Brain Fog: Urgent Help Needed! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-10-2010, 02:44 AM
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MAKE SURE TO READ MY POST BELOW.



So I've been veg for around 6 - 7 months now.



Up until around 2 months ago, I was feeling fine. Now that I'm back at university, I've noticed a diminishing attention span, poor memory, poorer capacity to read and write, and I'm finding conversation to be more and more difficult.

Stringing words together is often quite the chore. When I write, I'm always finding myself misspelling words, crossing words out, and sometimes I even drop my pen. Co-ordination is down the drain, and I need help fast. My grades have already taken a sharp drop from the beginning of the semester, so I must tackle this now.



If I can't get this sorted, I may unfortunately have to go back to eating meat - that is, of course, a last resort.



First thing's first; I'm not iron deficient and my B vitamin levels are perfect. I've recently had blood work done to confirm this. My diet, as far as I can tell, is good. I eat a lot of veges, whole grains, very little refined sugar (the odd bit of chocolate every now and then), fruits, and nuts (almonds and peanuts, mainly).



So my question is; What the hell is causing this? What am I deficient in? Am I missing some essential amino acids?

In the past 2 weeks, I've done my best to increase my protein intake. I'm eating more eggs, dairy, soy milk, protein shakes and beans, however, this isn't working. Will it take longer for protein deficiency to subside?



I really need help on this, folks. I don't want to give up this fight. I'll feel terrible if I have to go back to eating meat.
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#2 Old 04-10-2010, 03:02 AM
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Er, maybe it's not your diet? If you're getting all the vitamins and things you need, then why would going back to eating meat solve anything at all? Have you actually spoken to a doctor about the problem?


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#3 Old 04-10-2010, 03:08 AM
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I have and he seems to think it's anxiety related. Personally, I'm skeptical as to it being anxiety. I've suffered from anxiety most of my life but it has never lead to symptoms such as this. Even under my worst spells of depression and anxiety, I've been able to concentrate and maintain memory.
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#4 Old 04-10-2010, 03:10 AM
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There are many many reason you can be feeling this way and many are not diet related. You've had blood work done so any real deficiences would have shown up there but in reality with the diet you've described the chances of you being deficient in anything is very very slim.



Are you getting enough good quality sleep? Too much? You say you've gone back to school: surely you are feeling stressed about coursework? Is this affecting your sleep? Cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) is almost always associated with sleep problems.



How about exercise? Fresh air? Getting your blood pumping and oxygen circulating around your brain is much more important than people realise.



But OK, lets go back to diet. Go to fitday.com or something similar and start tracking your actual eating habits. It will flag up if you are not eating enough protein almost immediately. Then you can take corrective measures.



What is worrying in your post is you mention eating meat a few times almost as if you are creating an excuse to going back to eating meat. Look, if you've decided you don't want to be a vegetarian right now then fine. Be honest with yourself and give it up if that's how you really feel. But don't be surprised if your brain fade is not cured by eating cheeseburgers again.



Seriously, look into your sleep patterns and the actual quality of your sleep.
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#5 Old 04-10-2010, 03:22 AM
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There are many many reason you can be feeling this way and many are not diet related. You've had blood work done so any real deficiences would have shown up there but in reality with the diet you've described the chances of you being deficient in anything is very very slim.



Are you getting enough good quality sleep? Too much? You say you've gone back to school: surely you are feeling stressed about coursework? Is this affecting your sleep? Cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) is almost always associated with sleep problems.



How about exercise? Fresh air? Getting your blood pumping and oxygen circulating around your brain is much more important than people realise.



But OK, lets go back to diet. Go to fitday.com or something similar and start tracking your actual eating habits. It will flag up if you are not eating enough protein almost immediately. Then you can take corrective measures.



What is worrying in your post is you mention eating meat a few times almost as if you are creating an excuse to going back to eating meat. Look, if you've decided you don't want to be a vegetarian right now then fine. Be honest with yourself and give it up if that's how you really feel. But don't be surprised if your brain fade is not cured by eating cheeseburgers again.



Seriously, look into your sleep patterns and the actual quality of your sleep.



I'm sleeping very well. I sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night. As far as I can tell, I've been sleeping better than ever. My sleep is always uninterrupted.

I exercise several times a week (usually running or hour long walks).

I have also been tracking my diet on Calorie King. I'm getting at least 70 grams of protein a day (without protein shakes).



Really, I said those things about eating meat because I'm absolutely desperate. This never happened when I was a meat eater, so I guess it's in my nature to question as to whether my vegetarianism is responsible. Sure if didn't happen in my first few months of vegetarianism, but doesn't it take a while for deficiencies to build-up? Will it take even longer for them to dissipate? I don't know. I feel as if I'm at my wit's end.



I have another doctor's appointment in around 10 days, so I will speak to the doctor further about this.
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#6 Old 04-10-2010, 04:07 AM
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I think it's illogical to blame this on your diet when you've even had blood work done. It would have flagged up deficiencies in anything they tested for. Perhaps when you see the doctor next, you can ask if there are any nutritional deficiencies that they didn't test for to put your mind at rest.



Diet and stress are usually the biggest causes or exacerbators of symptoms and illness. If the blood work shows it isn't diet, and your doctor thinks it's related to anxiety, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the diagnosis. Did the doctor offer you any help with the anxiety to try and fix this?
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#7 Old 04-10-2010, 04:46 AM
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Your post seriously doesn't make any sense. Since the doctor has been able to rule out nutritional deficiencies (or if you're not quite sure, go back and ask for some more tests), what do you think that meat is going to do for you? Also - you're ALREADY eating animal products in the form of eggs and dairy, so what special thing do you think you'd get from meat that you can't get from what you're already consuming?



Depending on your reasons for being vegetarian, I think some meats are generally less cruel than eggs and dairy, so if you're going to eat animal products for whatever reason, I'd probably vote for certain meats over eggs and dairy. But like I said, it doesn't seem that you're having a health issue with vegetarianism. What did the doctor say for you to do about the anxiety? Have you tried meditating or anything?



Whatever you do, if you decide to go back to eating meat based on this very vague and illogical-sounding thing, don't write a tell-all book called something like the Vegetarian Myth, because I'll have to pie you in the face with a veg*n pie!

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

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#8 Old 04-10-2010, 05:43 AM
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maybe you're having adverse reactions to a type of food you're eating? dairy? soy?

hope you do get better very soon!
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#9 Old 04-10-2010, 05:04 PM
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You're gonna make me puke my pants.
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#10 Old 04-10-2010, 05:17 PM
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IMO it sounds neurological. I was diagnosed with MS in 1991 and some of your symptoms sound eerily brain related. It could be so many things. It could be a virus in your brain, a small stroke, etc. Many, many health issues are brought on by stress. That is what brought on my MS. I wouldn't just write this off as your diet and I wouldn't let my doctor dismiss it so easy, too. If you know that you are getting plenty of protein, why on earth would you need to start eating meat? That doesn't make any sense to me. I would look into the health issue much more with a professional.



My opinion...FWIW



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#11 Old 04-10-2010, 05:27 PM
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I doubt it has very much to do with diet, as I'm pretty certain there are many intelligent & fully-functioning veg*ns out there who don't have the problems you're talking about!



I'm not a Dr obviously so can't say for certain, but I've had the problems you've been talking about before and generally I can pin in down to a few certain causes:

1) Depression and/or stress

2) Not eating enough (calories)

3) Not sleeping enough.



Do you think any of them, or anything similar, could be the cause of your symptoms?

I know you said depression/anxiety hasn't cause this before, but for me the symptoms of depression/anxiety can vary dramatically. Sometimes they make me really underproductive (no motivation, concentration etc.), but I've also had times when depression has actually restulted in me feeling restless and ending up more productive. Another example is appetite; sometimes they increase it, sometimes they decrease it (for me),so don't discount them as a cause just because you're not used to them having these particular effects.



Also, since you've only noticed this over the last couple of months, not the last 6-7, doesn't that indicate that it's not going veg, unless I'm missing something here?
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#12 Old 04-10-2010, 06:20 PM
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IMO it sounds neurological. I was diagnosed with MS in 1991 and some of your symptoms sound eerily brain related. It could be so many things. It could be a virus in your brain, a small stroke, etc. Many, many health issues are brought on by stress. That is what brought on my MS. I wouldn't just write this off as your diet and I wouldn't let my doctor dismiss it so easy, too. If you know that you are getting plenty of protein, why on earth would you need to start eating meat? That doesn't make any sense to me. I would look into the health issue much more with a professional.



My opinion...FWIW



Laura



This is what I've been thinking as well. I would demand more tests from the dr and not focus so much on the whole diet thing but definitely the neurological. I'd be more concerned with my brain and not what I'm eating if I were having those issues.



Sorry to hear about the MS diagnosis Laura
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#13 Old 04-10-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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I too, would recommend some further discussion with the doc. Thyroid, blood sugar/diabetes (are you eating regularly?), hormone imbalances and about 100 other easily remedied maladies can make you feel fuzzy headed.



I wouldn't dismiss the anxiety and stress idea out of hand. My own body betrays me occasionally even when I don't immediately recognize the signs of stress. I was just thinking about this today actually, as one of my eyelids been twitching like 100 damn times a day (grr), and I'm sure it's a combination of some mild stress and not quite enough sleep. Migraines and most particularly, canker sores affect me in this way as well. Also, in the times of severe stress, I've had a hard time focusing/remembering things. (IS and I still have this disagreement some 4 years later about where we ate dinner the night after I moved to England!)



Yeah anyway, I'm rambling a bit, but definitely consider the psychological causes too.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#14 Old 04-10-2010, 06:49 PM
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This is what I've been thinking as well. I would demand more tests from the dr and not focus so much on the whole diet thing but definitely the neurological. I'd be more concerned with my brain and not what I'm eating if I were having those issues.



Sorry to hear about the MS diagnosis Laura



Thanks, Fadeaway, but I'm really fine. I haven't really had any serious issues with my MS. On the other hand, I am not a healthy person. I had Triple-Bypass Heart Surgery four years ago (at 42). I am Diabetic, have HBP and high cholesterol. I also haveThyroid Disease. I am also overweight and have an eating disorder (food addiction). I always tell my husband that I am a lemon, and he needs to trade me in (he gets mad when I say that). Anywhoo, I am so glad I finally decided to go veggie. I truly believe that this lifestyle will keep me around much longer.



But, to get back on subject, DON'T take those symptoms lightly. Make your doctor work with you if you do not get better, or, get another doctor.



Laura
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#15 Old 04-13-2010, 04:35 PM
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Well, it has certainly been an interesting 24 hours.



For these past few months, I've had the inkling that my diet had been the culprit behind the recent development of these neurological problems. I just couldn't extinguish this notion from the back of my mind - it had to be my diet. I'm such a hard-headed *******, I just couldn't accept any other reason.



It turns out I was right.



Now, before you quit reading this post and send a raging and rabid reply, you must know; I am STILL a vegetarian. I have NOT eaten meat. I am still 100% dedicated to this lifestyle.



So, hear me out.



Yesterday I spent the vast majority of the day reading about vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I knew that the most hazardous deficiencies for a vegetarian/vegan are B12 and iron deficiencies.

I telephoned my doctor's surgery and I had them read out my blood test results over the phone. I wrote down my B12 serum levels and my ferritin (iron carrier protein) levels, and I got to work. My B12 was ~380 and my ferritin was ~20. Both seemingly healthy and "normal" values.

Because I am a university student, I have access to a huge selection of peer review journal article databases. I read all about vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, supplementation, symptoms, etc.



*NOTE* On the subject of symptoms, one thing I forgot to mention was, my eye-sight was deteriorating. I would wake up in the morning with throbbing eyes. As I mentioned in the first post, I had trouble reading, writing, etc. I thought that I simply needed glasses. Well, glasses did nothing to cure what ailed me.



Now, in my research, I came across some very interesting things.



1) B12 serum levels can often be ambiguous as to whether someone really is B12 deficient, and some countries have vastly different guidelines as to what is a healthy serum level range of B12.

2) Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common and it is often misdiagnosed as something else (anxiety (!), depression (!))

3) B12 deficiency leads to eye deterioration, poor memory, headaches, poor concentration, nausea (!!!).

4) B12 is not toxic. A person could pop a huge amount of B12 pills and not get ill. In fact, it's safer to consume a whole bottle than it is to consume none at all.

5) For the body, B12 absorption is quite a challenge. When taken orally, only around 10% of the B12 is actually absorbed and used as active Methyl-B12.



After reading information such as this, I felt like I had found it. I had found the reason as to why these past few months had been so awful.

I grabbed my car keys, leaped into the car, sped down to the pharmacist, and purchased some 1mg sub-lingual cyanocoalamin pills.

Throughout the day, I took a total of 6 of these tablets. I let them completely dissolve in my mouth. Towards the end of the day, at least one of my symptoms deteriorated - I had my concentration back. I could read for longer than 5 minutes without my mind wandering.

My eye sight was still a tad shoddy, I still felt lightheaded and nauseous, but I thought, "Hey, it's the first day. Perhaps tomorrow will be better!"



Well, once again, I was right.



My eyes are now fine. I can write. I can type. I can read. I can think clearly. My head and my mind no longer feel as if they are clogged up with cotton wool.

Do I feel perfect? No, but the difference between today and yesterday is astounding. It's night and day contrasted. It can only get better from here. I feel like crying.



All of my symptoms were due to a B12 deficiency. Not anxiety or depression. It was not all in my head.

So, who's to blame for this? Obviously, I can only blame myself. I guess I should have taken note of this earlier. I guess I should have kept myself more informed on the subject of B12 supplementation. I should have known the risks and symptoms associated with B12 deficiency. But as you and I know, we learn from our mistakes. I think I'm just lucky that I caught onto this before things got much worse.



So yes, I'm still a vegetarian, and for the first time in a long time, I feel completely at ease with this lifestyle decision. Sure, I have to supplement with B12 for the rest of my life, but really, it's a small price to pay for some peace of mind.
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#16 Old 04-14-2010, 09:13 AM
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Why Cyanobalamin? It that the only way of getting Methylcobalamin? I probably also can get access to the paper through uni if you can point me in the right direction.
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#17 Old 04-14-2010, 09:38 AM
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no one mentioned omega 3s... they're pretty important for focus and concentration, too.



im glad you realized your need for b12... if i were you, id add some ground flax seed into your diet too... just for good measure.
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#18 Old 04-14-2010, 12:08 PM
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So yes, I'm still a vegetarian, and for the first time in a long time, I feel completely at ease with this lifestyle decision. Sure, I have to supplement with B12 for the rest of my life, but really, it's a small price to pay for some peace of mind.



Supplementing isn't a price or sacrifice, in my opinion it should be an integral part of everybody's diet whether omni, vegetarian or vegan.



I'm glad you found the answer, and you're definitely not to blame if your blood results showed that levels were 'normal'. Medical degrees are what's to blame, since doctors receive a ridiculously small amount of knowledge on nutrition during their study.
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#19 Old 04-14-2010, 06:44 PM
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Glad you found the answer and you're feeling better Also good to know it wasn't something really serious. Hope your health continues to improve
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#20 Old 04-15-2010, 03:26 AM
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Strangely enough I found this thread and forum through researching the possibility that eating meat could be the cause of all the symptoms you described.



I've been toying with the idea of going vegan for a while now seeing as I don't touch dairy or eggs, and have recently been educated about the animal abuse which seems to go hand in hand with farming. So from today meat is off the menu too.



Up until a few months ago I was taking a daily A-Z vitamin pill which included B12 and actually ditched those in case that was what was making me ill. I feel no different with or without them.



Like you I've had my issues with anxiety, depression and have undergone dozens of tests which have come back normal.



I'm not exactly sure what my conclusion is. Maybe that everyone is different and my eureka moment is still some way off.



Great to hear that you got to the bottom of it in your case though of course.
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#21 Old 04-15-2010, 03:29 AM
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Why Cyanobalamin? It that the only way of getting Methylcobalamin? I probably also can get access to the paper through uni if you can point me in the right direction.



my local pharmacy unfortunately doesn't have Methyl-B12 for sale, so Cyano-B12 was all I could get a hold of. I have, however, ordered some Jarrow methyl-B12 from iherb.com.
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#22 Old 04-15-2010, 03:34 AM
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I'm gonna give those sublingual's a try just to see if it helps my procrastination
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#23 Old 04-15-2010, 09:11 AM
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I'm gonna give those sublingual's a try just to see if it helps my procrastination



They don't help mine
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#24 Old 04-15-2010, 09:54 AM
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Ahem!



(Do you have me on ignore or something?)



*looks around* hmm? did i hear something?
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#25 Old 04-15-2010, 10:03 AM
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Sure, I have to supplement with B12 for the rest of my life, but really, it's a small price to pay for some peace of mind.



Interesting fact I learned recently: most beef cattle are fed B12 supplements. Just like us, they need it in their diet and, just like us, they mostly don't get it from their diet anymore unless they are pasture fed in fields rich in B12. Since it's hard to know if they are getting enough B12, farms add it to their feed or give them injections just to be sure.



So the process goes like this: they feed B12 supplements to cows and people eat the cows to get the B12. I figure, why not just take the supplement directly and cut out the middleman, or the middlecow in this case?
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#26 Old 04-18-2010, 12:20 PM
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I'm gonna give those sublingual's a try just to see if it helps my procrastination



As soon as you get around to it, right?
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#27 Old 05-30-2016, 07:15 PM
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I had the same problem about my brain fog... several problems of concentration ...
I started to eat more fat, and the fog lifted a bit.. but i still have them.

And no it's not because depression. It's your food choices.
In a last resource, you need to see if you are eating all nutrients.

Try this method.

When you wake up: Eat a handful of nuts, and don't eat nothing until 2 hours.
1 hour before you go to bed: Eat 2 or 3 brazil nuts and don't eat nothing more.

Before bed: You will provide yourself with omega 6 to your brain rest, repair.
Wake up: You will provide yourself with omega 3 to your day activities.

Eat this in a mono meal, or, if you want you could have a warm cup green tea.

The fat will turn you more lazy, but more concentrated.

Try this, about a week.

Last edited by Espirito; 05-30-2016 at 07:17 PM.
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#28 Old 05-31-2016, 06:58 AM
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You need to go to the doctor and get an MRI. How do you know you haven't had a stroke? I can see "ruling out" potential causes, but this sounds dangerous. Please see a doctor.
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#29 Old 05-31-2016, 10:12 AM
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You need to go to the doctor and get an MRI. How do you know you haven't had a stroke? I can see "ruling out" potential causes, but this sounds dangerous. Please see a doctor.
Don't worry, old thread.
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#30 Old 10-17-2017, 09:25 PM
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Thank you for this post, MyDoppelganger. I had the exact same symptoms and now I'm feeling much better after taking a lot of B12 (now daily). I, too, am a new vegan. Before I went vegan, I was consuming 1-2 monster energy drinks a day. I believe doing that really built up my tolerance for B12 (or in other words - decreased my body's ability to absorb it). So now it seems like I need to be sure to take daily B12 supplements in order to feel normal.
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