B12 deficiency makes you feel tired and unfocused, as if your brain is melting. It’s not your imagination- brain lesions from vitamin B12 deficiency, as seen through MRIs, are visible proof of the neurological damage caused when low vitamin B12 (cobalamin) levels turn into pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 and the Myelin Sheath
One of the many benefits of vitamin B12 includes its ability to protect your nerve cells from harm. Myelin is a fatty substance that surrounds your brain and spinal cord nerves, forming a shield, or sheath, that allows neurons to send nerve impulse speedily and efficiently without exposing themselves to outside dangers. Vitamin B12 helps your body maintain your myelin sheath, thus ensuring continuous communication among your many nerve fibers.
With vitamin B12 deficiency, demyelination (the breaking down of myelin) occurs, resulting in slower nervous impulses and eventual neurological damage. Besides vitamin B12 deficiency, another illness that causes demyelination is multiple sclerosis (MS). Also read: Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Movement Disorders- How They Relate
Symptoms of demyelination
Some vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms that indicate nerve damage include:
- Painful tingling and numbness in hands and feet
- Difficulty walking
- Poor muscular control
- Muscular feebleness
- Shooting pains
- Frequent clumsiness
- Poor bladder control
- Poor vision
- Chronic fatigue
Brain lesions caused by vitamin B12 deficiency
Several scientific studies have proven that the appearance of “cerebral white-matter lesions” in an MRI may indicate nerve damage caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.
In a 2009 study on plasma vitamin B12 and brain lesions, scientists attributed elevated homocysteine levels (a side effect of vitamin B12 deficiency) to a high correlation of white-matter brain lesions, noting a steady increase of severe brain lesions with declining levels of vitamin B12 in the blood.
In a separate report on encephalomyelopathy due to vitamin B12 deficiency, a 39-year-old man who had pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency was admitted to hospital after suffering seizures, partial paralysis, vision problems, gait ataxia, and numbness in his extremities (legs, feet, arms, and hands). Anti-epilepsy drugs reduced some of the symptoms, but not all.
Scientists then discovered multiple brain lesions in his MRI, and prescribed vitamin B12 supplements.
Supplementation of vitamin B12 provided the significant results that the scientists were expecting.
Scientists concluded that vitamin B12 deficiency should be considered as a cause of seizures, in addition to epilepsy.
Please tell us…
- Do you suffer from weak muscles, frequent numbness, fatigue, and chronic pain?
- Have you had your B12 levels checked?
- Do you currently receive vitamin B12 shots, but wish you still had more energy?
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Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!
Painful Tingling in Hands and Feet- What’s Up with That?
6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease
Balance your B12, Balance your Nerves
Plasma vitamin B12 status and cerebral white-matter lesions- PubMed, NCBI
[Encephalomyelopathy due to vitamin B12 deficiency with seizures as a predominant symptom]- PubMed, NCBI