'I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency four years ago - my feet still keep me up at night'

Composite images of man with his head in hands and a foot

A man still reports burning feet four years after his B12 deficiency diagnosis

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Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 20/03/2024

- 17:39

Updated: 20/03/2024

- 17:42

Many people are caught in the grip of B12 deficiency with no obvious end in sight

A man suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency has revealed he's still fighting symptoms four years after his diagnosis.

His story is a familiar one: an alarming number of people report being left in the dark as their condition takes a turn for the worse.

Joe was diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency in 2019. He never got proper treatment and four years later he was suffering from extreme brain fog, cognitive impairment and balance problems.

But it was his feet that were causing him the most grief.

"I'm trying to go to sleep right now and I just can't because of how much my feet are burning," he told Mayo Clinic Connect last year.

He added: "I've injected for two weeks now but have not seen any improvement yet."

Woman holding her foot

B12 deficiency can cause numbness, tingling and burning in the feet

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Another B12 deficiency sufferer expressed a similar complaint and the lack of effective treatment intervention for it.

"I was first diagnosed with B12 deficiency years ago, quite severe, after developing numbness in my feet and legs, tingling, and neuropathy in my hands as well," she told Mayo Clinic Connect.

Her condition rapidly deteriorated. She started experiencing nerve pain in her legs and was becoming weak.

Elizabeth now takes B12 supplements and gets B12 injections every two weeks.

​What is vitamin B12 deficiency and how is it treated?

Vitamin B12 deficiency means your body is not getting enough vitamin B12, which supports the formation of red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and other important processes.

The deficiency occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly.

Pernicious anaemia is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK.

The autoimmune condition causes your immune system to attack the cells in your stomach that produce intrinsic factor - a substance secreted by the stomach that enables your body to absorb vitamin B12.

Vaccine being injected

Most people can be easily treated with B12 injections or tablets, claims the NHS


The treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency depends on what's causing the condition. Most people can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins.

At first, you'll have these injections every other day for two weeks or until your symptoms have started improving, explains the NHS.

After this initial period, your treatment will depend on whether the cause of your vitamin B12 deficiency is related to your diet or whether the deficiency is causing any neurological problems, such as problems with thinking, memory and behaviour, the health body says.

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