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Infertility

After multiple early miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy and two expensive failed attempts at IVF I was interested to find that B12 deficiency plays a role in fertility. Looking back through my medical records I found that I had never been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency and my high homocysteine test result had been ignored.

Please try not to supplement before testing – this may skew results and can make diagnosis more difficult.

I was never asked if B12 deficiency or pernicious anaemia was present in my family (it is). It appears that none of the clinicians involved in my care had any idea of the consequences of B12 deficiency and the effect on fertility. B12 deficiency is a risk factor which is often overlooked by infertility specialists, neither me or my husband Damian were screened for this very common deficiency.

The cost of one ampoule of hydroxocobalamin in the UK is now under £2. This is a drop in the ocean in comparison to the cost of endless rounds of IVF.

I discovered that I have MTHFR and MTRR genetic mutations and these mutations affect my ability to metabolise both B12 and folate. It may be that you, like me, require an active form of folate rather than the folic acid generally prescribed.

My hope is that those who may have an undiagnosed deficiency go on to have a chance of natural conception with the help of information provided here. Please visit the What to do next for the key steps to follow.

If you are struggling to access correct treatment and you feel you need personalised help, please see the Work with me page for more information.

Male infertility...

Many investigations into male infertility find low sperm motility or a low sperm count to be the cause. How many of these men remain untested for B12 deficiency?

The text below is reproduced with permission from Sally Pacholok R.N and Dr Jeffrey Stuart’s book ‘Could it Be B12?’

Male infertility and B12 deficiency

In about 40% of cases, a couples inability to conceive is due to male infertility. Here again, Vitamin B12 plays a significant role and again that role is generally overlooked by doctors.

The link between male infertility and insufficient B12 levels first became commonly known in the 1980’s when researchers reported a study in which 27% of men with sperm counts less than 20 million were able to increase these counts to more than a 100 million after receiving 1,000 mcg per day of vitamin B12. This research was pursued by scientists in Japan, who published a series of clinical and laboratory studies showing B12’s beneficial effect on sperm counts.

Impotence and erectile dysfunction

When symptoms such as ED or incontinence involve B12 deficiency, early treatment is crucial. The longer the problem continues, the more difficult treatment will be- and eventually the damage will be irreversible.

B12 deficiency may also cause impotence in men. B12 deficiency can result in erectile dysfunction (ED) because the nerves in the penis can become damaged making it impossible to achieve or maintain an erection. We routinely see general practitioners, internists and urologists prescribing medications for patients with ED. We also see them blaming other disease processes, such as diabetes, for ED impotence, or incontinence. Typically they fail to contemplate that B12 deficiency may be causing or or contributing to these problems. This is a huge and tragic mistake, because B12 deficiency is more common as we age, especially in older adults who suffer from ED.

Please find relevant medical journals – Male infertility.

Female infertility...

The text below is reproduced with permission from Sally Pacholok R.N and Dr Jeffrey Stuart’s book ‘Could it Be B12?’

Married for 7 years a thirty three year old woman kept hoping for a baby and wondering why she couldn’t conceive. She also felt increasingly weak, had trouble walking, and noticed that she couldn’t remember things well.

Her doctors’s drew a blank, until one spotted signs of macrocytic anaemia and referred her to a haematology clinic. There, doctors diagnosed her with B12 deficiency and started her on injections of the vitamin.

Within three months she felt vastly better mentally and she could walk normally again. Within six months, she became pregnant. Her long years of waiting for a child ended when she delivered a healthy baby girl.

Other doctors have also reported successful pregnancies in once infertile women following therapy for B12 deficiency. Yet often, sadly, this deficiency is overlooked even by infertility specialists until women have undergone months or even years of unsuccessful treatment. They experience disappointment after disappointment, when treatment with proper B12 replacement and high dose B12 therapy might have solved their problem.

B12 deficiency and Miscarriage: Far More Common Than Doctors Think

A recurring theme in medical literature is that B12 deficiency is a fairly rare cause of miscarriage or stillbirth. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. One recent study, for instance, compared thirty-six women who’d suffered recurrent foetal loss to forty women who’d carried healthy babies to term. The researchers found that 31 percent of the women who’d lost several babies had high homocysteine levels. (Elevated homocysteine is caused by low levels of folate, B12 and/or vitamin B6, and is easily treated with these vitamins).

Sixteen percent of the women who’d suffered recurrent foetal loss carried two copies of the MTHFR gene that causes abnormally high homocysteine levels, and three of the women had overt B12 deficiency.

Please find relevant medical journals – Female infertility.

What to do next

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