B12 Deficiency and Pernicious Anaemia


B12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia was the very first course I ever wrote. B12 deficiency can be present without the anaemia.

B12 is Vitamin B-12, or Cobalamin, is the largest and most complex vitamin currently known to man. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Doctors frequently misdiagnose B12 deficiency as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, depression, or other mental illnesses.

When I ask delegates what foods contain B12 they all say ‘ green vegetables like spinach and cabbage and fruit”. The answer is no they do not contain B12! B12 is found in dairy produce, eggs, fish, red meat but not green veg.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) 2009 Report states that 1 out of 31 people over the age of 50 is B12 deficient. In a practice in the North East of England a local GP finds that 18% of his patients have symptoms of B12 deficiency in contrast to the official figures 0.01%

A person who has B12 deficiency stemming from crohn’s disease, gastric bypass, celiac disease, or dietary causes does not have pernicious anaemia. However doctors as well as patients need to understand that no matter what the cause of B12 deficiency it can be as deadly or pernicious if not diagnosed and treated.

Alcohol, medications ranging from gastro-esophageal reflux (GORD) drugs (Ranitidine, Cimetidine, Pepcid and antacids), Metformin, Colchicine Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Neomycin, Phenytoin, Potassium chloride, Cholestyramine, Statins, Oral Contraceptives all inhibit B12 absorption.

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