Vitamin B12 is Too Important to Ignore

If you’re over the age of 50 this information is for you. If you are a vegetarian/vegan; take metformin for diabetes or acid blocking medications; have hypothyroid; experience chronic stress; consume excessive amounts of alcohol;  MTHFR gene mutation: have low stomach acid, gastric ulcers, H. pylori, celiac, Crohn’s disease or gastritis; or have had weight loss surgery this is also for you.

Vitamin B12 deficiency due to malabsorption or not enough in the diet is very common among these populations. It can lead to serious, painful and possibly debilitating diseases that gradually intensify over time. Symptoms can also appear very quickly.  We will provide you with what you need to know to reverse B12 deficiency and prevent it from being a problem for you again.

Vitamin B12 is the catalyst for production of red blood cells, neurological function, nerve health, DNA synthesis, protein conversion and fatty acid synthesis. It helps ensure you can make enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body. It’s vital for brain and cardiovascular health. It is needed to ensure error-free cell division.

B12 has the most complex structure of all of the vitamins. B12, folate (folic acid) and iron work together in the body. The usable form of B12, methylcobalamin, works directly within cells, where it is needed to reactivate folate. Without methylcobalamin folic acid is unusable. Methylcobalamin also helps get rid of the homocysteine which contributes to cardiovascular problems. This form of B12 is non-toxic, better absorbed and better stored inside the body.

Here are over 40 acknowledged B12 and folic acid deficiency symptoms:

Tingling hands and feet

“Pins and needles” sensation

 Numbness

Burning sensation (possibly on thighs)

Vertigo, dizziness, wobbliness

Legs hurt and “jump” at night (restless legs)

Pain, including bone pain in legs

Balance and gait problems; loss of coordination; difficulty walking (ataxia), (Parkinson’s link)

Feeling exhausted (chronic fatigue); lethargy

Memory problems, increasing forgetfulness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, dementia, brain shrinkage

Shortness of breath

Chronic “mystery” coughing

Heart palpitations

Muscle weakness

Nausea, diarrhea, constipation

Vision problems

Age-related hearing loss

Mood changes, leading to anxiety, depression, paranoia or psychosis

Heavy menstrual bleeding

Bleeding gums; gingivitis

Nose bleeds

Pale complexion (loss of pinkness; may have a yellow tint); jaundice

Vitiligo (patches of lost pigmentation)

Many brown spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation)

Cutaneous skin lesions

Hair loss or premature greying, especially in women

Fingernail ridges

Loss of half-moons near cuticles

Sensitivity to noise

Smooth tongue without papillae (taste buds) leading to loss of taste

Swollen, sore, red tongue; canker sores

Accelerated aging

Osteoporosis; bone density loss

Weakened immunity

Anemia

Nerve damage

Myelin sheath damage

Degeneration of the spinal cord

Peripheral neuropathy (this is most often related to methylcobalamin B12 deficiency, but in some cases vitamin B1 and/or vitamin D deficiencies may also be involved. Always take a high quality daily multivitamin-mineral complex to cover your bases.)

Testing

Low B12 causes a wide range of debilitating symptoms yet rarely do doctors check for this as a contributor to patient complaints. The reason seems odd: they require evidence for the cause before they will begin a treatment. In the case of B12 they typically only look for a condition related to enlarged red blood cells called Macrocytic Anemia. The problem is that this condition only shows up years after the B12 deficiency first began. Add that to the fact that most physicians have no nutrition training and so don’t tend to consider it important.

You can ask your doctor to have your B12 serum level checked using the Schilling test to determine whether you’re absorbing vitamin B-12 properly and have enough Intrinsic Factor. Intrinsic Factor is a glycoprotein produced in the stomach that enables the absorption of vitamin B12 in the ileum of the small intestine. Some people produce antibodies that destroy Intrinsic Factor, and will be diagnosed as having pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition.

Some people receive a result from the Schilling test that says they are “normal” but they still have deficiency symptoms. Some of the machines that determine B12 in patients are known to give false high readings and “normal” will vary from person to person. Let your symptoms be the guide.

Turning It Around

It’s a rare person over the age of 50 who has strong stomach acid. Without very strong stomach acid vitamin B12 can’t be assimilated from foods or supplement pills. Calcium must be present as well, and also requires strong stomach acid to become bioavailable. The diabetes drug Metformin tends to diminish calcium levels in the small intestine, which is directly linked to B12 deficiency in people taking this drug.

Foods high in B12 are: beef, cod, eggs, lamb, beef liver, salmon, sardines, herring, shrimp and tuna. Fortified foods such as nutritional yeast can be added to the diet. For cheese lovers the best source is raw grass-fed Emmentaler from Switzerland. The big bubbles (eyes) in the cheese are produced when B12-producing bacteria (Propionibacterium freudenreichii) consume lactic acid and release it in the form of carbon dioxide. All vitamin B12 in nature originates exclusively from microorganisms.

Once you are deficient in this important nutrient the amount of B12 needed to recover is not sufficiently available from food. A high quality supplemental form is needed. In cases where there are stomach or digestive problems, thyroid issues, alcohol abuse (which causes stomach inflammation), or use of metformin, certain antibiotics or acid blockers, oral B12 won’t make a significant difference. And once deficient, pills may take a long time at high doses to increase your serum level of B12. Avoid the cyanocobalamin form of B12 found in many over the counter supplements due to the presence of cyanide molecules and poor assimilation. Instead, take a supplement containing B12 and folate daily, and if deficient– in the short term also take a sublingual supplement of methylcobalamin and folate. It will go directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach.

We hope you will share this information with everyone you know; you may change someone’s life!

*If your levels are already in the optimal range taking a high quality daily supplement of oral B12 and food sources are helpful in order to maintain it.

*Very rarely some people experience adverse effects or allergic reaction to B12 supplements or injections. If you are pregnant please consult your doctor before beginning taking B12 supplements.

Healthy Habits® is here to support you to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life. Thank you for sharing our articles and information with your loved ones. We pride ourselves on being a quality resource for you and your family.

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  • GH3 Maxum—This popular product delivers meaningful doses of methylcobalamin B12 and folate. This is a powerhouse of an antioxidant blend including fruit and vegetable extracts and superfoods. You will feel a difference! Click here now to learn more.
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