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LadyCyclist87

B12 Supplement vs ADHD Medication?

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Hey everyone,

Just want to say again that I love coming on this forum...feel like I learn something new every time I visit here, and I've been visiting this site a lot more lately. I've realized a lot of things about myself, but there's also puzzle pieces I'm still trying to put together here.

One of my bigger concerns right now is that I am almost positive that I have ADHD (family and close friends have also recommended that I get tested for it and get it ruled out, and I score nearly a 100% on all those self-evaluation quizzes online). So I'm very tempted to visit my PCP and get a prescription for a med that will help me focus more (and settle down a bit).

But I've also heard about the B12 supplements...how that will help individuals who are "borderline low". It's hard b/c I fee like I have those symptoms too (yes, I am eating gluten-free). I've seen a lot of posts from various members on this forum about the usefulness of B12 vitamins in ultimately resolving brain fog, inability to concentrate, etc.

So, here's my question: Do the B12 vitamins help with a brain fog that's constant? Because I actually don't have that constant feeling; I feel that for me it's more intermittent and that it happens sometimes when I don't always expect it. I"m beginning to learn what my triggers are, but I just can't pick up on a set pattern of WHEN it's exactly going to happen. Would a B12 supplement be useful for someone who only has intermittent, unexpected brain fog? Or would taking a long-term medication be better for my body? The gluten-free diet isn't enough; I have so many other intolerances too, and I really can't afford to be getting brain fog episodes at this time in my life anymore.

And would the B12 be enough to calm down my racing thoughts or jumping up every 2 minutes to do/get something that crosses my mind just to forget the purpose of what I was doing...? UGH!! I've always had a hard time focusing and concentrating but I've never been one to be really anxious/jumpy/have bad mood swings until recently.

Sorry for the long post, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!!

~ LadyC

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Hi

Have you been tested to see what your B12 levels are? It's important to find this out as very low levels can cause neurological damage, and if you are low a single B12 injection can make a profound difference to how you feel. Find out your actual level as well, here in Australia the minimum level is set at 150, but I start feeling ill when I am below 300.

I have been B12 deficient quite frequently in the last couple of years, and so am very familiar with how it effects me. When I am low the brain fog is intermittent, usually kicking in about mid morning, but it can come and go. For me it caused a general weird feeling as well, like I was falling all the time. I was quite dizzy and out of it, and my appetite pretty much disappeared. It also made me emotionally erratic, very up and down, easily upset and crying for nothing. After a B12 shot this can all disappear within a day (I am now using sublingual B12 instead of injections).

Overall I would say it is worth trying the B12 for a month or two to see if it helps with your brain fog. It has never made me feel like jumping around and doing things, but everyone is different. Also, as far as I know taking B12 doesn't cause any side effects, whereas ADHD medication can.

Sophie

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I would try the sublingual B12 first. As long as you are not taking massive doses of it for a long time there would be no side effects.

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Going on ADHD meds felt good to me for about 13months. I was a machine. Opened 3 businesses and kept up with so many things and thought all my probs were gone. UNTIL, my B12 went so low I went to 3 states trying to find out what was wrong with me becuase the symptoms were coming above the ritalin. They kept adding to my dose every time I complained and I just kept ignoring the b12 problem. COMING OFF adhd meds is the worst experience ever. I was making final plans as I felt the heart arythmia and anxiety and panic that even high doses of Ativan couldnt help. It just creates one problem after another and then you go crazy trying to figure out the difference of side effects, or withdrawal syndrome. Its a dangerous decision when you choose to ignore what your body is telling you that you need. The B12 shots should be your best try because you may not respond to oral tabs and then just give up on your b12 hunch. I cannot tell you how much b12 has changed my life. I felt like I had split personality without it. I wish someone would have told me several thousand dollars ago how b12 can turn things around. Please take your b12 even if you do decide to go on methylamphetamines. (yeah, thats what it is. legal meth). I pass all the tests for ADHD too but after few weeks of b12 therapy, I don't test the same and cannot believe how ridiculous the ADHD questionarre really is. I hope you feel good and pay attention to your other vitamins and this may sound crazy but a liter or two of pedialyte with a b12 shot everyday is the best cocktail and cheapest way to go without worrying whats going to happen if you go off your meds or do something crazy while zipped up on the adhd med. If you have to do it, be very educated and prepared for the consequences of long term use or withdrawals you will eventually go through at some point. It will not get you by forever if your body needs something.....I can truly testify I wish I would have never relied on ADHD meds or an occassional pain pill for cramps. It was total ignorance on my part.

I will pray for you to be well and just don't overthink your brain-fog. Get the b12 shot daily or weekly at least 2weeks before making that decision. Its a tough one.

Also, consider reactive hypoglycemia. Eat at the same time everyday and start challenging your food and journal what you eat and how you feel everyhour after your meal. High carbs make me act like an animal and ashamed of myself.

-Trisha in Kentucky

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Hi Trisha,

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have a son(11yrs old) who has an ADHD DX. It's hard because he can't explain how he feels and he's never felt differently so his view of normal is a bit off, so I appreciate it when people like yourself share. He has not been on meds because he was born with one kidney and all the meds. have warnings on them. That has been our decision but no one-not even the docs-support it. They don't get how serious the consequences could be!

I had hoped that taking him off gluten we could see a significant improvement. We have with some things but not with the ADHD. He is still quite fidgety and off task alot and too silly-attention getting at times. Talks too much. I wonder if he has "bouncy blood sugar" and would love to test him with my meter. I have diabetes. So I thought you comments about the carbs and what affect they have on you was very interesting. I'm wanting to switch his diet more towards protein and less towards carbs. It's tough to make some of these changes without sufficient proof to motivate us. Dietary experiments get tiresome. Maybe we'll have to do a low-carb diet experiment trial like we did with gluten last year! I successfully manage diabetes with a very low-carb diet. I am thinking that I would like to find a naturopath or someone outside the mainstream who could do some tests and help us look for more pieces to the puzzle. I see you are from Kentuky. Do you know any good medical resources there ADHD etc.?

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Hi Trisha,

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have a son(11yrs old) who has an ADHD DX. It's hard because he can't explain how he feels and he's never felt differently so his view of normal is a bit off, so I appreciate it when people like yourself share. He has not been on meds because he was born with one kidney and all the meds. have warnings on them. That has been our decision but no one-not even the docs-support it. They don't get how serious the consequences could be!

I had hoped that taking him off gluten we could see a significant improvement. We have with some things but not with the ADHD. He is still quite fidgety and off task alot and too silly-attention getting at times. Talks too much. I wonder if he has "bouncy blood sugar" and would love to test him with my meter. I have diabetes. So I thought you comments about the carbs and what affect they have on you was very interesting. I'm wanting to switch his diet more towards protein and less towards carbs. It's tough to make some of these changes without sufficient proof to motivate us. Dietary experiments get tiresome. Maybe we'll have to do a low-carb diet experiment trial like we did with gluten last year! I successfully manage diabetes with a very low-carb diet. I am thinking that I would like to find a naturopath or someone outside the mainstream who could do some tests and help us look for more pieces to the puzzle. I see you are from Kentuky. Do you know any good medical resources there ADHD etc.?

Have you limited his sulfites/sulfates? Those can cause problems, too.

Also, I have a 14 yr. old boy--and well, at that age, they are just loud and talkative. But we have limited his sulfites/sulfates becuase we noticed he has similar neuro problems with those as he did with gluten. And this year, his report card has all A's (this is the year right after the 7th grade from He** ) He only takes water for lunch and he only has that or oolong tea with his other meals.

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Symptoms of B12 deficiency include:

BRAIN FOG

dizziness

headache

tinnitus

hearing loss

In this country, they tell you your B12 serum levels are fine if above 200. Japan has a lower limit, however, of 650, and treats anything under that. Japan also has the lowest rate of Alzheimer's (also linked with B12 deficiency) in the developed world.

Some things that might put you at high risk for B12 deficiency:

Vegan diet

Diet with no red meat

long-term use of acid blockers like Prilosec

malnutrition/leaky gut (hello, Celiacs!)

intrinsic factor deficiency (which does NOT show up on standard B12 tests, so you may have decent serum levels, but your body may be unable to properly process the B12 in your system).

For more information, you can check out www dot pernicious-anaemiasociety dot org.

As for ADD/ADHD meds, the only thing I've seen that was compelling was a book (I can't remember the name!) by a psychiatrist who used PET scans of the brain to determine which area of which lobe wasn't working correctly, and was able to then prescribe the appropriate medication based on that information. Most doctors, though, simply guess, and it's hit or miss. They also seem to say, over and over, that they don't know WHY stimulants help ADD/ADHD.

It's also important to realize that ADD/ADHD is currently considered to be part of the autism spectrum. A large percentage of autistic children have issues with both gluten and casein, vitamin deficiencies (even on a Gluten-free Casein-free diet), and have other issues as well, such as mitochondrial dysfunction.

The blood sugar issue is a good point. My 14-year-old, who is not the least bit fat, discovered on his own that he is a total space case all afternoon at school if he has gluten-free sandwiches and fruit juice for lunch, but is fine if he has salad. He was diagnosed with Autism at age 3, but lost the diagnosis at school. He is also gluten-free.

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I didn't see you reply Fiddle Faddle until just now but it's timely. I have a bottle of subllingual B12 in my cabinet that I'm looking at alot lately. I've been having trouble with focus and memory lately again and it really bugs me. It seems more pronounced in the a.m. and seems to get better as the day goes on. I have very limited carbs, by necessity, at breakfast and not as much fat, by accident, as at other times of the day. I just feel like my body is out of balance or not getting what it needs to run in the a.m. Not gluten related. I keep wondering what's up. I eat alot of meat these days but mostly poultry, pork and fish. Just a bit of beef once in a while, unless you count all-beef franks-Do they count as red meat? :huh::lol: I get a variety of foods even on this limited diet I'm on but it can take a while to rotate around and I often eat the same things days in a row. On such a limited diet(no grains, no starchy veg. very low-carb, no dairy or eggs for the most part) and maintaining such a delicate balance it seems very possible something's missing or out of balance. I don't take a multi-vitamin. I need to post about this memory/focus issue separately elsewere too. Maybe B12 homework for both kiddo and I.

"In this country, they tell you your B12 serum levels are fine if above 200. Japan has a lower limit, however, of 650, and treats anything under that. Japan also has the lowest rate of Alzheimer's (also linked with B12 deficiency) in the developed world."

That's interesting.

"As for ADD/ADHD meds, the only thing I've seen that was compelling was a book (I can't remember the name!) by a psychiatrist who used PET scans of the brain to determine which area of which lobe wasn't working correctly, and was able to then prescribe the appropriate medication based on that information. Most doctors, though, simply guess, and it's hit or miss. They also seem to say, over and over, that they don't know WHY stimulants help ADD/ADHD."

I've hear those last two lines many times. They also ALL say that meds are a LAST resort, yet they make no effort whatsoever to investigate or try anything else.

"It's also important to realize that ADD/ADHD is currently considered to be part of the autism spectrum. A large percentage of autistic children have issues with both gluten and casein, vitamin deficiencies (even on a Gluten-free Casein-free diet), and have other issues as well, such as mitochondrial dysfunction."

I was researching Dr.s who specialize in autistic patients recently to see if there are any in our area and thinking about taking kiddo to see one. Maybe they would be more open to testing for these other things or using different tests. Kiddo's ped., while I like her, doesn't vary from the norm.

"The blood sugar issue is a good point. My 14-year-old, who is not the least bit fat, discovered on his own that he is a total space case all afternoon at school if he has gluten-free sandwiches and fruit juice for lunch, but is fine if he has salad. He was diagnosed with Autism at age 3, but lost the diagnosis at school. He is also gluten-free."

Someone in our local celiac disease support group also said that their son at 14 yrs. old finally articulated and started to realize for himself the connection between gluten and how he feels when he ingests it. I'm really hoping that when kiddo reaches that age he will also reach that stage of awareness of how various things affect him. As for the blood sugar, I had some awareness very early too. I stopped drinking pop, especially Coke, when I was quite young-jr, high or earlier, because I had to pee litterally every 5 min. for the next hr. after drinking it and it wasn't worth it. I diluted my juice with water too, for more years than I can remember now, because I didn't feel good a drinking a whole glass straight up. While there is a connection with blood sugar and obesity, and it needs to be addressed, we also have to get beyond that realize that anyone can have a problem, especially given the SAD. I've always been thin.

I've been thinking about kiddo and casein too but will save that for another post elsewhere.

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I haven't been active on this forum in a while, but I have read all of the responses -- thank you. I finally got an appt to see my PCP and I told her about my intermittent brain fog, inability to concentrate/focus, and the bad mood swings. She didn't even bring up ADHD; she ordered blood tests to check on my thyroid, CBC, iron level, B12, etc. I'm going in tomorrow morning and just hoping for the best. Maybe these lab tests can finally tell me something, and I can start to work on getting better...

The blood sugar topic IS a very good point. In fact, I think I was around 13-14 when I stopped taking lunches to school (all I would take is juice or water) because food tired me out and I wanted to concentrate/stay awake in class. When I was a little older and wiser, I did start taking food to eat for lunch, but they were fruits, small snacks, etc. Never a meal that included carbohydrates or a lot of sugar.

The SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) is something I've always wanted to do more research on. I have to take a look at the sites. Maybe when my head will cooperate with me more I'll be able to. In the meanwhile, I have to save what cognitive ability I have left for my volumes of reading/studying for my nursing courses.

But again, thank you!! I'll post on how everything goes in case other members may be curious.

- LadyCyclist

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Ladycyclist,

It sounds like you're on a good path. Glad the doc is being helpful. Hope you find some answers. Do let us know how it goes.

I'm honestly so suprized to hear all the stories of people making similar connections with foods at young ages!

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I know it's been a while since this forum was brought up, but I did get the blood results back. Surprisingly, everything was normal with a slight deficiency in my Vitamin D. I did read that it may be associated with some cognitive impairment (brain fog, memory loss), but that doesn't explain my mood swings or just generally feeling tired a lot of the time.

Do you think that it would really be that much of a harm to try the B12 supplement even though my levels are supposedly normal? I'd just try the sublingual tabs, not going in for shots every month. It might make a difference, or it might not. But even though my labs are "normal", I've always had trouble with on-and-off anemia.

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I always find that when I visit this site I feel less alone. Many of us have experienced similar "effects/affects" :rolleyes: that the general populations don't.

Trying to find out why we feel like we do and how to make ourselves feel better is not a 1 size fits all kind of moment.

Like many I have been working my way toward a healthier life style. Many of the experiences I read about sound just like mine. We may go about the diagnosis differently. Each visiting different doctors with different test but we seem to end up in the same general area.

B12 is a major component is feeling better. I never understood this until recently. I am excited to say that my levels are in the 600 (still taking oral but no more shots!) it took a while to get there considering I started out at 189.

I strongly urge everyone to make sure they have a PCP that will listen to them. And is not afraid to "send you off to a specialist" mine has and between the Neurologist, Gastroenterologist and the allergist I am feeling better. We are finishing up a few more tests and hope to have a better understanding of my brain fog! The worst part is although they are doctors what they tell you is their opinion! Depression is the easy answer as is ADHD don't let them pigeon hole you...take the time to run the test, go to see the other doctors listen and ask questions.

Checking things out on the Web helps too!

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Wish there was more of this info when I was little! I just found out that this has been my problem for my whole life! These kids are super lucky to have great Mom's like you all!

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I know how vitamin b12 deficiency can affect the organism, I also had to take B12 some years ago, took a long time until the deficiency was diagnosed. My little nephew is suffering form ADHD and he has to take Ritalin pills and you can really see a big difference in his behavior depending on the Ritalin. You can easily notice when the Ritalin loses its effect and he starts to get nervous and bumpy. It's really tough when you're well-being is so highly related to a certain medication.

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I strongly recommend a sublingual methylcobalamin form of B12, in a lozenge/tablet, NOT liquid. 3-5mg daily can make all the difference in the world, however, it may take time depending on how low your levels really are. Also, never accept a test result of "normal". Get the actual numbers for everything tested. And keep in mind that B12 testing is not as accurate as it should be. Since there is no known level of overdose for B12, a supplement is safe to try.

A co-enzyme B-complex supplement can also be very helpful, as can vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Another important nutrient for neurological functioning is magnesium. It is known as the "calming mineral", and is vital for numerous bodily functions and processes. This includes the production of various brain chemicals. It also helps reinforce the blood/brain barrier, which helps keep out neurotoxins.

Last but not least, dairy is often a culprit of neurological problems, as is gluten. Avoiding both at the same time seems to be helpful to many. In fact, all the top 8 allergens may be suspect. These include wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish.

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It so interesting to see this thread come up and to re-read my post in Oct. last year! In Nov. last year we were allergy tested again with a new allergist and embarked on a plan and committment to finally managae kiddos allergies. He started shots for his environmentals-quite a load and started meds for them as well, until the shots could start to work. Also eliminated all the foods that he tested pos. 10 of them! for a 4 week time period and after that embarked on a process to re-introduce all of them one by one. Well, I just had his IEP meeting last week for this year and was shown a graph that they had made for LAST year. It was so interesting to see his progress plotted month by month. They were not made aware of the journey that we were on at the time. Around December he hit a peak and stayed up there the whole rest of the school year with just a few downward dips. That peak came just a month or so after we started that allergy management journey. Coincidence? I had heard other parents say here and read in publications that allergy discovery and management could make a big difference. Honestly, we didn't see these dramatic, obvious results ourselves. It's been more subtle over time but we have some evidence now as I mentioned. Around that time too, all his teachers mentioned noticing an improvement and commenting and they weren't the ones making that graph. Now, we are dealing with his latex allergy and I ran into a mom that said her kid diplays ADHD behavior(he may have even had a DX) when he is exposed, even on a tiny level. He gets this "I gotta get out of here" antsy, not comfortable in his own skin feeling. Some of these things I have a hard time imagining because I haven't experienced them but my experiences with gluten make me have to believe that it's possible and can't be dismissed. We still are doing no meds and no supplements. The allergy shots have been worth all the time and money. They seem to be kicking in and he can cut them in half and has been able to reduce his meds alot and his eczema has been staying away(due to both food and environmental management). Nice beautiful smooth skin!

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I would second the Omega 3. It has helped many I know. But you need a kind that actually tells the individual amount of DHA and EPA not the combined amount. I can't remember which number is more important EPA or DHA for ADHD. It may be neccessary to take very high doses and wean down to 2-3 tabs a day. My hubby even skips days and is okay, but obviously better when taking consistantly. Ginko, B vits, Vit D and C are the others he takes regularly. His Dr. told him Fish Oil was a joke until my hubby stopped taking poisonously high doses of his meds and started FIsh OIl instead. The Dr. said the upped doses were working and hubby said no, I quit that stuff and have been taking only Fish Oil and some Ginko ever since. Then the Dr. finally admitted Fish Oil is a proven supplement to help depression, bi-polar, ADHD.

I don't feel it is always the only solution but worth trying. But you must give large doses to get the body's levels back up to normal then wean down. I think he took 6-10 a day, spaced out throughout the day depending upon the brand he was taking.

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I've been on B12 injections for a couple of years (before I realised I had other problems that were causing it (gluten) ) and honestly if I struggled to walk to the Doctors feeling near death and had the injection by the time I get home about 30 minutes later I'd be already feeling improved and by the next day I'd be like a new person. When I first got a B12 shot I honestly didn't think or feel like I was going to live more than a couple of months my health was on such a sharp decline. When I got tested my levels very low 100 something. But as soon as I got the first injection I knew that was what I needed. Then each time my stomach got bloated I knew I really needed a shot of b12. Also I don't know if this works the same for females, But you can also tell you are low if your a male when your sexual performance could perhaps be a bit more solid :) (really that's a great way to tell when you need some more b12).

It's quite amazing how much sharper in the mind you are after an injection and what you can get done before it runs out again. I would recommend it to everyone while you are getting the gluten part of the problem sorted (they seem totally related)

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