Recognizing the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency takes on many forms, including depression and limited mobility. Learn what you can do to ensure your body gets enough of this vital nutrient.

| November 2015

  • Could it Be B12 cover image
    In "Could It Be B12," Sally Pacholok and Jeffrey J. Stuart explore the symptoms of B12 vitamin deficiency, often misdiagnosed as depression, mobility disorders, or other diseases.
    Cover courtesy Quill Driver Books
  • Eggs
    Eggs are one source of vitamin B12, one of 13 different essential vitamins your body needs to remain healthy.
    Photo by Fotolia

  • Could it Be B12 cover image
  • Eggs

B12 deficiency is a public health crisis that even most doctors don’t know exists. In Could It Be B12? (Quill Driver Books, 2011), authors Sally Pacholok and Jeffrey J. Stuart give a complete and authoritative guide to B12 deficiency and its treatment. This section comes from the chapter, “An Invisible Epidemic.”  

A silent crippler stalks millions of Americans—and you may be one of them.

This crippler is a master of masquerade, striking different people in different ways. It afflicts one person with tremors, makes another depressed or psychotic, and causes agonizing leg and arm pains or paralysis in still another. It can mimic Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, early Parkinson’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It can make both men and women infertile, or cause developmental disabilities in their children. Other times, it lurks silently, stealthily increasing its victims’ risk of deadly diseases, ranging from strokes and heart attacks to cancer.

This medical disorder stems from a vitamin deficiency, but your standard multivitamin pill won’t prevent it in many cases, and even some higher-dose oral formulas of this vitamin may not help. It’s considered an “old people’s disease” by doctors, but it can strike any person at any age, and it sometimes hits children the hardest.

The disorder I’ve described is vitamin B12 deficiency. If you develop this deficiency, it’s easy to spot, easy to treat, and easy to cure—but only if your doctor diagnoses you before it’s too late. Unfortunately, that frequently doesn’t happen.

Who are the Victims of B12 Deficiency?

The cases we’ll describe in the pages of this book involve people of every age and from every walk of life: babies, children, young men and women, middle-aged people, and senior citizens.

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