Arthritis pain is pain in the joints that is often associated with swelling. Arthritis can come in a number of different forms and the precise symptoms and best treatment for each can vary considerably. .
Sometime arthritis pain is a result of simple wear and tear – arthritis in the fingers and knuckles is common for instance if you have been a boxer, a rock climber or a pianist, or if you just haven’t looked after your fingers and hands properly.
But sometimes, arthritis pain isn’t really arthritis at all. Sometimes, it comes down to a simple vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B12 for instance can commonly cause the same symptoms as arthritis and also triggers low energy and a host of other problems.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is crucial for the function of the body and specifically aids with the production of red blood cells. These are the cells that carry oxygen around the body and which are required for energy.
When you have too little vitamin B12 though, this then means that your body isn’t able to do this correctly. The blood cells thus end up being larger than normal and ‘megaloblastic’ or ‘macrocytic’. This means that they can’t do their job as well as normal and as such you start feeling sluggish and lethargic.
- Feeling faint
- Ringing ears
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing skin
- Sore, red tongue
- Reduction in touch
- Symptoms of dementia
- Mood issues
Vitamin B12 deficiency is very similar to iron deficiency, as iron is also used in the construction of red blood cells (red blood cells are made partially from iron). Anemia normally means an iron deficiency but low B12 is known as ‘vitamin B12 anemia‘.
This condition is not uncommon. It is more of a problem for the elderly and it affects 10% of those aged over 75. It’s also common for vegan vegetarians as the most common food sources of B12 are meat, eggs and dairy. Mothers who eat vegan diets may cause B12 deficiencies in their children.
The Link Between Vitamin B12 and Arthritis Pain
So how does all this link to arthritis pain?
Essentially, both types of anemia are a common factor in RA – rheumatoid arthritis. This is because the large blood vessels can cause inflammation of the joints. This swelling then causes the joints to rub against one another and this then causes deterioration and pain.
Low B12 can also cause damage to the nerves as they are starved of oxygen. This can then cause pain and/or tingling in the extremities.
One treatment for low B12 is to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) which can help to reduce the swelling in the short term.
The best long term solution though is simply to eat more vitamin B12. Good sources include clams, liver, beef, trout, salmon, tuna, beef, milk, yogurt, cheese and egg. You can find more here. For vegans, supplementation may be a good idea. Otherwise, some forms of vegetarian mince and other replacement foods are fortified with B12.