Pyschotherapist warns that despair, depression and lethargy could be due to Vitamin B12 deficiency
Psychotherapist Terence Watts is campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of B12 checks for the over 60’s having suffered a terrifying illness himself. He is particularly waring of the need for senior citizens to have blood tests to check their B12 levels.
Following a frightening period of serious ill-health Terence was left convinced that he was dying and subsequent research into the importance of B12 to life has prompted him to share his story: “Three years ago I started suffering from mild anxiety and sleeping problems which I blamed on work-related stress. Then in April this year I suffered the most severe flu-like infection that led to weight loss, extreme lethargy, depression and acute despair. I was certain that I was seriously ill and not long for this world"..
He goes on to say, “I had a health check which included a specialised blood test for seniors which showed that my B12 levels were low. My doctor prescribed B12 injections and I started on a mega dose supplement. The change was nothing short of astounding. Within a few days I felt better than I had in years.”
When Terence researched the subject he was horrified to discover that most people know nothing of the ravages to general health that a lack of B12 can cause. Since it is not the first thing that a doctor considers the symptoms often get misdiagnosed...sometimes as serious conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and even Multiple Sclerosis.
B12 is derived from meat, fish and dairy products but as we get older some of us are unable to absorb the amount we need for good health. And taking a B12 complex won’t stave it off either because if you have absorption problems you need either injections or ‘mega dose’ pills.
Terence continues, “B12 deficiency creeps up on us insidiously over a period of months, sometimes years, so you don’t really notice it until the store runs dry and that is when you start to feel ill. Left untreated it can lead to pernicious anaemia, even paralysis and irreversible brain damage.”
The symptoms of deficiency are many and varied and include lethargy, depression, anxiety, insomnia, sore tongue and month, cracked and dry lips, nausea, tingling in the hands and feet, light-headedness and balance problems, mental confusion and memory problems, weight loss, diarrhoea and constipation.
Terence, who is now on a personal crusade advises, “If you have been feeling out of sorts and you are over 60 (although a B12 deficiency can affect young people too), a visit to the doctor with a request to have a specific blood test (it doesn’t show up on a standard blood screening) to check your B12 levels is absolutely imperative in your senior years.”