A personal share about Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Graphic from theloverscooking.com

*Please note – the information contained in this post is not from someone of a medical background. It’s the explanation of a story to share and hopefully inform. Questions regarding this subject should be directed to a doctor or medical professional.

In 2018, after feeling utterly exhausted and ill for a long period of time, a doctor sent me for a blood test. This, being the first of many blood tests that I had done in 2018, revealed that I was/am severely deficient in Vitamin B12.

I’m sharing this story because it’s estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people are deficient in Vitamin B12 and attributing their tell-tale symptoms to something else. It seems like such a small thing, being deficient in one Vitamin, but it makes a world of difference in how your body and mind function.


The following information is from HealthLink BC (view more information here>)

What is the issue? Having vitamin B12 deficiency means that your body does not have enough of this vitamin. You need B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. Not having enough B12 can lead to anemia, which means your body does not have enough red blood cells to do the job. This can make you feel weak and tired. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your nerves and can affect memory and thinking.

What causes it? Most people get more than enough B12 from eating meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. Normally, the vitamin is absorbed by your digestive system—your stomach and intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually happens when the digestive system is not able to absorb the vitamin. This can happen if:

  • You have pernicious anemia. In this anemia, your body destroys the cells in your stomach that help you absorb vitamin B12.
  • You have had surgery to remove part of the stomach or the last part of your small intestine, called the ileum. This includes some types of surgery used to help very overweight people lose weight.
  • You have problems with the way your body digests food, such as sprue (also called celiac disease), Crohn’s disease, bacteria growth in the small intestine, or a parasite.

This anemia can also happen if you don’t eat enough foods with B12. People who eat a vegan diet and older adults who don’t eat a variety of foods may need to take a daily vitamin pill to get enough B12. Other causes include drinking alcohol and taking some prescription and non-prescription medicines.

What are the symptoms? If your vitamin B12 deficiency is mild, you may not have symptoms or you may not notice them. Some people may think they are just the result of growing older. As the anemia gets worse, you may:

  • Feel weak, tired, and light-headed.
  • Have pale skin.
  • Have a sore, red tongue or bleeding gums.
  • Feel sick to your stomach and lose weight.
  • Have diarrhea or constipation.

If the level of vitamin B12 stays low for a long time, it can damage your nerve cells. If this happens, you may have:

  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes.
  • A poor sense of balance.
  • Depression.
  • Dementia, a loss of mental abilities.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection, due to the lack of production of red blood cells. For me, the biggest symptom I suffered was a persistent infection that my body could not fight off. No amount of natural or medicinal remedies could cure the infection. Following the results of the blood test, the doctor attributed my lack of ability to fighting off the infection to my lack of B12.

The Blood test results showed that my body has less than half the recommended levels of B12 in my body. The B12 in my body was so low, The Doctor actually gave me a shot of B12 that very day before I left his office.

Symptoms I was experiencing with B12 deficiency:

  • Extreme exhaustion – I was having difficulties being awake for four hour periods at a time and sleeping, at times, up to 20 hours a day.
  • Persistent Infection – One that I could not get over, naturally or with antibiotics
  • Persistent Headaches – I had a headache every day.
  • Unbearable brain fog – I felt almost as though there was a dark cloud clogging my brain that was causing me to have issues thinking, reading and talking.
  • Joint Pain – I had frequent joint pain in weird parts of my body that I couldn’t explain. My mom said that I was arthritic like her, but when I started taking B12 supplements, the joint pain went away.

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in the following foods:

  • Beef, liver, fish and shellfish
  • Dairy products: Milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Eggs

Honestly, if you find yourself feeling frequently exhausted, look at your diet and see how much of these foods you eat or do not eat. Could your body be lacking in B12? Increasing B12 in your body is always a benefit and if you are low in the Vitamin, it’s a natural way to boost your body’s immunity.

Unfortunately, for me, these foods are not foods that I am able to eat, due to allergy, celiac disease and lactose-intolerance (which is likely why I was so deficient).


Additional note

There is medical research comparing a lack of B12 in the body to increased rates of depression and anxiety.

What’s the relationship between vitamin B-12 and depression?

Can a B-12 deficiency cause depression?

Half-baked? B vitamins and depression

Is lack of B12 cause your depression? From what I’ve read, very likely not. Could having more B12 improve your symptoms and make your depression seem less awful? From what I’ve read, probably.


As with all things you red on the internet that contain information about health, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend speaking to your doctor about it if you do have questions. I’m not a dcotor, and I’m not stating that anything in this article is anything more than personal experience and information from the internet.

So please, please, please, whether you’re experiencing similar symptoms or have questions about something you’re dealing with, talk to your doctor.

When in doubt, rant it out.

I want to take a brief moment to point out the importance of ranting. See, most people in my day-to-day life tend to get annoyed when I rant. Actually, I think that’s probably true of almost everyone. People don’t like to listen to ranting. But I think it’s important that everyone take the opportunity to rant.

If something is bothering you. If something’s unfair. If something’s ridiculous, you should be able to say it. Setting aside the catharsis that comes from ranting, it’s important to note the unfairness and injustices in this world. Ranting ensures that we aren’t allowed to hide from the unfairness or injustice. When these subjects are brought to the forefront no matter how big or small, it ensures that we can’t hide from them, that we face these feelings head on.

I think that’s why I like wordpress so much. It’s provided me a place to rant where people accept and appreciate what I have to say.

I believe in ranting and I appreciate others when they’re able to share their true thoughts and their truth with me. It should also be noted that you can rant without being mean. As long as they’re constructive about it, I love listening to people rant. I think ranting is extremely helpful for one’s mental health.

Rant away, I say.


PS. I went to the doctor this afternoon and he told me I’m suffering from a migraine. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments last night that included suggestions about things to do to deal with pain. Presently trying to lay low. Hoping to be back to my normal self soon.


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On ‘the picture of perfect health’.

So, today I was at the grocery store with a friend of mine and she stopped in pharmacy section and picked up a pretty popular diet pill I’ve previously seen promoted by the Kardashian’s on Instagram. Naturally, this started a conversation between us and she told me she’s been taking this supplement for years. This baffled me.

This is obviously my opinion but, diet culture is a monster that preys on the naive, insecure and those lacking confidence in themselves. It worships thinness and equates health to mortal virtue, oppressing people who don’t meet these standards of what ‘the picture of perfect health’ is supposed to be. It’s quite literally an industry that capitalizes on one’s fears and insecurities.

Societal standards are such that… if you’re thin, you’re healthy. It doesn’t take into consideration body-type, it doesn’t take into consideration height, bone density, genetics (because yes, genetics play a big role in it as well), or any of the things that play a role in true health, it just believes that if you are skinny, you are healthy and that is the ideal.

The thing is, there is no picture of perfect health. Why? Because health isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can be thin and be unhealthy. You can be thick and be perfectly healthy. You can be a professional athlete and look like you’ve got an amazing body meanwhile you’re supplementing with illegal substances to make yourself look that way. I guess that’s what I wish people would take more time to understand… Being thin is not the sole and only criteria for health.

These pills that promise you can lose 30 pounds without diet and exercise, they’re lying. Actually, any substance or procedure that says you’re going to lose weight without diet and exercise is full of shit. Why? Because that’s not how our bodies work on the inside. Our bodies are fully functioning machines on the inside, they need proper diet and exercise to be fueled at their finest.

There’s a well-known Youtube personality, Dr. Mike, who explains it in a way that I think makes the most sense. Think about all of the time Doctors spend with patients trying to teach them about how to lead a healthier life, about the importance of exercise, about how they can institute these tactics in their own lives, the things they can eat to help lose weight, the things they can avoid to keep them from gaining weight. Doctors spend hundreds (if not thousands) of hours per year just trying to teach patients about how to live healthier lives. If these pills were all they’re cracked up to be, why wouldn’t they just tell patients to take these pills? Why would they waste their time trying to teach people about healthy eating and exercise? Why would they follow up? Why wouldn’t they just throw a bottle of “Diet Pill name” at you and tell you to GTFO.

Because health has nothing to do with thinness. Health is about how you treat your body, what you put into your body and making sure that you look after your mind and your soul. Health is how you feel about yourself, how you feel on the inside and how you feel you look on the outside. Health literally looks different for every single person on earth.

In summation: equating health with thinness is a mischaracterization of the true definition of health. Diet culture is big business, and in a world where money talks, can you really trust the companies pushing diet pills on you to have your best interests at heart?

When life hands you lemons…


Something happened this week that I was not expecting.

See, I’ve been afraid to tell anyone of my upcoming trip because I feared judgement for booking a plane ticket when I don’t have a steady stream of income. If there’s one thing I’m certain of in my life, it’s that the people around me can be extremely judgmental. And, though I know it comes from a place of love, it still comes… at times being really hard to deal with.

Moral of the story is that I didn’t want to be made to feel badly for doing something for myself.

I kept waiting for the right moment in which to break the news and continued to find excuses as to why it was never the right moment. As my date of departure draws closer, I knew the news needed to come out soon otherwise people would notice when I disappeared for multiple days.

Then, out of the blue, I was invited to an event this weekend. Knowing right then and there my time was up, I faced the music and admitted that I was headed on a trip. What I did not expect was the gracious and kind responses I received in acknowledgement of my trip.

They were kind. So kind. Telling me things like ‘Good for you! You deserve this’ and ‘I’m so happy that you’re doing something for yourself’. One of them even offered me money to help pay for the trip. To be honest, I was quite shaken by these responses. Happy, but shocked. I guess it goes to show though, as much as you think you might know someone, people can always surprise you.

That’s a huge weight off my back leading up to my trip. As much as I want to believe that the only opinion that matters is my own, the opinion of those that I love still plays a large role in my life. And I can now leave on Saturday knowing that the people in my life are supportive of my decision, my mom will be looked after, and the wanderlust in my soul can be fulfilled, at least for a few days.

When life hands you lemons, buy a plane ticket. Go somewhere that’ll make you happy, that’ll make you smile and that’ll set your soul on fire. You deserve it, damn it. Take advantage of the here and now and just go.

Smooth transition into a new topic:

On the recommendation from followers on this blog, I purchased some Apple Cider Vinegar last week in hopes that it would help with my adult acne. Though I’ve only been taking it for one week now, I have to say that I have noticed a difference in my skin. My acne has always been the large painful, red, blotchy sores around my lips/lower cheeks and chin area. Over the past week these spots have transitioned into much smaller, less swollen spots on my face. It’s not gone, no. The spots will be there for a long time, I am sure. But it’s nice to see some improvement in my skin. It makes me feel better about my appearance, even just in the small changes happening.

So, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for leaving a comment, thank you for being kind and thoughtful and helpful.

Day 34: You are what you eat.

Photo Credit: Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education at University of Toronto

Shy of the basics (eat 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, drink lots of water, etc…) I knew next to nothing about nutrition. Honestly, I just was someone who tended to eat what I wanted, even when I knew it wasn’t good for me.

I’ve always been a firm believer that you food should make you happy. Believing that food that was good for the body and food that was good for the soul were mutually exclusive, I avoided learning more about nutrition telling myself that I was feeding my soul instead.

The past six months I’ve learned a lot about nutrition. Despite what I previously believed, you can feed your body in a means that will allow it to run at max capacity without totally hating what you’re eating.

There’s no secret formula for this. There’s no ‘quick fix’ and there’s definitely no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution when it comes to nutrition. It’s all about you, what you need to fuel your body and what you can eat to make yourself feel good.

Sure, the basics still apply: drink lots of water, eat a ton of vegetables, protein is good. But there’s much more too it than that.

Some basic suggestions when it comes to nutrition:

**Please be advised these are entirely my own opinions. If you disagree with them that is completely okay. As mentioned above, one size fits all is not realistic when it comes to nutrition and it’s perfectly normal for people to have differing opinions. I welcome any suggestions anyone wants to share.

  • Know what your purpose is with food. Are you eating for performance? Are you eating for survival? Are you eating for weight loss? What are your goals as far as your diet?
  • No one is going to know your body better than you are so ensure you’re properly educating yourself on what you need to achieve your own goals.
  • Make informed decisions. Don’t think that because your friend is having success on their diet plan that it’s going to work for you.
  • Protein is VERY IMPORTANT. Protein is a component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue. It’s an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. And remember that not all proteins are created equal. Do your research when it comes to what protein will best suit your body and diet plan.
  • The less processed, the better. Whole foods will always bring more value to your body than processed food. That being said, be your own chef. For example: instead of buying the pre-packaged oatmeal with sweeteners and artificial flavours already in it – buy plain oats and sweeten them yourself. If you know what goes into your food you know what you’ll get out of your food.
  • Educate yourself on what the benefits are of the food you’re eating. Kale is a superfood, but why? Learn what the benefits are of the food you’re choosing to eat.
  • Try to skip the caffeine at night. Your sleep will thank you.
  • Learn where you have a food intolerance. Pay attention to your body and how it reacts to what you’re eating. This is something that I’ve been avoiding for the better majority of my life, but when I stopped to take a look at how my body reacted to different foods, it made a world of difference to cut certain things out. There’s more than just lactose intolerance out there. People can have an intolerance to all sorts of different foods and if you don’t pay attention you may never realize it.
  • Keep a food journal! This helps in big ways if you’re really trying to make a difference in your health and what you’re eating. Listing the foods you eat on each day and how your body reacted to it will help you better plan your meals for future.

Anyways, I’m not an expert by any means. Just a girl trying to get more out of life and feel more energized day-to-day. Being more informed about my food choices has opened up a world that I didn’t quite know existed up until last year.

Food plays a massive role in who you are and how you function. I’ve been learning that in a big way the past six months. Here’s to a healthier me in 2019.