B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious consequences

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I found this information here http://chriskresser.com/b12-deficiency-a-silent-epidemic-with-serious-consequences as soon as I was done reading it I KNEW I had to also make a blog about it, to help get the word out. I know many people who have MS and a few of the other conditions that are mentioned, really makes me wonder now if this could all be linked to a Deficiency of Vitamin B12. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

What do all of these diseases have in common?

Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss (collectively referred to as “aging”)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders
Mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis)
Cardiovascular disease
Learning or developmental disorders in kids
Autism spectrum disorder
Autoimmune disease and immune dysregulation
Cancer
Male and female infertility

Answer: they can all mimic the signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 deficiency: an invisible epidemic
B12 deficiency isn’t a bizarre, mysterious disease. It’s written about in every medical textbook and its causes and effects are well-established in the scientific literature.

However, B12 deficiency is far more common than most health care practitioners and the general public realize. Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggest that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma B12 levels in the low normal range – a range at which many experience neurological symptoms. 9 percent had outright deficiency, and 16 percent exhibited “near deficiency”. Most surprising to the researchers was the fact that low B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly.

That said, B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age. It’s entirely possible that at least some of the symptoms we attribute to “normal” aging – such as memory loss, cognitive decline, decreased mobility, etc. – are at least in part caused by B12 deficiency.

Why is B12 deficiency so under-diagnosed?
B12 deficiency is often missed for two reasons. First, it’s not routinely tested by most physicians. Second, the low end of the laboratory reference range is too low. This is why most studies underestimate true levels of deficiency. Many B12 deficient people have so-called “normal” levels of B12.

Yet it is well-established in the scientific literature that people with B12 levels between 200 pg/mL and 350 pg/mL – levels considered “normal” in the U.S. – have clear B12 deficiency symptoms. Experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency, like Sally Pacholok R.N. and Jeffery Stewart D.O., suggest treating all patients that are symptomatic and have B12 levels less than 450 pg/mL. They also recommend treating patients with normal B12, but elevated urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA), homocysteine and/or holotranscobalamin (other markers of B12 deficiency).

In Japan and Europe, the lower limit for B12 is between 500-550 pg/mL, the level associated with psychological and behavioral manifestations such as cognitive decline, dementia and memory loss. Some experts have speculated that the acceptance of higher levels as normal in Japan and the willingness to treat levels considered “normal” in the U.S. explain the low rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia in that country.

What is vitamin B12 and why do you need it?
Vitamin B12 works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s also involved in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves, and the conduction of nerve impulses. You can think of the brain and the nervous system as a big tangle of wires. Myelin is the insulation that protects those wires and helps them to conduct messages.

Severe B12 deficiency in conditions like pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition where the body destroys intrinsic factor, a protein necessary for the absorption of B12) used to be fatal until scientists figured out death could be prevented by feeding patients raw liver (which contains high amounts of B12). But anemia is the final stage of B12 deficiency. Long before anemia sets in, B12 deficiency causes several other problems, including fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss and neurological and psychiatric problems.

B12 deficiency occurs in four stages, beginning with declining blood levels of the vitamin (stage I), progressing to low cellular concentrations of the vitamin (stage II), an increased blood level of homocysteine and a decreased rate of DNA synthesis (stage III), and finally, macrocytic anemia (stage IV).

Why is B12 deficiency so common?
The absorption of B12 is complex and involves several steps – each of which can go wrong. Causes of B12 malabsorption include:

intestinal dysbiosis
leaky gut and/or gut inflammation
atrophic gastrits or hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
pernicious anemia (autoimmune condition)
medications (especially PPIs and other acid-suppressing drugs)
alcohol
exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or recreational use)
This explains why B12 deficiency can occur even in people eating large amounts of B12-containing animal products. In fact, many of my patients that are B12 deficient are following a Paleo diet where they eat meat 2-3 times a day.

In general, the following groups are at greatest risk for B12 deficiency:

vegetarians and vegans
people aged 60 or over
people who regularly use PPIs or acid suppressing drugs
people on diabetes drugs like metformin
people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac or IBS
women with a history of infertility and miscarriage
Note to vegetarians and vegans: B12 is found ONLY in animal products
B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt), which is why it’s called cobalamin. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It’s the only vitamin we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don’t need B12 so they don’t store it.

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block intake of and increase the need for true B12.

This explains why studies consistently demonstrate that up to 50% of long-term vegetarians and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12.

The effects of B12 deficiency on kids are especially alarming. Studies have shown that kids raised until age 6 on a vegan diet are still B12 deficient even years after they start eating at least some animal products. In one study, the researchers found:

…a significant association between cobalamin [b12] status and performance on tests measuring fluid intelligence, spatial ability and short-term memory” with formerly vegan kids scoring lower than omnivorous kids in each case.

The deficit in fluid intelligence is particularly troubling, the researchers said, because:

…it involves reasoning, the capacity to solve complex problems, abstract thinking ability and the ability to learn. Any defect in this area may have far-reaching consequences for individual functioning.

I recognize that there are many reasons why people choose to eat the way they do, and I respect people’s right to make their own choices. I also know that, like all parents, vegetarians and vegans want the best for their children. This is why it’s absolutely crucial for those that abstain from animal products to understand that there are no plant sources of B12 and that all vegans and most vegetarians should supplement with B12. This is especially important for vegetarian or vegan children or pregnant women, whose need for B12 is even greater than adults.

Treatment of B12 deficiency
One of the greatest tragedies of the B12 epidemic is that diagnosis and treatment is relatively easy and cheap – especially when compared to treatment of the diseases B12 deficiency can cause. A B12 test can be performed by any laboratory, and should be covered by insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you can order it yourself from a lab like DirectLabs.com for $60.

As always, adequate treatment depends on the underlying mechanism causing the problem. People with pernicious anemia or inflammatory gut disorders like Crohn’s disease are likely to have impaired absorption for their entire lives, and will likely require B12 injections indefinitely. This may also be true for those with severe B12 deficiency causing neurological symptoms.

Some recent studies have suggested that high dose oral or nasal administration may be as effective as injections for those with B12 malabsorption problems. However, most B12 experts still recommend injections for people with pernicious anemia and advanced B12 deficiency involving neurological symptoms.

Cyanaocobalamin is the most frequently used form of B12 supplementation in the US. But recent evidence suggests that hydroxycobalamin (frequently used in Europe) is superior to cyanocobalamin, and methylcobalamin may be superior to both – especially for neurological disease.

Japanese studies indicate that methylcobalamin is even more effective in treating the neurological sequelae of B12 deficiency, and that it may be better absorbed because it bypasses several potential problems in the B12 absorption cycle. On top of that, methylcobalamin provides the body with methyl groups that play an role in various biological processes important to overall health.

If you suspect you have B12 deficiency, the first step is to get tested. You need an accurate baseline to work from. If you are B12 deficient, the next step is to identify the mechanism causing the deficiency. This is something you’ll probably need help with from a medical practitioner. Once the mechanism is identified, the appropriate form (injection, oral, sublingual or nasal) of supplementation, the dose and the length of treatment can be selected.

So, next time you or someone you know is “having a senior moment”, remember: it might not be “just aging”. It could be B12 deficiency.

Officials Declare ‘Eating Healthy’ A Mental Disorder

Jeffery Jaxen, Natural Society ( http://naturalsociety.com/officials-declare-eating-healthy-mental-disorder/ )

In an attempt to curb the mass rush for food change and reform, psychiatry has green lighted a public relations push to spread awareness about their new buzzword “orthorexia nervosa,” defined as “a pathological obsession for biologically pure and healthy nutrition.” In other words, experts are moving toward saying that our demand for nutrient-dense, healthful food is a mental disorder that must be treated.

CNN, Fast Company, Popular Science, and other top outlets have all began to trumpet the talking points on cue relatively recently:

“Orthorexia nervosa is a label designated to those who are concerned about eating healthy. Characterized by disordered eating fueled by a desire for “clean” or “healthy” foods, those diagnosed with the condition are overly pre-occupied with the nutritional makeup of what they eat”.
In short, if you turn your back on low quality, corporate food containing known cancer causing toxic additives and a rich history of dishonesty rooted in a continuous “profits over people” modus operandi, then you may suffer from a mental illness. The cherry on top is that if you have the pseudo-science labeled disorder of orthorexia nervosa, you will be prescribed known toxic, pharmaceutical drugs from some of the same conglomerate corporations that you are trying to avoid by eating healthy in the first place.

Orthorexia has not yet found its way into the latest edition of the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), yet is commonly being lumped in with other eating disorders. Stepping back and looking at the ones pushing this label on us shows highly questionable motives.

Psychiatry as a whole is deeply in bed with a pharmaceutical industry that makes the drugs to “treat” every one of these “disorders.” It is often these companies that are wielding influence behind the scenes to invent more mental health categories with their toxic products as the answer. This latest media push to popularize orthorexia as a mental disorder with a goal to marginalize or derail the food revolution appears to have been dead on arrival.

The psychiatric community has even deemed creativity to be a mental illness.

As the people continue to walk away from the broken medical and agricultural/food systems like any abusive relationship, the food makers are willing to do anything to maintain their waning control. Organic and non-GMO food markets have exploded in the last 5 years, so much so that any corporation wishing to not follow the trend risks financial hardship or ruin. In addition, pharmaceutical companies are feeling the strain as less people want their toxic medications and crippling side effects.

Perhaps some individuals do take it too far to the point of self-harm, but the problem we face with a toxic food system is a much larger threat. In closing, let’s be aware of some of the overall BS fed to us by the pharmaceutical bankrolled industry of psychiatry. When healthy eating and creativity are mental issues, something is amiss.

Additional Sources:
http://www.popsci.com/striving-perfect-diet-making-us-sick

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/category/psychiatry-fraud/