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Vitamin B12

(14 Posts)
hectica Wed 19-Feb-20 15:57:54

My daughter has been shown to have somewhat (not massively) low levels of B12, and has been given oral supplements to start with. The doctor said that if these didn't work, then she might need to go the route of injections instead. She implied that that would be a bit of a hassle, but didn't elaborate.

Has anyone benefited from supplementation (either type) and is there any downside to the injections? My daughter's symptoms are mainly anxiety and memory loss related. Thanks

Grasspigeons Wed 19-Feb-20 16:09:16

Hi i have two relatives that have injections as their body doesnt absorb b12 in the gut.One gets a bit of spotty skin occasionally and the other got a sore arm initially but you need b12 so its not really an option to not have it. It can make you really ill not having enough b12. They started with 'loading doses' where they had a few on quick succession and then it went to maintenance doses which are every 12 weeks done by the practice nurse.
Hopefully the supplements will help. I take a supplement and thats fine for me as i can absorb b12 but its always low so i need a tablet.

stayingontherail Wed 19-Feb-20 19:03:06

If you haven’t taken them before, be warned they make your wee luminous yellow and smell really weird (open the supplement bottle and sniff - that’s it smells like).

ahran2k Wed 19-Feb-20 19:30:09

B12 supplements don't smell , but b complex does. Regarding injections I would say if her levels are really low like less than 100 then oral supplement will take a long time before she feels okay. Injections are not a problem but the only thing is you need to take 6 injections in all and the injections have to be done every alternate day. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday then again Monday Wednesday Friday. So it is a hassle for the surgeries and also for your daughter if she does not like getting injected. The injection site does not hurt like immunisations and the injection site pain only last for 30-60 min.

BlackInk Thu 20-Feb-20 08:48:18

Hi OP

It depends on the reason why your DD's B12 is low. Do you know the result and the range? If not you can ask your GP for it.

If her B12 is low despite a decent diet, then she likely has problems absorbing B12 to some degree -- there are various causes of this including pernicious anaemia and Coeliac disease.

Dietary sources of B12 include meat, fish, eggs, dairy and some fortified foods like breakfast cereals, Marmite, sliced bread, plant-based milks, etc.

You need 2 or 3 portions from the above list to reach the RDA for B12.

One of the problems with taking B12 tablets if you have trouble absorbing it is that taking them may raise your blood levels without actually doing any good.

zen1 Thu 20-Feb-20 08:55:45

Hi OP, I’ve been having B12 injections every 12 weeks for a couple of years and I can’t say I’ve noticed any down side. My B12 was extremely low before I started. My main symptoms were mouth ulcers and tingly hands and feet. The only hassle as far as the injections is that in the first two weeks, you have to 6 shots, so a bit inconvenient attending the surgery every other day, but once that’s over, it’s fine.

hectica Sun 23-Feb-20 15:02:16

Thanks everyone. I don't know the result and the range at this point - just that it's not hugely low.

So to those of you who have/had supplementation, did it actually work? Were your symptoms relieved by it?

mamakoukla Sun 23-Feb-20 15:42:38

My level was hovering just over the 100 mark. Oral supplements- slow release, took a higher dose twice a day and avoided alcohol as the interferes with uptake. Within 1-2 weeks could feel the difference. After a month of high doses, tapered down to a daily evening dose, again slow release 1200 mg. I eat a varied diet, but ageing can make uptake less efficient.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 23-Feb-20 15:45:39

I don’t absorb it so have injections every ten weeks, they’re done by the practise nurse, I’m in and out in 5 minutes. No side effects at all, I’ve been having then about 10 years and will be on them for life. The difference they make is enormous.

mamakoukla Sun 23-Feb-20 15:54:32

Realized I haven’t answered all your questions. Levels did increase; was followed up 1 month after. My symptoms were largely relieved. Nausea, tired (wiped out tired), breathlessness, headaches, anxiety, mental confusion. Walking up one flight of stairs was starting to become a chore; I typically did 5 flights multiple times a day. I think there is a preference (I am not in the UK atm) for oral supplements if it works for the patient; cheaper and not using up medical resources. But if the patient does need injections - the improvement I felt would absolutely make it worthwhile if I were faced with that decision

hectica Sun 23-Feb-20 16:47:29

Thanks @mamakoukla. The mental confusion is really worrying my daughter. She's normally super organised, so these memory issues are really bothering her and affecting her at work. So it's really good to know that supplements helped that for you.

mamakoukla Sun 23-Feb-20 23:15:17

It was the pits. Hope she comes along well and improves quickly

DragonMamma Sun 23-Feb-20 23:26:09

I have injections with the nurse every 8 weeks but I now self inject weekly as it wasn’t enough.

My brain fog/concentration declines massively when I get too low.

I don’t have PA nor am I coeliac. I just don’t absorb the stuff.

It’s also worth checking her folate levels. There’s no point taking b12 supplements if her levels are low. I take 5mg of folic acid a couple of times a week as my folate drops off regularly.

It’s a tricky regime to get right. The NICE guidelines of a jab every 12 weeks (I was dropped to 8 weeks) is not generally enough for most people with Vit B12 deficiency, even after loading doses.

My levels were 89 when I started my loading dose. I should have been off the charts afterwards 2000+ but I was just a shade over 300, which would be classed as deficient in lots of non-UK countries. Our levels of acceptable B12 are a lot lower than tier countries.

DragonMamma Sun 23-Feb-20 23:28:46

And there’s no downside to the injections that I can see - save for the fact that I have to import them from Germany but they literally save me from losing my mind and I was fed up of the NHS being so stingy with a very cheap vitamin.

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