A Three-Dollar Bottle of Life
What if you were told that a $3 bottle of liquid could make the difference between a major flare-up and a mild symptom — between a very bad day and a manageable one?
This was exactly what my doctor discovered a few years into my struggle with fibromyalgia. Before diagnosis, I had been tested for everything imaginable: MS, lupus, brain tumor (due to the constant migraines), rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, cancer, and the list goes on.
Through research, my physician stumbled upon the link between B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia. I had been diagnosed with fibro, with peripheral neuropathy and migraine, but no one had been able to connect the dots and each day I grew worse. The hidden culprit of B12 was hard to detect because in the standard blood tests, my levels were mostly in the normal range.
Fortunately, I had a caring doctor who wouldn’t rest until he got to the bottom of my debilitating issues.
The Roles Vitamins Play
Different vitamins play different roles in our body and overall health, and it has been proven that those who deal with the many symptoms of fibromyalgia tend to be deficient in one, and often more than one, of the essential vitamins — namely B12, folate, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 seems to be the most notable one in that it plays a significant role in the formation of red blood cells, in the health of your central nervous system, and it aids in the function of your metabolism. Vitamin B12 is water soluble, meaning your body doesn't store it in reserves, so you need to take it in regularly.
B12 is found in animal products such as milk, meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Protein foods such as tuna, steak, chicken, yogurt and fortified cereals are good nutritional sources.
Vegetarians and those who don't consume B12-rich foods can get B12 from vitamin supplements. Since the problem with vitamin levels in the body of a person suffering from fibro lies in difficulty of absorption into the proper places of the body, the vitamin in pill form is most often not adequate enough to supply the necessary levels.
For this reason, many doctors prescribe the vitamin as an injection to absorb into the blood stream rather than being flushed out.
My personal experience was that above and beyond the standard mal-absorption of B12, I have a rare antibody that totally rejects it.
This is why there were false readings that reflected a normal level when my body was depleted, or at the very least not using what was coming into my body. Without B12 functioning properly, a patient is in danger of serious health consequences.
B12 and the other family of B vitamins — most notably folate — are often prescribed for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Researchers believe these nutrients aid in several nerve-related disorders, including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some research has proven that those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia were actually just severely deficient of B12 and once they were given high doses over a long period of time, their memory began to improve again. The typical chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patient also suffers from symptoms that are distinctly neurological, such as numbness and tingling in extremities, memory loss and balance disorders.
Aside from the other functions previously listed concerning B12, the vitamin also protects myelin, the protective coating around nerves. Deficiencies can cause anemia and irreversible nerve damage; this is something that I personally experienced because the deficiency was undetected for over 16 months.
Without B12, the myelin sheath around the nerves begins to erode, leaving them exposed. The best way I was able to explain the sensation and pain I felt during the worst of this deterioration was having electrical cords inside my body without the rubber coating and electricity firing through my nerves shocking my system.