An 80-year-old gentleman, remarkably fit and active with B12 deficiency

Background

An 80-year-old gentleman, remarkably fit and active, sought acupuncture treatments primarily for rebalancing rather than for specific health issues. Over time, he began experiencing symptoms such as low energy, stress, skin discoloration, poor sleep, and blurred vision. Despite these symptoms, he continued to be active and worked part-time in a self-employed capacity.

Initial Observations and Actions

The client’s sudden drop in energy levels was particularly concerning, prompting further inquiry. Suspecting a potential underlying issue, I recommended he visit his GP to request a blood test, including a vitamin B12 level check.

Diagnostic Results

The blood test revealed that his B12 levels were below the acceptable range set by his GP clinic (51-128 pmol/l), with his result being 50 pmol/l. This indicated a clear need for vitamin B12 supplementation.

Understanding Blood Test Results

When a GP receives blood test results, any out-of-range biomarkers are highlighted in red and marked with an exclamation point for easy identification. While many patients now access their results through the NHS App or their doctor’s surgery app, a printed copy can still be useful for those less familiar with digital tools.

Importance of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining energy levels and overall health. A deficiency can lead to significant symptoms even if levels are technically within the ‘normal’ range but on the lower side. Some experts suggest supplementation if B12 levels are below the midpoint of the normal range to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Addressing B12 Deficiency

  • In-Range but Low B12: Patients may still experience symptoms despite being within the normal range but at the lower end. Supplementation can be beneficial in such cases.
  • Excessive B12: Over-supplementation can cause issues too with symptoms such as fatigue, emotional instability, and poor sleep experienced. As vitamin B12 is water-soluble, increasing water intake can help flush out the excess.

Recommendations for Monitoring B12 Levels

Regular monitoring and maintaining balanced B12 levels are essential. If experiencing symptoms or if B12 levels are low or too high, consult a healthcare professional for guidance on appropriate supplementation and lifestyle adjustments.

For more detailed information on vitamin B12 deficiency and management, consider reading the recommended book by doctors specialising in this field [Link to B12 Book].

By staying informed and proactive about vitamin B12 levels, individuals can maintain their health and well-being, particularly as they age.

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