Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Hi all, I'd like to introduce myself.

Yesterday, I had another B12 shot at the GP's office. I knew it was overdue, because the pins and needles are in overdrive and the tiny virtiligo-like spots (does anyone else have those?) are appearing on my arms again. Somehow, those symptoms seem more reliable and tangible than the never ending fatigue and sad feelings. I'm still in doubt when those flare up. Is it b12? Is it a very different illness? Is it my flawed personality? Or is it my imagination?

I'm a 31-year old female in Belgium. I'm not able to work full time or do my full share of housework. My husband is the one who cooks, because after a day of work, I'm too exhausted.

My GP tested me for B12 deficiency for the first time a few years ago. He gave me a couple of shots and that was it. It wasn't enough (surprise!) and at this point, I have a monthly appointment at his office for shots. When I read your stories, I feel lucky to be both diagnosed and treated. Still, I feel it's not enough. I'm exhausted, all the time, so either the B12-deficiency is not the (full) cause or a monthly shot is simply not enough.

Most of the time, I feel I can cope. Sometimes, I'm beyond pissed that I can't live my life my peers seem to do. You know, have a real career. Go out in the weekends and stay up past 10pm. I know, I have a daughter, I parttime job and I study to get another degree, that is quite something. Still.

Yesterday, I asked my GP how he felt about self-injecting. He was very sceptical. He also seems to feel a monthly dose is already more than my condition warrants, so more shots are not very likely. I wonder if it would be a good idea to supplement the shots with those melting tablets? If I should push the doctors to dig deeper and find out what's causing this? Another big concern is that we're hoping to have another baby, but I might open a different topic on that altogether ;-).

Thanks for reading this, I needed to get it off my system!

4 Replies

Hi Kiwimi,

Welcome here! To answer your question is not that simple, first it would be wise to have other possibly issues eliminated such as folate def and or iron def and or thyroid problems as all these are common second issues say once you are on B12 treatment. Also thyroid disease is common with vitiligo, see:

"You also may need a blood test to check the health of your thyroid gland. People who have vitiligo often have an autoimmune thyroid disease. A blood test will tell whether your thyroid is healthy. If you have thyroid disease, treatment can successfully control it."

Un fortunately if you have an autoimmune condition you can be more prone to more autoimmune conditions.

So best bet is to go to your GP and ask for further testing perhaps see a specialist, if your GP is unwilling,

I hope this helps,

Kind regards,



Thanks for the quick reply Marre!

To clarify my first post, I don't have full-blown vitiligo, just small spots on my arms.

I have been tested for thyroid problems as well as folate/iron def., and fortunately I don't have any problems in those areas. I did lose a lot of weight over the last year (after my pregnancy), which prompted the thyroid testing.


Then its more than likely you may benefit of more frequent B12 injections, and learning to self inject is the easiest way. Many here try other alternatives such as lozenges, sprays, patches etc, some do well others not its all worth a try!


I find that my symptoms - in terms of grumpiness and moodiness - return within 24 hours of a top up shot though it takes longer for all the other symptoms to disappear.

You can't overdose on B12 and nobody has actually identified any bad consequences of having high B12 levels - celebs are known to use it as a 'feel good'.

As Marre says - important to keep getting checked out for other things but don't think you should worry about supplementing. You can get B12 over the counter in Germany and France - and even get the injections done at the pharmacy - not sure how far you are from the border.

Most GPs don't really understand B12 deficiency and how it affects you - know I find it hard to believe how much it affected me - I suffered from depression and anxiety for decades before I was told my B12 levels were low and it then took me another year to figure out what that really meant and put all the pieces together. I tried talking to my GP about it (because even though I was getting shots I was still finding it really difficult to cope and was actually going backwards - when I walked into the surgery I was struggling to walk, think and had to be really careful when I sat down because I really wasn't sure where my body was in relation to other things - getting up afterwards was a real struggle and I remember standing there at one point with my eyes closed trying to figure out how to lift my legs whilst he was looking at neuro side of things. All he wanted to do was prescribe anti-depressants - dismissed things like tinnitus, depression, digestive problems etc as nothing to do with B12 deficiency and said that it couldn't be that because I was on shots. Just walked out and apologised for wasting his time (and thought that I was also sorry he'd wasted mine :)). Anyway, gave me the incentive to start treating myself - which was mainly by using a nasal spray at rate of 3mg a day .... and within 2 weeks I was so much better and quite comfortable going up a ladder and perching their to prune a grape vine. A few months later I realised that the depression I'd had for a number of years had lifted and I wasn't having problems with anxiety that I'd been experiencing. I think a lot of GPs really aren't as aware as they should be of the neuropsychiatric effects of low B12.

Anyway, you certainly aren't alone in feeling that 1 month is far to long. I continue to supplement at the same levels as 9 months ago - the appointment with the doctor - I go back for shots more to keep it on my records than anything else. I do self-inject (subcutaneously) if I know I'm going to have a stressful day or if I have a heavy cold (lot less frequent than it was) and now feel that I have a life rather than the miserable existence I had for so many years.

Different people find that different forms of B12 affect them in different ways - as well as finding that different dosages work for them - I use a mixture of hydroxo and methyl because I find the hydroxo works very well for the neuropsychiatric but methyl seems to work better for the numbness, tingling and balance.

I also supplement B9 (folate) and B6 - you need B9 to metabolise and use B12 and I think I get through so much B9 to metabolise enough B12 that it converts B6 (I was having really bad problems with headaches but they have got much better since I started supplementing with B6 - though I'm careful with the amounts of B6 as high levels can cause neuro problems).

Back to B12 isn't toxic and no bad effects from high levels have ever been identified so don't be scared of overdosing and work out what works for you.


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