B12 - #1 Vitamin Deficiency Damaging Our Brain - It's Many Masks, Useless Tests and some Self-Help Details

You can begin enjoying a really sharp mind in only a few days! And there's no need to be cranky and negative all of the time. I see so much vitamin B12 lacking - deficiency in almost everyone's live blood analysis - and for varied reasons.

More and more (younger) people switch to eating vegetarian and vegan diets - and often doing this with nudges from advertorials in "health" magazines that are covertly plugging products - such as unfermented soy products, spirulina etc. For whatever reasons - environmental, spiritual or financial - people have abandoned foods that had offered some basic essential B12 nutrition without replacing these.

Also quite gob-smacking is the mis-diagnoses of a B12 deficiency by standard medical blood tests. The lack of B12 and lack of proper B12 diagnosis leave many issues unanswered - and this lack mimics symptoms that lead to receiving / promoting the taking of many prescription medications such as for depression, anemia, chronic fatigue, some nervous disorders, etc.

Depression, for example, is never considered as a possible coming together of three related issues: B12 deficiency, a low thyroid (AND poor T3 and T4 thyroid hormone uptake at the cellular level) AND fatigued adrenals - all plagued by poor, up-side-down or inappropriate tests and a lack of mindful medical corroboration. So, anti-depressants (with their numerous side-effects) are handed out as a first choice.
B12 deficiency can mimic as many conditions: inflammation, indigestion, constipation, poor co-ordination, mood swings, depressions, the beginnings of MS such as numbness and tingling in the limbs, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, infertility and increases in existing autism symptoms, poor sleep quality, and various neurological challenges.

Sufficient B12 is intricately involved with the health of the bone marrow (where all your red and white cells as well as stem cells are created and almost all of them stay till maturity). B12 is also, as with so many complex factors in our body, a co-factor in OTHER intricate chemical pathways and as such is a necessary and essential requirement that is not just directly related to bone marrow and nerve health. One example of this is that B12, together with folic acid (B9), is a critical co-factor for the production of enzymes which deal with methylation which in turn is depended upon, for neurotransmitters, hormones and energy production at the cellular level, as well as detoxification.

Here are some B12 details, that may have some bearing on your health choices, symptoms and questions. I hope it makes a difference!

I always assumed GPs tested for B12 were exact ... but not so! The standard B12 blood and urine tests are lacking and often false (see more on this at end of this article).

The most important thing to know, for starters, is that there are several kinds of B12 available in supplement form and they are NOT AT ALL created equal.

Analog B12, also called cyanocobalamine, the kind most commonly sold, is the kind you cannot absorb well (this is known by the supplement companies). We also take in analog type B12 from eating some plant based foods such as algae and spirulina and it, too, is a form of cyanocobalamin and absorbs in very small quantities, and it can actually block the good B12 from metabolizing and being absorbed.

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Methylcobalamine and Hydroxocobalamine are the magnificent B12s that are absorbed and taken by our blood to our bone marrow and nervous system - the two systems that require B12 uniquivically. There's always a need and so our blood transports this proper B12 and delivers it as soon as we absorb any from what we eat or from a methylcobalamine supplement. If there's an overage, then it is stored in the liver - up to a year's worth! Therefore there is never any excess B12 running around looking for storage or to the exit via the kidneys - neither in blood or urine. Unless you took your methylcobalamine B12 supplements or ate your methycobalamine B12 foods just before your test, there should be NONE in your urine or blood. That would leave you with a test result stating that you were deficient, when in fact you could be or might not be at all deficient - you'd never know!

Hydroxocobalamine and Methylcobalamine are the two bio-available kinds of B12’s. These are found mainly in red meat - significantly in liver (which should be organic), beef, lamb, buffalo and bison; less but still some is bio-available in shell fish such as clams, mussels, oysters (but watch for the pollutants); and also some in wild salmon, trout, haddock, tuna and most other fish; and we find a bit in egg yolks. There is virtually no B12 in chicken and pork - white meat. For example - one egg has the same amount of useable B12 as in 1/2 of a chicken - and this is still very little). More easy info at https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/g1967/vitamin-b12-super-foods-47012607/ (more comprehensive than the Dieticians of Canada public information page).

The Hydroxocobalamine and Methylcobalamine B12 varieties - are also what you want to see your possible B12 shots/injections made of. This is the kind our bodies need, use, absorb and store. it is very telling which companies will spend a bit more on quality content and which ones want us to blindly swallow the cheaper analog variety - the cyanocobalamine.

​The Hydroxocobalamine and Methylcobalamine B12 varieties - are also what you want to see your possible B12 intravenous shots to consist of. Only in the past few years are my clients able to get their GP's onside to write a methylcobalmine prescription for shots and then have that prescription filled at a natural pharmacy (this is difficult - we only have one so far in Greater Vancouver). Then my clients take the B12 ampules home and refrigerate these. When they see their physicians for their shot, they take their B12 ampule with them. GP's normally would write up the prescriptions which are ALL filled as cyanocobalamine by all major pharmacies - and that kind does not require refrigeration - easy-peasy... but not very useful. So ask your physician to humor you and write the prescription for your request. 

There's a nice surge of energy right after the inital cyanocobalamine B12 shot which quickly subsides. A tiny bit of the huge amount of B12 of the cyanobobalamine reaches the nervous system and bone marrow after the first few hours or day after the shot. The rest remains in circulation and is eventually pee-ed out. So, check to see what kind your physician or naturopath is actually using - get a look at the box the ampule was in - they may have had an eager salesperson persuade them to get the cheaper cyanocobalamine variety for their patients.

Your GP may even kindly offer B12 shots – even the right refrigerated methylcobalamine or hydroxocobalamine kind - AND then one other HEADS UP! If you have mercury fillings then that's a contra indication – otherwise there will be more harm than good. Your alternative, then, is methylcobalamine supplements - sublingual or regular.

Sublingual methylcobalamine B12 supplements will do (not great) if your intestinal tract is compromised and until your gut is repaired, this is the best form of B12. An intestinal tract in good repair has all the factors that allow the B12 to be absorbed and sent to the bone marrow and nervous system. B12 intestinal tract absorption is part of a complex dance – the stomach's hydro-chloric acid, intrinsic factor, R-protein, the enzyme Pepsin's availability, the intestinal bacteria viability and the intestinal-wall villi's health - all have to be in good working order. NO DYSBIOSIS!

 

People taking drugs such as Omeprazole (Prolosec), Tagament, Pepsid, Zantac, Lansoprazole (Prevacid), and Metformin and people with celiac disease, malabsorption and / or Chrohn's or colitis challenges are more likely to have stomach and intestinal tract absorption issues - even when eating careful and making the right food sources.

When the digestive system is compromised, then sub-lingual (under the tongue) B12 supplements are the way to go - and you can be expecting gradual improvements.

These intestinal requirements tend to become a bit more difficult with age - when not given attention. AND they can be completely depleted and lacking from medications, anti-biotics, chemo-therapy, incorrect colon cleansing, illness and neglect... And all of this can cause dysbiosis (leaky gut syndrome).
Low hydrochloric acid in our stomachs is but one cause for less control of the bacteria's environment in the intestines. Then that improperly creates more of the analog B12 that blocks the beneficial B12, inspite of good food choices and supplementation. Many people have this challenge – and it is easy to fix. Guess-work is not advisable with an unhappy intestine. ASK!

When there is a true B12 deficiency - for whatever reason - then a resultant homosistine deficiency can also be measured (low levels are not good for the heart). 

Live Blood Analysis will also show where the weaknesses are.

Another useful test is a methyl malonic acid (MMA) urine test as methyl malonate is elevated in the urine in people with a real B12 deficiency. In BC this particular urine test must be demanded or else the standard tests are trotted out! ASK for a homocystine test - far cheaper and easier to get. High homocystine means low B12 and a retest of homocysteine in 6 months is a good idea.

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