When Should Vitamin B12 Be Used in Diabetes Treatment?

When Should Vitamin B12 Be Used in Diabetes Treatment?

Vitamin b12 is a powerful antioxidant that can treat diabetes, but when should it be used? This article explores the potential benefits and risks of taking vitamin b12 in diabetes treatment.

Vitamin B12 supplementation may benefit individuals with diabetes who have been diagnosed with a deficiency. Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in metabolism, nerve function, and the production of red blood cells. Some individuals with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency due to various factors, such as certain diabetes medications or gastrointestinal issues that affect nutrient absorption. If a deficiency is identified through blood tests, a healthcare professional may recommend vitamin B12 supplementation to address the deficiency and support overall health.

The Symptoms of A  Vitamin B-12 Deficiency in Diabetes

Vitamin B12 deficiency can manifest with a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from person to person.  Here are 10 potential symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in diabetic patients:

1. Fatigue and weakness: 

Feeling tired and lacking energy. 

2. Peripheral neuropathy:

Numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet. 

3. Poor balance and coordination: 

Difficulty maintaining balance or clumsy movements. 

4. Cognitive impairment: 

Memory problems, confusion, or difficulty concentrating. 

5. Anemia: 

Pale skin, weakness, and shortness of breath. 

6. Glossitis: 

An inflamed tongue, making it appear swollen, smooth, or red.

7. Mouth ulcers: 

Sores or lesions in the mouth. 

8. Digestive problems: 

Diarrhea, constipation, or loss of appetite. 

9. Depression and mood changes: 

Feeling down, irritable, or anxious. 

10. Vision changes: 

Blurred or disturbed vision. It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by various factors, and a medical professional should conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Causes Of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Here are eight common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency: 

1. Inadequate dietary intake: 

A diet low in animal-based foods, which are the main sources of vitamin B12, can lead to deficiency, especially in vegetarians and vegans. 

2. Malabsorption conditions: 

Certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or pernicious anemia, can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 from food. 

3. Autoimmune conditions: 

Pernicious anemia and other autoimmune disorders can result in the body’s inability to absorb vitamin B12 properly. 

4. Gastric surgery or procedures: 

Surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, such as in weight loss surgeries or gastric bypass, can affect the absorption of vitamin B12. 

5. Aging: 

As we age, the body’s ability to absorb and utilize vitamin B12 decreases, leading to a higher risk of deficiency in older adults. 

6. Medications: 

Certain medications, such as metformin (commonly used in diabetes treatment), proton pump inhibitors (used for acid reflux), and some antibiotics, can interfere with B12 absorption or increase the need for B12. 

7. Alcoholism: 

Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the absorption and utilization of vitamin B12 in the body. 

8. Rare genetic disorders: 

In some cases, inherited genetic disorders like transcobalamin deficiency or homocystinuria can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.

It is important to note that a healthcare professional should determine the specific cause of a B12 deficiency through proper diagnosis and evaluation.

Ways to Prevent Vitamin B-12 Deficiency 

To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, consider the following strategies: 

1. Consume foods rich in vitamin B12: 

Include animal-based foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products in your diet, as they are excellent sources of vitamin B12.

 2. Include fortified foods: 

Some cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and nutritional yeast are fortified with vitamin B12. Incorporate these into your diet if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle

3. Consider supplements: 

If you have difficulty meeting your vitamin B12 requirements through diet alone, talk to your healthcare professional about vitamin B12 supplements. They may recommend oral supplements or injections, depending on your specific needs. 

4. Regular blood tests: 

If you are at higher risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, such as individuals with certain medical conditions or those on long-term medications, schedule regular blood tests to monitor your vitamin B12 levels and address any deficiencies in a timely manner. 

5. Manage underlying conditions: 

If you have conditions that affect vitamin B12 absorption or utilization, such as gastrointestinal disorders or pernicious anemia, work closely with your healthcare provider to manage and treat these conditions to minimize the risk of deficiency. 

6. Limit excessive alcohol consumption: 

Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the absorption and utilization of vitamin B12. Limit your alcohol intake to reduce this risk. 

7. Stay informed: 

Educate yourself about potential risk factors and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. This awareness can help you recognize signs early on and seek appropriate medical attention if needed.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on When Should Vitamin B12 Be Used in Diabetes Treatment.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being