How much time it takes for the b12 to show their effect?

I was diagnosed with b12 deficiency in June 2016. I started taking injections in July..so it's roughly 2 months...I had many issues earlier.. Predominantly walking problem, mental confusion, muscle pain, back pain, tingling in toes..there has not been any improvement in my waling problems. Though muscle weakness has almost gone. But this dizziness and walking problem are not at all going, in fact sometimes I feel like they are getting increased. Can anyone tell me how much time does it really take for that new blood to replace the old deficient one.?.

PS: level diagnosed with ...144

And facing problem since January 2015..almost 1.5 year before the diagnosis

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  • The time it takes for things to recover is quite variable. Some people report a very quick clear up of some symptoms, others can take a lot longer, some may never get completely better.

    The tingling and balance problems aren't because of a problem with blood cells (which should be almost completely replaced after two months) but with nerve cells.

    B12 is required for proper production of myelin. This is a white substance that forms an insulating sheath around the nerve cells. Without enough insulation the nerve signals slow down and may even stop. It can take a long time to replace the myelin sheath.

    There are other possible causes for this as well, like low folate. Have you had your levels checked?

    A referral to a neurologist is a good idea. They'll be able to do tests to help determine the cause and the severity.

  • So you mean to say that this nerve issue takes a bit longer time?

  • My neurologist told me that I might never get any improvement. But now we're pretty sure that it's not because of a B12 deficiency - and we're trying to find out just what may be causing it.

    I'm afraid nobody can say how long it will take any particular symptom to recover in any individual - there are just too many variables, some of them unknown.

  • Hi Ashishk No two people are the same and it is even possible for symptoms to appear to get worse before they get better as the B12 starts its "repair work".

    As fbirder says "Have you had your levels checked?" as this help process the B12

  • Yes sometimes I feel like things are getting worse in some symptoms and on the other hand better for few symptoms.. Hope this is a part of this process. But I actually want to know about the process..how it changes inside..just want to know..after so much of problem frm last 20 months I deserve to know..

  • Hi again Ashishk there is no easy answer to how long it will take for improvement to happen - in fact it has been known for things to feel worse before they get better once B12 injections start to get to work repairing the damage done to the nerves caused by the deficiency.

    I'm not medically qualified but as I understand it (and this might be an oversimplification) a lack of B12 damages the mylene sheath of the nerves so that normal messages to the brain gets interrupted. Think of it as being like an electric cable with damaged insulation which allows the current to "leak away" instead of lighting up the lamp. Repair the damaged insulation and the light comes on. The B12 you get from your injections repairs the "damaged insulation" of your nerves and all of a sudden the brain is getting "lit up" with messages from parts of the body it had forgotten about and it takes a time for the brain to process these "pain" messages.

    Do you know why you were B12 deficient in the first place and also do you know what your Folate level is?

  • Everything changed after I had an extended course of antibiotics in December 2014.. That's all I know..no other cause is known because I was kind of fit as fiddle earlier. But after the 25 days course of antibiotics and improper care, my life just changed. And since then we are wandering here and there for what actually happens and no one could understand the reason everyone said that it's fine, you have nothing and like that. But I am the one who knows how it feels inside me. And yes we got something after 1.5 year, this b12 level..that's the only thing I have ever got in any reports. Now as u said that things may get bit worse before they actually help me..I am kind of hoping that this is the case with me..but still I am thinking that I should see neurologist.

  • And of course antibiotics can adversely affect B12 absorption.

    You still don't say whether your Folate level is good. It can be obtained from leafy green vegetables, sprouts, broccoli, beans etc and nowadays folic acid is being added to breakfast cereals

    B12 can only naturally obtained from eating meats, fish, eggs, poultry and dairy products. I understand that caviare is very high in B12 :)

    Make a daily list of your different symptoms putting them on a scale of one to ten and noting any improvement or otherwise, then if you have recourse to go back to your doctor for more frequent injections you will have documented proof to show him.

    Hopefully this will not need to happen, keep to a healthy diet of meat, potato, greens and gravy and I wish you well for the future.

  • Actually since my childhood I have always eaten lot of green vegetables , sprouts and beans. But I don't know about my folate level. Though I have taken folic acid earlier also(doctors prescribed them earlier) and now also the dctr has given me folic acid along with b12 tablets.. But the think is that I am vegetarian, but I take sufficient amount of milk and curd daily. Though I can start taking eggs. But we in our family don't consume meat.

  • Being vegetarian probably explains your B12 deficiency. Keep taking the tablets....

  • Hello, I checked my folate level test report...it was normal...

  • Well I'm more than two years in from diagnosis, and have felt much better since my GP agreed to give me six weekly injections rather than every three months. This has been since last November.

  • So you were diagnosed after two years when you started getting symptoms?

  • No it's two years now since I got my diagnosis. I think I was ill and getting worse for at least two years before that.

  • Ashishk, I was so glad to see your post. I started injections a month ago and have been wondering when I'll feel a difference. I can tell some things are improving slightly, but still feel miserable overall, and can't partake in my regular activities. It's work and that's it -- and I barely have energy for that. Like you, I have good and bad days. I find that social situations wear me out the most. Having a conversation with more than one person at a time is just too much for my brain.

    One other thing that interested me about your post was your mention of this all starting with antibiotics. About a year ago, I took an antibiotic that totally wrecked my system. Since then, I've had stomach problems. Around the same time, I became lactose intolerant. They thought I had celiac, but an upper GI endoscopy only showed some reddening of the stomach lining in a few spots. Have stomach problems been part of your struggle? Just curious if we have similar stories...

  • I have similar questions. I was diagnosed with low B12 about a month ago--the cause is not yet known. I live in the US, so I think the treatment protocol may differ, but I received daily injections for 7 days, and have had 2 of 4 weekly injections. My magnesium was normal, but folate was not tested. My main symptoms were tingling in my arms and legs, and many, many small muscle twitches all over. The tingling has vanished with treatment, but the twitches have not. Otherwise, I feel generally well, although I didn't realize I was feeling poorly before the diagnosis. I do feel generally better than I did before the treatment. I attributed any fatigue or other symptoms to aging--I'm 49. I am trying to be patient, but am also concerned that there may be another neurological issue, so I am seeing neurologist in 2 weeks. I am hoping that either the twitches will diminish or resolve, or at least that I can be reassured that they are related to the B12 deficiency and not another cause.

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