Help please? Is it lack of B.12

I am convinced that my boyfriend has problems absorbing B.12. He is showing some worrying signs of severe loss of memory and other symptoms. His B.12 blood tests are within the 'normal' range, which means according to our G.P. there isn't a problem. I want John to get a referral to a haematologist would this be the right route to go? Just don't know which way to turn, or would it be a good idea to get a private test, in which case who would do a B12 Intrinsic Test?

Thank you

20 Replies

  • Blue Horizon are now doing an active B12 test finger prick test so you should pay for that.

    Also be aware there are other medical conditions that cause memory loss so please send for and do the test asap then if that is fine you need to get your boyfriend to go back to the GP immediately, and get him to demand it is investigated. You do need to attend some of the appointments with him as you can see how his memory and demeanour have changed.

  • Thank you bluebug

  • Margo,

    Has your boyfriend got severe gut issues ? ? ...

  • YES! We are working through it with diet....chicken broth, Paleo. Just so worried as nothing seems to be doing it for him.

  • Has he been to see anyone to rule out Crohn's, UC, coeliac disease?

    Do you mind me asking what his B12 was? My GP said 110 was "normal"...

  • Yes he has been checked for everything, we are also gluten free. His B12 as way above the normal levels, but that doesn't mean he is absorbing it Bombus.

  • Indeed. Don't BH now have a B12 test that measures active B12 rather then serum levels? I took B12 lozenges that raised my serum levels but I was still symptomatic.

    Have any gut issues been ruled out?

  • We are working on the gut issues Bombus. Thank you

  • be very very sure that not one piece of cookware is aluminium or non stick coated or goil or a slow cooker,electric coffee maker,george foremen type grill or that cans of any desription are eaten or dtunk from

  • Thank you for the reminder reallyfedup.

  • avoid all food that has been through manufacturers virtually every food factory includes aluminium production lines only fresh stuff you cook yourself and as much salad and fresh fruit as possible check with your water supply company too because Cornwall esppecially adds aluminium to water supplies

  • Margo,

    It is possible to have a high//normal Vit B12 level and still be deficient as it depends on the levels of active B12. Vit B12 deficiency isn't easily recognised by the medical profession and all attributing symptoms may be assigned to other health issues as overlap.

    Gut issues could be affecting absorption of vitamins and minerals. In the stomach, parietal cells secrete hydrochloric acid located in the gastric glands in the lining of the stomach, and together with protease (stomach enzyme), allows us to digest and absorb our food, and produce intrinsic factor, allowing the absorption of vitamin B12 and folic acid.

    Long term illness of any sort can compromise the adrenal glands and failing adrenal glands inhibits our ability to produce hydrochloric acid. Without gut acid, we can’t digest food properly or absorb nutrients and our body slips deeper into a state of deficiency and fatigue. This low acid production will also contribute to yeast and/or parasite overgrowth in the intestines.

    Vitamin B12 can only be absorbed in the small intestine, and due to common intestinal ailments such as yeast and//or parasite overgrowth , even meat eaters who consume high levels of Vit B-12, may be unable to absorb it in their gut. Low levels of "active" B12 may lead to anaemia and the underdevelopment of villi (which house our digestive enzymes) and so further impairs digestion and leads to further inflammation. .... a whole vicious CIRCLE ! ! ! ....

    When there is not enough "ACTIVE" Vit B12 in the body (or the cells are not able to use a "normal" amount), they export this back to the blood where it builds up bound to haptocorrin. After about a week, the haptocorrin-bound B12 is imported by the liver and recycled via the bile to the gut. This is the salvage and recycle pathway for B12 as the body cells are (in general) not able to use it. This is very hard work for an already compromise system & gut.

    B12 and folate are frequently found in the same biochemical pathways, as folate (B9) works with vitamin B12 to help create, develop and regenerate red blood cells and make iron work properly. Deficiencies in either can cause similar symptoms so labs should always (hopefully) include both.. Has Johns folate been tested ? ? .. Has Johns ferritin been tested ? ? .. A low iron level may skew serum B12 results (by altering the size of red blood cells) as will supplementing B12 by falsely elevating levels.

    Too much folic acid (perhaps from fortified cereals, etc).. may mask the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, without alleviating any of the long-term problems associated with the illness. However, (good) folic acid (in the gut, not supplemented ! ) keeps homocysteine in check.

    High homocysteine levels (from low folic acid levels) are a significant risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Also, high homocysteine will disrupt thyroid metabolism at the cellular level as it blocks T3 ! ! ! .... from binding with a helper enzyme.

    Get John to ask for homocysteine and MMA to be tested by his GP. Also, intrinsic factor antibodies and parietal cell antibodies to eliminate PA. You may also get further//better advice from the PA forum.

    The B12 serum test measures the TOTAL amount in blood circulation and this includes holohaptocorrin which (as you probably already know ) is the inactive form of B12. ACTIVE B12 (aka holotranscobalamin), (test known as HoloTC) only measures the amount that is usable at cell level (ACTIVE).. The test is available on the NHS at St Thomas' Hospital and requires a GP's referral but is also available from private labs (link below).

    If John wishes to take this further, you could look into MTHFR issues (polymorphism on MTHFR gene) which may inhibit the utilisation of Vit B12 ( amongst other things).

    The coenzyme form of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin (or methyl B12) is the only form of vitamin B12 which can directly participate in homocysteine metabolism. In addition to converting homocysteine to methionine via methyl, B12 generates an increased supply of SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine), which is the body's most important methyl donor.

    Supplementing Methylcobalamin, which is a highly bioavailable form of vitamin B12 is easier to utilise by a body with MTHFR issues . (Also Methylfolate in preference to folic acid. John will also need to take a B complex in addition to balance all B vits).

    Don't forget Vit D, and ferritin. Also candida, parasites, etc .... extremely common in peeps with long term illness.. I had ALL last year but have eliminated through sups advised by a nutritionist.


    Active Vit B12 Test


    Supplementing Betaine HCL

  • Thank you Radd a lot to read and inwardly digest, will take my time on it over the weekend.

  • There are other tests that can confirm B12 Deficiency - like the MMA urine test and of course Homocysteine. The latter will rise into double figures in the presence of B12 Deficiency. Take a look at the website below for signs and symptoms of B12 Deficiency - in particular the neurological ones. Also information about further testing.

    Just like the Thyroid - Docs should be looking at symptoms rather than the blood test result ....

    Only 20% of the blood test result is available for transportation into the cells where it is needed - something Docs are rarely aware of. Also if Folate is low - that can be another indication of Low B12 as both work together in the body. Conversely taking Folic Acid can mask B12D. How was his FBC ? Some GP's still believe that B12D does NOT exist in the absence of anaemia. Shame on them .....

    Do buy the book - Could it Be B12 ? - by Sally Pacholok - 2nd Edition. Every home should have one - as should every GP :-)

  • Thank you Marz, have already got Martyn Hooper's book on B12 will re-read it, and also the information you have kindly given me.

  • I have read Martyn Hoopers book too - but the Sally Pacholok one concentrates more on B12 - just a thought :-) Hope all goes well for John and for YOU ....

    The above movie is free this weekend as it is B12 Awareness week - posted on the PAS forum by PAS-Admin. Think the Password is JEFF.

  • Thank you Marz, will take a look at Sally's book.

  • .... maybe you will have time for the movie too :-)

  • Will take a look Marz, thank,you.

  • For help with gut healing I would recommend L-Glutamine. Buy it as a loose powder, not in capsules because you need to be able to control the dose, and capsules are both expensive and too small a dose.

    If you have any suspicion that your boyfriend has dementia, then this might be of interest :

    The author of the article has made a full length film which is available on Youtube for free. Despite the use of puppets it is deadly serious stuff.

    The three minute prequel :

    The full movie :

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