Vitamin B12 deficiency is also called pernicious anemia. Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. This vitamin is found in foods such as meat, eggs, shellfish, poultry and dairy products. Your intestines have a special protein called intrinsic factor that helps you absorb vitamin B12. This protein is made by cells in the stomach. When there is not enough intrinsic factor produced, the intestines do not properly absorb vitamin B12. This may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia). Symptoms of B12 deficiency include: fatigue, lack of energy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, shortness of breath and bleeding gums. Long term deficiency can cause neurological symptoms such as: confusion, depression, loss of balance and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
Your physician will order blood to determine your vitamin B12 levels. If you are found to be deficient, treatment involves either B12 injections or vitamin supplementation by mouth. Your physician will also recommend eating a well- balanced diet.
Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers vitamin B12 testing and treatment management to her patients. Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. Please contact the office at (813) 902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.