Vitamin B12 Deficiency: What are the consequences?

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Neuritis and Inflammation 

Neuritis is an inflammation of a nerve or nerves. This inflammation usually manifests itself in pain in the area of affliction. It also may result in paresthesia (pins and needles), paresia (weakness), hypoesthesia (numbness), paralysis, wasting and disappearance of reflexes. In diseases such as Diabetes, one or many nerves can be affected. If neuritis is left untreated it can lead to permanent nerve damage and debilitation.  

Vitamin B12 and Neuritis 

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain healthy nerve cells and blood cells. Deficiency in adenosylcobalamin leads to increases in methyl malonic acid (MMA). MMA is toxic to mitochondria and to neurones. In addition high levels of MMA lead to the synthesis of defective myelin, with resulting reduction in nerve conduction. Several studies have have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to polyneuritis. Many patients who have diabetes and are taking metformin, have a decreased level of uptake of vitamin B12, which may lead to neuritis. High doses of vitamin B12 have been shown reduce the inflammatory response seen in many conditions, such as neuritis. The vitamin B12 can reduce pain, initiate repair to the myelin sheaths, and promote regeneration of the nerve cells

Treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency and Neuritis

By the time a patient develops signs of neuritis, there has been significant damage to the neurones and vitamin B12 is severely depleted in the liver, but more importantly in the brain and CSF. At this stage standard supplements containing vitamin B12 are not effective in increasing the serum and CSF levels of vitamin B12 and so constant high dose administration of vitamin B12 is required. Studies have shown that at least with dementia progression can largely be halted by such treatment. A topical form of vitamin B12 has recently been developed that is a specially formulated preparation that is an easy to apply, needle-free delivery system to the skin of the patient with neuritis. This pain-free form of delivery greatly increases the patient comfort experienced during the administration of the medication and allows for self-medication without the need for medical staff or any special training. It has recently become apparent that oral supplementation with vitamin B12 does not provide enough vitamin B12 to overcome vitamin B12 deficiency due to the limited uptake capacity of the intestine for vitamin B12, hence there is a requirement for higher initial doses of vitamin B12 to be supplied either by injection or via the topical vitamin B12 formulation.  In addition, the topical formulation of vitamin B12 is particularly suited to patients who may have gastro-intestinal problems, such as gastric ulcers, atrophic gastritis, Crohnís Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, or who are on Metformin medication, or who have had bariatric surgery, which can often lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.

Further Information on Neuritis, Peripheral Neuropathy and Vitamin B12

Check out the following sites for further information:

Scientific publications on vitamin B12 and neuritis can be found at the following link