You know when you tell people you're a vegan and they're like... but protein and iron and B12?!!?! They suddenly go into a panic about things they never would've care about otherwise. I've always prided myself as a vegan who knows how to eat right, and I do love to brag that my protein levels are usually higher than most omnis, I'm like LET'S COMPARE BLOOD WORK! However, my body, as expected, does not like me, and in an ironic twist, developed an autoimmune disorder called Pernicious Anemia. Due to a lack of protein called intrinsic factor that my body thinks is bad and my immune system fights off, causes me to be unable to absorb B12 through my food. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?
So, what's the deal with it? The who, what, when, where, why, how? I'm going to keep this as simple as possible. I was the kid reading medical dictionaries, because clearly I was pretty cool. I'm not a doctor, but I'm just sharing my knowledge and experience. PSA: if you think you have a medical problem, see your doctor. I love my doctor so much, I wish I could just hang out with him on the weekends.
Who: There are a lot of factors, like: age, diet, family history, ethnic background, etc... For me, it was already having one autoimmune disease. Once you have one, you're more likely to develop another one.
What: Basically, having Pernicious Anemia means that my autoimmune system likes to attack healthy cells, like the ones that create the protein intrinsic factor, which is necessary to absorb B12 in the stomach. It binds to it, so less intrinsic factor, less B12 absorption.
When: Whenever really. As I previously stated, age does play a factor, but there is no set time table when it comes to this.
Where: Your belly mostly, but the symptoms can impact many facets of your life. Fatigue, headaches, dizziness, cold hands and feet, and chest pains happen in general with anemia. Specifically, with B12 deficiencies, you can add nerve damage, depression, memory loss, nausea and other stomach related issues, and oddly a smooth, thick, and red tongue. Please remember: this does not apply to everyone. For me, I just knew there was something else going on. I was more tired than usual, really dizzy, my brain was constantly in a fog, and I just felt off. The depression could've been literally anything, but I have that too.
Why: I call it being unlucky, but risk factors can help answer the why better.
How: I manage mine with vegan B12 supplements (see below) I take sublingually, 1x a day in the morning. Shots were considered, and still are, depending upon how I do with the B12. It's been about 5 months now since I've been diagnosed with it. I get blood work every 3-6 months, for all of my many health problems, and they check my B12 as part of it. I encourage everyone, even if you hate blood work, to not only suck it up and do it, but also tell your doctor you want to have everything checked; B vitamins, Vitamin D, thyroid, everything. Be your own healthcare advocate! Only you know how you feel! You may have to pay extra for some tests, and they may come up negative, but it's better to pay for peace of mind; that's my motto!
I love DEVA brand, I take them for my regular multivitamin as well. I get this 90 day supply from Amazon for like $9 maybe?
Remember, I am not a doctor, just a Google MD as I refer to myself. Please see your doctor if you have any medical concerns. This post is just to inform and share my experience, and is not intended to diagnose anyone!