What Everyone Needs To Know About Vitamin B12 Deficiency

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Podcasts



SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.

SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present, and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_1: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax, and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Hello, Amazing Ones! Welcome, welcome, welcome!

SPEAKER_1: I hope wherever you are in this world that you are staying cool, taking good care of yourself, applying that sunscreen regularly, and finding so much joy in your summer.

SPEAKER_1: I’m super happy that you’re here today!

SPEAKER_1: I’ve said it before, and I will say it again and again and again until the proverbial cows come home.

SPEAKER_1: You are my why for She Grabs The Mic.

SPEAKER_1: Every single time that you choose to tune in, you are investing in yourself.

SPEAKER_1: You are igniting your magic, your wisdom, your growth, your potential.

SPEAKER_1: And oh my God, that is something to be celebrated.

SPEAKER_1: Well done, you!

SPEAKER_1: Again, I’m so damn glad that you’re here.

SPEAKER_1: My goal with this show is to help you live the best life that you possibly can by cultivating a mindset of possibility, learning things about your body and mind that maybe nobody’s told you before.

SPEAKER_1: And that is very true today as well.

SPEAKER_1: My goal for this episode is to raise awareness about some of the life disruptors that so many women I know, and some of the men too, are experiencing.

SPEAKER_1: Things like brain fog, weight gain, fatigue, low libido. SPEAKER_1: You know what I’m talking about.

SPEAKER_1: Changes to your hair, skin and nails.

SPEAKER_1: These symptoms are often minimized by our healthcare providers and explained as normal symptoms of things like long COVID, menopause, age, stress or nutrition.

SPEAKER_1: Far too many of us are asked to accept these symptoms as ‘normal ‘and then kind of move along.

SPEAKER_1: This is frustrating as hell.

SPEAKER_1: It is unacceptable. It will totally do a number on your mindset and really diminish the joy and the potential that you can get out of every single day of your life.

SPEAKER_1: I’m here today to do something about that.

SPEAKER_1: As we think about these symptoms, I will fully acknowledge that of course long COVID, menopause, age, stress and nutrition could be the culprits.

SPEAKER_1: They absolutely could be.
SPEAKER_1: But what about women who have never had COVID?

SPEAKER_1: What explanation is there for women in their 20’s and 30’s who are experiencing very similar things and have never gone through menopause?

SPEAKER_1: What about the men in our life who start feeling just as funky as we are?

SPEAKER_1: What about triathletes who are eating well and exercising all the time and then all of a sudden something changes?

SPEAKER_1: What if there’s another reason that’s being totally overlooked because it’s not part of a standard lab test?

SPEAKER_1: This week, we’re talking about that thing that is often overlooked, and it’s called B12.

SPEAKER_1: The one lab test everyone who is experiencing brain fog, fatigue, moodiness, and low libido should absolutely demand from their healthcare provider.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to tell you why B12 is so important for your brain and body so that you can understand why making this request is so important.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to tell you why a B12 deficiency can be the underlying cause of all of those symptoms, why so many doctors totally miss it, and why asking for this lab test is so damn important for your mind and for your body.

SPEAKER_1: I’ll help you understand all of this by sharing my own story of struggling with these symptoms and then challenging my doctors with a mindset of confidence and curiosity and persistence until I got the answer and the evidence I needed that literally saved my life.

SPEAKER_1: My story goes something like this.

SPEAKER_1: ‘Normal’ brain fog was rocking my world.

SPEAKER_1: Last year, it kind of hit a crescendo when my husband Andrew and I were at a community dinner party with a couple of hundred folks.

SPEAKER_1: As we said hello to the people at our table, Andrew was struck by this blank and confused look that came across my face as I hugged a woman that he and I both knew well.

SPEAKER_1: He could see that I was visibly shaken.

SPEAKER_1: He gently pulled me aside and he whispered in my ear, “Baby, are you okay?”

SPEAKER_1: Through tear-filled eyes and a quivering lip, I asked him, “How do I know her?”

SPEAKER_1: He was floored. He looked scared. I’ve always been known for my razor- sharp memory.

SPEAKER_1: I am the woman who remembers every person’s name, even if I heard it only one time.

SPEAKER_1: I remember the details of people’s lives. I remember weird details that make me great at Trivia.

SPEAKER_1: Yet the mystery woman that I had hugged, I didn’t recognize at all.

SPEAKER_1: And here’s the thing.

SPEAKER_1: She had just hosted us for dinner at her home a couple of weeks earlier.

SPEAKER_1: My brain fog started out as isolated spurts that became puddles and then downpours.

SPEAKER_1: Fuzzy thinking once in a while turned into me searching for a word in my memory and coming up totally empty.

SPEAKER_1: And this was happening more often, I began to notice. SPEAKER_1: My big sunshine level energy started to wane.
SPEAKER_1: I felt exhausted throughout the day, and that was not my ‘normal.’

SPEAKER_1: After journaling for years with a pen on real paper, I started having trouble making letters when I wrote.

SPEAKER_1: My “Hello sexy!” libido completely tanked.

SPEAKER_1: Something was really off inside of my body and my mind. I knew it because I know myself.

SPEAKER_1: I went home a few days later, and I sat down and recalled everything that I’ve learned about mindfulness, physiology and neuroscience in a desperate attempt to understand what was happening with me.

SPEAKER_1: Then, I made an appointment with my primary care doctor to get hard answers.

SPEAKER_1: My doctors told me that my symptoms were ‘normal.’
SPEAKER_1: My primary care brushed them off as ‘normal’ aging symptoms.
SPEAKER_1: My gynecologist said I had ‘normal’ menopause symptoms.

SPEAKER_1: Another specialist then told me very nonchalantly and quite coolly that my symptoms were ‘normal’ early symptoms of things like MS or Parkinson’s disease.

SPEAKER_1: And then, she left the room by saying, “Oh, and it could also be a brain tumor, so we should probably get an MRI.”

SPEAKER_1: I sat in her office that day, and I cried a river of tears that would not stop flowing.

SPEAKER_1: Those words were absolutely terrifying and devastating.
SPEAKER_1: I couldn’t imagine that my health had deteriorated that quickly.
SPEAKER_1: I rely on my mind for my work as a coach, a podcaster, and a writer, and a human.

SPEAKER_1: I couldn’t imagine losing a single one of my precious memories.

SPEAKER_1: I couldn’t bear the thought of my body slowly eroding, being confined to a wheelchair, or dying from something that could or could not be growing inside of my brain.

SPEAKER_1: As it turned out, the word ‘normal ‘could have cost me my life.

SPEAKER_1: A few days later, after some heavy meditation, I pulled myself together, and I decided that I could not accept my symptoms as ‘normal.’

SPEAKER_1: I didn’t have the evidence or the explanation to back it up.
SPEAKER_1: So I took matters into my own hands.
SPEAKER_1: I did some heavy research, and I found a well-respected neurologist who was outside of my network, and I made an appointment.

SPEAKER_1: When I arrived at his office, I started crying as I told him about my symptoms.

SPEAKER_1: He put his hand on my shoulder.

SPEAKER_1: He nodded reassuringly as he listened.

SPEAKER_1: Then he said, “I’d like to run my own blood work today.”

SPEAKER_1: The blood work that he ran included a test that no one else had run-Vitamin B12.

SPEAKER_1: Within 30 minutes of my very first appointment with him, he found hard evidence that explained every single one of my symptoms.

SPEAKER_1: And guess what?

SPEAKER_1: There was nothing ‘normal’ about what he discovered.

SPEAKER_1: My B12 level was 235, which he deemed “dangerously low.”

SPEAKER_1: He was shocked that my cognitive function and physical health were as good as they were, and I sat there thinking, oh my God, what are you talking about?

SPEAKER_1: This is not me.

SPEAKER_1: This is a smaller shadow version of myself.

SPEAKER_1: I couldn’t even remember where we parked the car that day.

SPEAKER_1: But then I got perspective as to why he thought I was doing as well as I was.

SPEAKER_1: He told me the story of a patient that was referred to him for follow-up care.

SPEAKER_1: This man had been diagnosed with ALS.

SPEAKER_1: He was confined to a wheelchair because his spine had become brittle and he was unable to walk.

SPEAKER_1: His speech was slurred and his memory was compromised.

SPEAKER_1: He had difficulty using any of his extremities. SPEAKER_1: My doctor did not accept the diagnosis of ALS. SPEAKER_1: Instead, he did something remarkable.

SPEAKER_1: He ran a B12 lab, a simple B12 lab, and he discovered that this man was wildly deficient.

SPEAKER_1: So he began treating him with weekly B12 injections.
SPEAKER_1: As it turns out, B12 deficiency is even more prevalent in men.
SPEAKER_1: After one year of treatment, his patient was able to walk again.

SPEAKER_1: His brain started coming back online, and his cognition improved.

SPEAKER_1: My doctor wrapped up his story by telling me that this man was one year younger than me and that my B12 levels were 10 points lower than his.

SPEAKER_1: My husband and I sat there feeling a mixture of “holy shit!” and deep gratitude that we were in the right place. That we had hard evidence. That this man could help me heal and get better.

SPEAKER_1: My doctor prescribed a weekly B12 injection, and he said I would likely need to have them for the rest of my life.

SPEAKER_1: After one shot in the arm, I was back, baby.
SPEAKER_1: My brain fog lifted, my energy started skyrocketing, and my libido improved, which makes everyone happy.

SPEAKER_1: My razor-sharp memory and my mind that I had always relied on, that I had always cherished, they came back online, too.


SPEAKER_1: I was able to hold a pen and write again.
The weekly B12 injections aren’t super fun, but I will tell you that they have absolutely saved my life.

SPEAKER_1: And here’s the reason why.
SPEAKER_1: Vitamin B12 is absolutely essential for our bodies and our minds.
SPEAKER_1: Your brain and nervous system rely on Vitamin B12 to function well and be healthy.
SPEAKER_1: Your cognition, your memory, and the health of your nerves all rely on Vitamin B12.
SPEAKER_1: This vitamin is the master creator of something called myelin that helps your nerves register every sensation in your body.

SPEAKER_1: B12 is the vitamin that creates your red blood cells and your DNA.

SPEAKER_1: It helps your skin, your nails, and your hair be healthy. SPEAKER_1: Your body needs Vitamin B12 to be energetic, alive and to feel fabulous.

SPEAKER_1: Vitamin B12 also promotes optic nerve health and eye health.

SPEAKER_1: And research studies have also linked Vitamin B12 to bone health and depression as well.

SPEAKER_1: So I asked my doctor why the other doctors I had seen had missed something that was so damn obvious to him.

SPEAKER_1: He gave me two really solid explanations that I’m going to share with you.

SPEAKER_1: First, he said this oversight is ‘normal’ in health care because B12 is not tested as part of a standard blood panel.

SPEAKER_1: Then he said, lab values vary.

SPEAKER_1: Neurologists consider any value below 400 deficient, while other providers consider 300 and above normal.

SPEAKER_1: Then I asked him to explain what was causing my Vitamin B12 deficiency.

SPEAKER_1: Was it something I had done?
SPEAKER_1: Was it something environmental?
SPEAKER_1: What more could I do to be healthy?

SPEAKER_1: I learned that in my case, my body just doesn’t absorb Vitamin B12 through my food because of a missing protein in my stomach.

SPEAKER_1: There’s not a darn thing I can do about it except take the injections.
SPEAKER_1: For other people, there are a whole host of reasons that B12 deficiency can be caused.

SPEAKER_1: It could be a genetic factor like an autoimmune disorder.
SPEAKER_1: It could stem from drinking too much alcohol or from adhering to a super strict vegan diet.

SPEAKER_1: And then, yes, there’s also the age factor.
SPEAKER_1: In people over 50, it can become a problem.

SPEAKER_1: So if you’re feeling any of the symptoms that I shared, please, please, please lead with a mindset of confidence.

SPEAKER_1: Be persistent and curious and ask your doctor to treat your system, not your symptoms.

SPEAKER_1: In my experience, taking a holistic view of what’s happening in your body and your mind usually gets everyone way beyond normal and to the right place.

SPEAKER_1: Here’s the thing, my story isn’t unique.

SPEAKER_1: I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

SPEAKER_1: In the last year alone, I have known at least two dozen other women in my very close circle with similar symptoms to mine and two men.

SPEAKER_1: And as I’ve listened while they’ve told me their frustrating stories of all of these life- disrupting symptoms, I’ve asked them, “Have you had your B12 levels checked?”

SPEAKER_1: Like me, most of them thought it would have been covered in their annual blood work.

SPEAKER_1: They were shocked to find out that it’s not.

SPEAKER_1: Out of those two dozen women, five of them have discovered a serious Vitamin B12 deficiency, and they’re now being treated. One of the men discovered the same.

SPEAKER_1: Under their physician’s care, they’re getting either weekly injections or sublingual B12 pill every week, and oh my God, they are amazed at how powerful this simple treatment is for them!

SPEAKER_1: They feel healthier, more energetic, and they struggle far less with any of the ‘normal’ life- disrupting symptoms.

SPEAKER_1: This simple math tells me that there are many, many, many more of us in this world that need to be having this conversation with our healthcare providers, because if this is the culprit, we can fix it. And it’s easy! By fixing it, we can be healthy in our body, we can be healthy in our mind, and we can rock this one precious life that we have!

SPEAKER_1: So, here are my three big takeaways that I hope will help you get into the driver’s seat of your health as you look forward.

SPEAKER_1: Number one, always, always, always challenge ‘normal.’ This is so important.

SPEAKER_1: It can be really hard to challenge a healthcare provider with years of medical schooling and knowledge.

SPEAKER_1: I totally get it.

SPEAKER_1: But remember, Amazing Ones, they call it ‘practicing medicine’ for a reason. You have every right to advocate for yourself until you have the evidence and the solution you need to move forward with your life.

SPEAKER_1: Now, your brain fog, weight gain, fatigue, low libido, dullness in your hair, skin, and nails, all of that could be coming from an imbalance in your hormones or something that’s missing in your diet.

SPEAKER_1: They could be symptoms of stress or a lack of the essential sleep that you need.

SPEAKER_1: They could be an undetected Vitamin B12 deficiency or something even more complex.

SPEAKER_1: Don’t simply accept these disruptors as ‘normal.’
SPEAKER_1: They’re not.

SPEAKER_1: You deserve better.

SPEAKER_1: Lead with a mindset of confidence and curiosity that allows you to challenge your healthcare provider with good intent and with kindness. Ask until you have the evidence and the solutions that you need to be well.

SPEAKER_1: Number two, Vitamin B12 deficiencies go unnoticed because again, this lab is rarely checked.

SPEAKER_1: Your brain and body require Vitamin B12 to be healthy.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve never had your Vitamin B12 levels tested, please request that your provider check this lab the next time you have your regular CBC.

SPEAKER_1: It’s easy.
SPEAKER_1: They don’t even have to draw extra blood.

SPEAKER_1: A little bit of it gets allocated to this one test, and that test has the potential to unlock so much information for you and potentially save your life.

SPEAKER_1: Number three, lab ranges vary, and so do the doctors who read them.

SPEAKER_1: These are not bad people. They just see things differently.

SPEAKER_1: Neurologists, as a reminder, say that B12 levels below 400 are deficient, while many primary care providers consider anything above 300 ‘normal.’

SPEAKER_1: That 100 point spread makes a huge difference in your health, and it could save your life.

SPEAKER_1: The same is true for your hormone levels and any other lab tests that you have done.

SPEAKER_1: The bottom line is this.

SPEAKER_1: Entrust your health to health care providers who have discerning minds.

SPEAKER_1: Work with people who will care for you with curiosity and determination to make you as well as you can possibly be.

SPEAKER_1: People who treat you like you’re special because you are.

SPEAKER_1: And baby, you deserve the best when it comes to your health care.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for joining me today.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about Vitamin B12 deficiency, be sure to check out the show notes for articles that I will include there.

SPEAKER_1: And as always, before we wrap up today, I have one last reminder for you.

SPEAKER_1: In this whole big beautiful world, there is only one you.
SPEAKER_1: And in case no one’s told you yet today, that is the thing that makes you simply amazing.

SPEAKER_1: Big, big, big love, everyone!

SPEAKER_1: I hope you’ll come back and join me next week.

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody. SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.
SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.

(* NOTE TO MY LISTENERS: This podcast episode is not intended to offer medical diagnosis or replace advice from your healthcare provider.)

If you’re ready to develop a growth mindset and transform your life, click here and send me a note. I’d love to meet you.

Check out my blog for everyday coaching tips to help you live your best life.

Learn more about Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Harvard Health

Atlantic Spine Clinic


Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

Recent Posts

Jul 08 2024

The Gut Health, Mindset & Looking Fabulous Connection

Gut health science is empowering us to rethink what we eat, boost our mindset, look fabulous, and...
Jun 26 2024

Empowering Your Gut-Brain Axis With Kristina von Oertzen

Learn how the gut-brain axis impacts your health & mindset.

Jun 20 2024

Mindset Coping Skills For Stress, Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Learn how to manage stress and anxiety with mindset coping skills. Listen now.

Jun 12 2024

Pawsitively Present: What Dogs Can Teach Us About Mindset And Life

This week, we’re talking about what dogs can teach us about mindset and living with unleashed joy,...
Jun 09 2024

Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams With Tamaira Sandifer

Discover how Tamaira Sandifer overcame adversity to live her dreams. Get inspired & learn...
May 29 2024

How To Tame Your Mindset And Transform Your Life

Mindset can be your biggest asset or your biggest liability. This week, we’re exploring how...
May 23 2024

Learning to Fly: How to Navigate Life’s Challenge’s With Pat Wetzel

This week, we’re talking about how to navigate life challenges and learning to fly with...
May 15 2024

Podcast: How To Worry Less & Improve Your Mental Health

This week, we’re talking about how to worry less and improve your mental health by learning...
May 08 2024

How to Live A Joyful Life Featuring Tash Durkins

This week, author Tash Durkins joins us to talk about how to live a more joyful life. We cover...
May 01 2024

The Downside of Expectations, The Upside of Mindset

This week, we’re talking about tricky little suckers called expectations. You’ll learn...