.

Diagnosing Vitamin B-12 deficiency is done by a simple blood test.

Understanding the importance of vitamin B-12 therapy:

Vitamin B-12 is important for the normal formation of red blood cells and the health of nerve tissues. Left undetected or untreated, vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to decreased amounts of red blood cells in the bloodstream, and nerve damage including peripheral neuropathy. Patients with peripheral neuropathy may have any of the following symptoms:

       Burning, like feet are on fire, or walking on hot coals

       Stinging, like ants crawling and stinging

       Tingling, like when you bump your funny bone

       Sharp shooting pains that feel like lightning or electricity

       Bed sheet sensitivity

       Sensation of feet and ankles being swollen, even though they don’t look swollen

       Numbness or a strange sensation of numbness mixed with pain.

       Unsteady gait.

Treatment options for Vitamin B-12 deficiency:

1.      Vitamin B-12 tablets are useful if your diet is deficient in vitamin B-12. However, if your vitamin B-12 deficiency is because you are not absorbing the vitamin B-12, taking the tablets is not likely to correct the deficiency.


2.      Vitamin B-12 injections are the standard protocol for treating vitamin B-12 deficiency. Our standard treatment protocol after diagnosing Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one injection per week for one month, after which we generally try vitamin B-12 tablets. However, many people need to receive monthly injections of Vitamin B-12 to avoid recurrent Vitamin B-12 deficiency.


3.      Vitamin B-12 nasal spray is also an option and is very well absorbed. One spray, one nostril, once per week generally keeps vitamin B-12 levels normal and healthy. The nasal spray is usually more expensive than monthly injections.

Seeking proper treatment can help reverse some of the symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency and reduce the chances of long-term damage. It is important to speak with your doctor or one of our Assistants about which vitamin B-12 therapy is right for you.


2501 S. Willis
Abilene, TX 79605