Check Up : Woman struggling with nerve pain

August 09, 2017


Josephine is a 54-year-old lady whose doctor has asked her to start taking vitamin B12 to help with her nerve pain. She has taken multivitamins in the past to boost her energy level, and wonders what vitamin B12 does for her body could might be different.

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, which means it is vital for the body's health. It is found in meat, fish and dairy products, and is often taken in combination with other B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is used to treat or help prevent several conditions such as vitamin B12 deficiency; pernicious anaemia; memory loss, including Alzheimer's disease; slow ageing; boosts energy levels; improving mood; improving mental functioning; boost the immune system; helping to prevent diabetic nerve damage; helping to prevent nerve and damage in the hands and feet; it is used as adjunct in treatment of multiple sclerosis; helping with fertility management; it is used in conjunction with medication to treat sleep disorders, depression and mental disorders; it is used in conjunction with other medicines for treatment of vitiligo; helping to prevent cancers; and helping in the production of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 is needed for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells and other parts of the body.


Immune dysfunction


People who are vegans and eat no meat are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and may need Vitamin B supplements. Vitamin B supplements may also be needed for persons who take antacids regularly, drink a lot of alcohol, have HIV or Crohn's Disease, or persons with immune dysfunction.

When a person has severe vitamin B12 deficiency, they begin to experience shakiness, muscle weakness and stiffness, muscle spasms, fatigue, low blood pressure and mood disturbances. An individual with vitamin B12 deficiency may need intramuscular Vitamin B12 injections weekly to recover as well as taking supplements by mouth. Some surveys show that about 20 per cent of older adults have borderline levels of vitamin B12 and need supplements of this vitamin.

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