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Vitamin B12 Deficiency – Can Contribute To Addiction Tendencies

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B12 is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin, and can be produced industrially only through a process of bacterial synthesis.

  • Cobalamin has a close relationship with folate, as both depend on the other to work properly.

It plays an important role in memory, heart health, bone health, the nervous system, blood formation, proper sleeping patterns, healthy eyes, the aging process, disposition and more. “Cobalamin” derives its name from the fact it contains a molecule of Cobalt.

Having a diet rich in Cobalamin or taking a daily supplement, can help increase energy levels, improve memory function and enhance our moods. It has been shown to assist in preventing heart attacks, strokes and a number of other serious health problems. It also helps prevent megaloblastic anemia that makes a person tired and weak.

Cobalamin has been used to treat:

  • memory loss
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • boost mood
  • energy
  • concentration
  • the immune system
  • slow the aging process
  • heart disease
  • lowering high homocysteine levels
  • male infertility
  • diabetes
  • sleep disorders
  • depression
  • mental disorders
  • weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • swollen tendons
  • AIDS
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • vitiligo
  • preventing cervical and other cancers
  • skin infections

Cobalamin comes in several forms including;

  • Methylcobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Hydroxocobalamin

Daily Dose

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the amount of Cobalamin a person needs each day depends on their age. According to the FDA , the recommended adult daily intake is 2.4 micrograms (mcg).

It is a water-soluble nutrient that the human body needs, but doesn’t naturally produce. It is one of the eight elements in Vitamin B Complex. Having a diet rich in B12, or taking a daily supplement, can help increase energy levels, improve memory function and elevate our moods. It also assists in staving off heart attacks, strokes and a number of other diseases. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause serious health risks. It is a co-enzyme for many other nutrients and plays a vital role in DNA.

Deficiency

Symptoms can include slow thinking, memory impairment, attention deficits and dementia. There is a direct and indirect correlation between low Cobalamin levels and cognitive function, both in healthy elderly people and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • “A common trait in heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and osteoporosis patients is B12 deficiency….”

Cobalamin deficiency symptoms are often similar to other conditions. So, the best way to determine whether someone has a vitamin B12 deficiency is by having a test done by their primary care physician. This can be accomplished by a blood test.

Here are some of the possible symptoms of having a deficiency of B12:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Imbalance, Tipsy
  • Tingling in the Hands or Feet
  • Muscle Stiffness & Weakness
  • Reduced Cognitive Capabilities
  • Diminishing Memory
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Sleep Disorders

Best Sources

Here is a list of some of the best natural food sources of vitamin B12

beef is a good source of B12 -beef is an excellent source

fortified breakfast cereals contains B12 – fortified breakfast cereals

cooked liver is the #1 source of B12 – cooked liver is the #1 source

salmon, rainbow trout and tuna all contain B12 – salmon, rainbow trout and tuna

cooked clams are a great source of B12 – cooked clams are a great source

milk, cheese & eggs all contain B12 – milk, cheese & eggs

 

Sources of Cobalamin can be found primarily in liver, fish, beef, cheese, chicken, eggs, milk, and clams. It is produced within the digestive tract of animals making animal protein products the best sources of it. Animals integrate B12 into their tissues via bacterial symbiosis, which is why animal foods are naturally the richest source of Cobalamin. It does not occur in fruits, vegetables, or grains. Plants can’t manufacture it.

Animal Protein

Beef liver and clams contain the highest amount of B12. Fortified breakfast cereal is also a good source. Here is a chart showing the major foods with vitamin B12 and the amount of Cobalamin per serving in micrograms.

 

Natural Food Sources
3 oz servings
(unless otherwise noted)
mcg’s per serving
Cooked Clams 84
Beef Liver 71
Sardines 7.5
Fortified Breakfast Cereal (bowl) 6
Wild Rainbow Trout 5.4
Cooked Sockeye Salmon 4.8
Farmed Rainbow Trout 3.5
Swiss Cheese 2.7
Tuna Fish 2.5
Lamb 2.2
Double Cheeseburger 2.1
Haddock 1.8
Beef, Top-Sirloin, broiled 1.4
Milk (1cup) 1.2
Yogurt (1cup) 1.1
Beef Taco 0.9
Ham, cured roasted 0.6
1 Egg, large, hard-boiled 0.6
Chicken Breast 0.3
SOURCE: National Institute of Health min. daily requirement 2.4 mcg’s

Benefits

In case you ever wondered what vitamin B12 is good for, there are lots of benefits to getting enough Cobalamin. Adequate intake of vitamin B12 is essential for normal blood and neurological function. Vitamin B12 deficiency can produce blood, nerve and psychological symptoms. It is also very important for maintaining lots of energy.

  • Key Role in Memory Function

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), even at levels only slightly lower than normal, poor memory may be experienced. According to the FDA, ” Deficiencies of vitamins B1 and B12 can affect memory”.

  • Helps Maintain Healthy Nervous System

It is required for neurological function. B12 plays a vital role in maintaining the sheaths covering and protecting the nerves of the central and the peripheral nervous system. Cobalamin deficiency can cause neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

  • Component of Mental Health

Cobalamin levels are directly associated with cognitive function. According to the NIH, deficiency in vitamin B12 can be linked to overall mental decline. Cobalamin deficiency has also been associated with attention deficits, acute mental-status and acute cognitive changes. Low Cobalamin levels can disrupt the electrical activity of the brain.

  • Vital to Red Blood Cell Production

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells.The body needs Cobalamin to make red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. Deficiency anemia is a low red blood cell count due to a lack of Cobalamin.

  • Cofactor with Other Nutrients

According to the NIH Vitamin B12 acts as a cofactor in a variety of vital bodily functions. Being a cofactor means B12 works together with other nutrients enabling them to perform their functions properly.

  • Supports Cardiovascular Health

According to the NIH B12, folate, and vitamin B6 are all involved in homocysteine metabolism. If it is deficient homocysteine levels can rise due to inadequate function of methionine synthase. This condition has been shown to possibly cause heart disease.

  • Helps Maintain Healthy Bones

Bone marrow requires a constant supply of Cobalamin. Cobalamin has been used to treat Osteoporosis. A new study links deficiency with low bone mineral density in men and confirms similar, previously reported findings in women.

  • Protects Cell DNA

Sustaining DNA integrity is dependent on both folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of fatty acids in myelin and in conjunction with folate, for DNA synthesis. Cobalamin deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

  • There is no evidence of any known clinical benefits when this nutrient is given to persons who are not deficient.

Deficiency

Low Cobalamin can cause damage to the brain and nervous system. At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and poor memory may be experienced. Once a person lacks enough Cobalamin, cognitive changes may occur, including loss of concentration, memory loss, disorientation, dementia and mood changes. Insomnia, impotency, and impaired bowel and bladder control can also develop.

A deficiency in Cobalamin can cause serious health risks. Unfortunately, it’s often under diagnosed because physicians do not routinely test for it, and, as some experts suggest, many people with so-called “normal” levels of B12 do, in fact, have a deficiency. Additionally, some of the physical manifestations of a deficiency can mimic other diseases, in essence distracting healthcare professionals from testing for a lack of the nutrient in an individual.

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and various other cognitive changes. Case reports describe the association of Cobalamin deficiency with delirium and dementia. Low Cobalamin levels have been correlated negatively with cognitive functioning in otherwise healthy elderly adults.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system.

According to the latest research, “mild Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with accelerated cognitive decline.” Severe Cobalamin deficiency can lead to depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell.

The problem isn’t just getting enough of it. The problem can be getting it into the bloodstream where it can be effective. Processing B12 requires a phenomenon known as the “Intrinsic Factor” which protects the Cobalamin from stomach acids on its journey through the stomach. As a person gets older their intrinsic factor often loses its capabilities and therefore ingested Vitamin B12 does not get properly absorbed.

97 Million U.S. Adults May Be Deficient

According to a government study, nearly 40% of all Americans may have a B12 deficiency. In 2000, a government study indicated Cobalamin deficiency is far more widespread than formerly believed. This study concluded a whopping 39 percent of the studied group of 3,000 had low Cobalamin levels. Most surprising to the researchers was the fact low B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly. The study covered people from 26 to 83 years old.

Not Just Older Adults

Evidence from the Framingham Offspring Study suggests the prevalence of Cobalamin deficiency in young adults might be greater than previously assumed. The study found the percentage of participants in three age groups (26–49 years, 50–64 years, and 65 years and older) with deficient blood levels of vitamin B12 was similar. The study also found that individuals who took a supplement containing vitamin B12 or consumed fortified cereal more than four times per week were much less likely to have a Cobalamin deficiency.

Supplements

Liquid Drops

Liquid cobalamin can be obtained by prescription or over-the-counter. It is taken orally, usually once per day. Always follow the directions carefully.

Tablets

Cobalamin comes in tablet form to be taken orally. It is also included as a part of vitamin B complex tablets. This method is fine unless someone has problems absorbing it through the stomach.

Some people’s stomaches can’t process Cobalamin properly. By placing a dissolvable tablet under the tongue the nutrient can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Injections

Shots are administered only by a medical professional who injects it intramuscularly. This is usually done in cases where the person is suffering from severe cobalamin deficiency or some other complication which necessitates shots rather than some other supplementation method. It is injected straight into the bloodstream, it can be used to supply Cobalamin to people who cannot absorb this vitamin through the intestine. Injections are often used to treat and prevent a lack of it caused by pernicious anemia.

Injections come in a solution (hydroxocobalamin) to be injected into a muscle or just under the skin. A healthcare provider injects it. People generally receive injections once a day for the first 6-7 days of treatment. As your red blood cells return to normal, they probably will receive the medication every other day for a few weeks, and then every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks. After the anemia has been treated, they may receive the medication once a month to prevent relapse. Shots also can be given to test how well the body will absorb it.

Always talk to your doctor about using this drug for your condition.

Sleep Disorders

This nutrient has been researched as a possible treatment for sleep-wake rhythm disorders. Most outcomes were successful. According to NIH research this nutrient was given to two patients suffering for many years from different sleep-wake rhythm disorders. One patient was a 15-year-old girl suffering from a free-running sleep-wake rhythm. After being administered Cobalamin , her sleep-wake rhythm was significantly improved. After 2 months of the stopping it, her sleep disorder started again. The other patient was a 55-year-old man with delayed sleep phase syndrome. Cobalamin was given at the daily doses of 1.5 mg, his sleep-wake rhythm disorder was improved. The positive therapeutic effect continued for more than 6 months while on Cobalamin.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Research indicates it may help a serious eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Some research shows that taking it with other vitamins, including folic acid and vitamin B6, may help prevent it.

Anti-Aging Factor

Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age.

According to mercola.com, “Researchers found that women who use vitamin B12 supplements have longer telomeres than those who don’t…”.

So Much Deficiency

Here are some possible reasons why Cobalamin deficiency has become so widespread:

  • As the body ages it often loses the ability to absorb this nutrient

The Intrinsic Factor (see above) is vital to the utilization of Cobalamin. Some people’s bodies, especially those of older adults, gradually lose this bodily function over time. Without a healthy Intrinsic Factor, little if any vitamin B12 can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Some people have a difficult time absorbing the nutrient, such as having an autoimmune condition, taking medications, celiac disease or consistently drinking too much alcohol.

  • There is a growing population of health conscious people who are eating less meat, fish and chicken.

Vegetarians and vegans eat no animal protein products, which is the number 1 source of B12. Other health conscious people have cut way back on their consumption of meat and chicken have inadvertently reduced the primary source of Cobalamin. Also, proteins are expensive, so they often omitted by people to conserve money.

Some people are just not aware of the vital role it plays in their “Health, Healing and Happiness”.

Vitamin B Complex supplements may not work

  • Although lots of people are taking this supplement, the Cobalamin in them may not get absorbed properly due to the “Intrinsic Factor”, so they are not getting enough though they were getting from them.

Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. There are many types of anemia. Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb it. Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb it. Severe or long-lasting pernicious anemia can damage the heart, brain, and other organs in the body. Pernicious anemia also can cause other problems, such as nerve damage, neurological problems (such as memory loss), and digestive tract problems. People who have pernicious anemia also may be at higher risk for weakened bone strength and stomach cancer.

How It Was Discovered

It was first isolated in 1948 by American chemist Karl Folkers and British chemist Baron Alexander Todd.

The discovery of this nutrient, the elucidation of its role in metabolism, and the effects and treatment of its deficiency occurred in distinct phases over more than 100 years, and it was the subject of two separate Nobel Prizes. The valuable contribution of clinical reports and studies of patients with pernicious anemia throughout the 19th century resulted in enough clinical definition to allow Minot and Murphy to put together the first hallmark study on treatment of the condition, leading them to a Nobel Prize.

About Getting Tested

A simple blood test, either from a physician or by ordering a home testing kit can help anyone determines whether or not you should be supplementing your diet. The current accepted deficiency level is 148 pmol/L (picomole per liter). According to Katherine Tucker, at the University of Boston, “Some people exhibit neurological symptoms in the higher range, there is some question as to what the clinical cutoff for deficiency should be”.

Cobalamin – Alcohol & Substance Abuse

This nutrient may very well help in both preventing and treating drug addiction and alcoholism. Certain health conditions can make it difficult for your body to absorb enough of it, including chronic alcoholism. Today, more and more drug and alcohol treatment programs are incorporating vitamin and other nutrients into their recovery program. Research indicates craving for alcohol can be caused by a deficiency in the B vitamins. Therefore, taking a supplement can reduce the desire to consume alcohol. Using alcohol depletes vitamin B. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (wet brain) is caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

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