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Worried about symptoms

Hello All:

I have had pins and needles in my hands and feet for a week now.  It started out fairly mildly, and has progressed to some numbness and also "electric" shock sensations in my arms and legs as well now.  I have seen my family doctor who has referred me to a neurologist, but because I live in Canada, there seem to be long waiting lists, so I'm not sure how long I am looking at before I get some answers.  

My doc ran blood work that came back with low vitamin B12 (185).  So, I am taking supplements.  Of course, I am very concerned that this could be MS.  I haven't noticed any other very apparent symptoms, but of course I am watching very closely, so I might be overimagining some things.

Any info would be appreciated.

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Avatar universal
Welcome Shamps. Glad to have you. Strange symptoms occuring symmetrically in both arms and both legs are not likely to be MS. It would be very rare to have lesions causing this sort of thing all at once.

Low B12 is notorious for causing just what you describe, and so is diabetes. Those are the problems I'd be looking at primarily.

I hope you will keep seeing your GP and having him test for all such possibilities. Good luck to you.


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1453990 tn?1329231426
Low B12 is often blamed for neurologic symptoms, such as impaired perception of deep touch, pressure and vibration, abolishment of sense of touch, annoying and persistent paresthesias, ataxia of dorsal spinal cord (altered sensory perceptions with normal motor functions,) decrease or abolishment of deep muscle-tendon reflexes, and the development of abnormal reflexes (Babinski Sign.)  It is also associated with  fatigue, depression, poor memory, mania and psychosis.  In truth, the damage is caused by an excessively high  Methyl Malonic Acid (MMA)  level.  MMA is a know myelin destabilizer.  A lack of B12 and Folate prevents a biochemical process in the body and increased MMA levels prevent the formation of essential fatty acids.  This effects the production of healthy myelin.   Anyone with a low B12 should have there MMA level tested.  Low B12 with High MMA has clinical significance.  Low B12 with low MMA is considered to have low correlation with nervous systems damage.

These are similar to the "sensory" symptoms of MS, but MS has additional symptoms (ataxia, balance issues, Optic Neuritis, tremors, spasticity, hyper-refexia, more specific cognitive changes - like aphasia, etc.) A study out of Israel indicates that oral and sublingual administration of B12 is pretty effective and for over 80% of the population, shots are not required.   The study also links low B12 with vegetarianism.  

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1453990 tn?1329231426
To simplify the answer a bit, Low B12 doesn't cause problems or damage nerves.
I know this is not what you have heard in this forum, but that is the medical truth.  Low B12 and/or low folate levels with HIGH METHYLMALONIC ACID (MMA) levels (Normal values are 0.08 to 0.56 micromoles per liter,) so greater than 0.56 micromoles per liter, will prevent the formation of healthy myelin.  This set up the body to produce fragile myelin and interferes with the normal remylenation that should be happening in the nervous system.  The high MMA is the bad guy and cause here.

Low B12 levels are a sign that your provider should:  Draw MMA and Folate levels and get your B12 back up.  A low B12 alone is not enough to say that your neurologic symptoms are CAUSED by a low B12.  

If your B12 is low AND your MMA is low, that RULES OUT  B12 as a neurologic cause for symptoms.  A high MMA and low B12 supports low B12 as a culprit causing the MMA to rise.  This would indicate that low B12 consumption or B12 metabolism is a potential cause of the neurologic symptoms.

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