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7 tips for Living with Vitamin B12 deficiency 

Today is very much a personal post. It is one that I wanted to share though as it is something that I didn’t know much about untill I was diagnosed with this condition, last year. 

Vitamin B12 is one of the essential vitamins needed to help keep the body’s nervous system functioning as it should. 

  

Someone who is lacking in B12 can experience several different symptoms including;

Extreme tiredness

Lethargy

Muscle weakness

Pins and Needles

Memory problems and difficulty with understanding and judgement 

Depression 

Problems with vision 

I could go on but I don’t want to bore you to much, these though are the main symptoms I have experienced.  

The natural source of Vitamin B12 is found from eating meat fish and dairy products. This is why vegans can be at a greater risk of developing a Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are a vegan then it may be worth taking a B12 supplement to avoid this. 

I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, so the cause for me is very different. My deficiency is caused by pernicious anaemia, an auto-immune condition. Basically this means that I don’t have enough intrinsic factor in my intestines that is responsible for absorbing Vitamin B12 and creating healthy red blood cells, leaving me generally feeling like poo. 

This seems to be a hereditary condition in my family as, my little sister, mum and a couple of cousins all have it. 

Fortunately it’s relatively easy to treat. for me it involves popping along to the doctors every 8 weeks for a Vitamin B12 Injection. This usually sees me back on fighting form, though for the 1-2 weeks before I’m due my next jab it can be a challenge managing symptoms. I often feel like I’m running on empty and just getting out of bed in the morning can be a challenge in itself.

I have found there are a few things I can do that make this time easier, so I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips on how I manage. You never know someone reading this might be struggling to manage their B12 deficiency and this may help. 

  1. When you have a burst of energy it can be tempting to rush about trying to get all those jobs that need doing done. Instead make a list and then prioritise, it’s easier to pace yourself this way and avoid burning out. 
  2. This may sound blindingly obvious, but try to get to bed a sensible time. A good night sleep will mean you feel better for it in the morning. 
  3. Don’t skip meals as this will depleat your energy sources more quickly. 
  4. Secondly don’t  skip your injections, these are so important. It can take time for a normal level of B12 to build up in your system, missing injections will lower your levels. 
  5. Originally my Injections were only every 12 weeks, I was getting to week 8 and would spend the next month exhausted. You don’t have to put up with this. I had a chat with my doctor and he agreed to let me have the injections on a more regular scale. I feel much better for it. 
  6. Don’t be afraid to speak to your employer and let them know that you have the condition, and how it can effect you. My employer was really understanding, I was able to take a small extra break if needed during my bad weeks. Most good employers would accommodate this as it means your not taking a sick day. 
  7. Some times when all else fails take that after noon nap. Don’t feel guilty about it. There will be times that you are so freekin tired all you want to do is sleep. Just don’t do it for too long or you will mess up you night time sleep pattern. Oh and if like me you have to do that school run set an alarm. Yup Ive been guilty of over sleeping and leaving the kids at school, embarrassing!! 

I do hope you found this helpful, if you have B12 and have any other tips feel free to add them in the comments section. 

Bye for now, Katy 🙂