Vitamin Deficiencies – B12

Many people walking around today are actually malnourished.  Why?  Six reasons:

Lack of nutrients in conventional soils – particularly regarding minerals, 2.  Produce picked too early, stored too long, or processed, 3.  Common medications (all ages, prescribed and over-the-counter) block the absorptions of many vitamins and nutrients, 4.  Preservatives in food & packaging as well as herbicides & pesticide residues influence whether vitamins/minerals are absorbed and used properly, 5.  Not getting a variety of vitamins/minerals, some vitamins or minerals are needed for absorption of others, 6.  Dietary Supplements are not a regulated industry & more often than not you are not getting what you pay for…either the vitamins/minerals are not absorbed by your body or there is little vitamin but a lot of fillers, some harmful.

I have reviewed the websites and sources I’m using in the blog series and believe these to be factual and current.

PART 2 – Vitamin B12

I’ve witnessed first-hand the problem a deficiency in B12 can do to a family.  My father who was a heart patient& type 2 diabetic, started feeling more and more fatigued & weak.  Sleeping much of the day and only getting up for meals.  He was also withdrawn and sometimes confused.  The medical community insisted it was his heart and things were beginning to go downhill for him.  Horrible news for my mother.  There initial recommendations was more medications.  However, my mother asked that they check his vitamin levels. The results…his vitamin B12 was practically non-existent.  Actually, the medical community should have checked his levels often as he was on several medications that block the absorption of the vitamin (metformin, acid-suppressing drugs).  As soon as he started taking B12 shots (weekly it was so bad), he was back to normal.  More energy, strength, cognitive improvement and so forth.

Vitamin B12 is vital for the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells.  It is also vital for the production of a protective shield around nerves and nerve impulses.  Deficiencies present as fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss, neurological and psychiatric problems.  Other diseases with similar symptoms include:  Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, MS, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infertility.   What is odd is that medical textbooks are very clear on what B12 deficiency looks like, the problems are well document in the scientific literature.   But in the US we don’t routinely check for this despite evidence that may suggest we should and our scale of what is “low” is significantly higher than the warning scale in Japan & Europe.  So in these countries they would be treating people we in the US believe have normal levels of B12.

Who is at greatest risk for B12 Deficiency: 1) Vegetarians/Vegans, 2) people over 60 years of age, 3)  people taking PPIs or acid suppressing drugs, 4) people taking metformin,  5) people with Crohns, colitis, celiac or IBS,  6) women with a history of infertility or miscarriage.  “it is not possible to get the B12 you need from seaweed, brewer’s yeast, fermented soy, spirulina – these actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block intake of and increase the need for true B12 (found only in animal products & quality sublingual supplements or fortified foods).

If you fall into a high risk group, take medications, or have any of these symptoms, ask your doctor to check your B12 levels.  It can’t hurt and could make a world of difference in your quality of life.

B12 Deficiency

Everything You Need to Know about Vitamin B12