B12 Deficiency and Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia refers to a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the body
cannot properly absorb Vitamin B12 from the gastrointestinal tract.

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient found in some foods, especially animal products such as
meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products. The body needs this nutrient to
make healthy red blood cells and to keep its nervous system working properly.

To absorb vitamin B12, your body uses a special protein called intrinsic factor, which
is released by cells in the stomach. The combination of vitamin B12 bound to
intrinsic factor is absorbed in the last part of the small intestine. When the stomach
does not make enough intrinsic factor, the intestine cannot properly absorb vitamin

The cause of pernicious anemia
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the cells that
make intrinsic factor (autoimmunity against gastric parietal cells) or intrinsic factor
itself. This leads to decreased absorption of B12. It is important to know that there
are other types of B12 deficient Anemias and that some symptoms of B12 deficiency
are not related to anemia.

B12 Deficiency
Some causes of B12 deficiency anemia not related to pernicious anemia include:
  • Weakened stomach lining (atrophic gastritis)
  • Low stomach acid production
  • Vegetarian or Vegan diet
  • Poor nutrition

Symptoms of B12 deficiency not related to anemia include:
  • Weakness
  • Memory problems
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Lack of Coordination/Clumsiness
  • Shiny/Smooth Tongue

Symptoms of Anemia (all types) can include:
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Pale Skin
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Heart Beat
These symptoms could be due to any form of anemia such as sickle cell anemia or
the very common
iron deficiency anemia as well as pernicious or B12 deficiency
anemias so it is very important to have your blood analyzed to determine the true
cause of your symptoms.

Pernicious anemia is called such because it was often fatal in the past, before
vitamin B12 treatments were available. Now, pernicious anemia and other forms of
B12 deficiency are usually easy to treat with
vitamin B12 pills or shots depending on
the complicating factors such as intrinsic factor production and dietary compliance.
With ongoing care and proper treatment, most people who have B12 deficiency or
pernicious anemia can recover, feel well, and live normal lives.

Complete Health and Weight Loss our health experts can test you for anemia
and make recommendations to reverse the underlying cause of anemia and get you
on the path to recovery.

Call for an appointment today.  
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of anemia but live outside the
DFW area, we can still help you via
phone consultations.

Complete Health and Weight Loss
5000 Legacy Dr. #240
Plano, TX 75024
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