Posted by Garnet71 on January 17, 2009, at 21:55:25
In reply to Long Term SSRI Use Has Destabilzed Me, posted by NewQuestions on January 16, 2009, at 10:28:30
"When deficiency is the problem
Theres a lot of controversy about routine testing for vitamin B-12 deficiency, which may not even have symptoms. On the other hand, severe deficiency can cause confusion, memory loss, tingling and weakness in the limbs, hallucinations, and listlessness. This may be misdiagnosed as Alzheimers disease or other conditions. Or the person suffering from these symptoms may simply attribute them to "aging." If you suspect you are deficient, get medical help. Blood tests can diagnose deficiency, and levels of the vitamin can be brought up in various wayspills, nasal gels, and injections.
Extracting vitamin B-12 from foods is a complex process. The stomach must secrete adequate amounts of acid, plus the digestive enzyme pepsin, and then, in order to be absorbed, the free vitamin must combine with a protein known as "intrinsic factor." But in older people this process may be incomplete: 20 to 30% of people over age 50 dont produce enough stomach acid, and thus their B-12 absorption is reduced. A poor diet and heavy drinking can also contribute to a deficiency. Vegans (who eat no animal products, which are the best sources of B-12) can be deficient, as can those with diseases of the intestinal tract.
All these people may gradually develop the common form of B-12 deficiency. There is also a rare and more serious form, known as pernicious anemia (see below)."