Vitamin B12 — Side B
August 26, 2014
This article is the follow-up to last week's article on B12 deficiency. This article will attempt to outline risk factors and treatment options. For you young people, Sides A and B denote a phenomenon called "records" that existed a long time ago. You can google it.
The following groups are at greatest risk for B12 deficiency:
• vegetarians and vegans (Animal products and supplements provide the best source of B12. Seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewer's yeast contain B12 cobamides (look it up) that block the intake and increase the need for B12. This claim may be arguable but the stats (50 percent of long-term vegetarians and 80 percent of vegans are deficient in B12) also suggest there may be something to the lack of animal product B12 intake and deficiency.)
• people aged 60 or over
• people who regularly use PPIs or acid-suppressing drugs
• people on diabetes drugs like metformin
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• people with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac or IBS
• women with a history of infertility and miscarriage
Diagnosis and treatment is easy and cheap. When does that ever happen? When compared to treatment of the diseases B12 deficiency can cause, a trip to see your doc and a $15 bottle of B12 complex sounds like a great option. A B12 test can be performed by any laboratory, and probably will or will not, but definitely maybe could be covered by insurance, after you meet the erroneous deductible of course, depending on if this is a pre-existing condition, based on your provider's mood. If you don't have insurance, you can order it yourself from a lab like DirectLabs.com for $60.
If you suspect that you may have B12 deficiency, the first step is to get tested. If you are B12 deficient, the next step is to identify the mechanism causing the deficiency and fix that. Get help from your physician (always have an objective opinion). If levels don't increase over 60 days, you are probably not absorbing that particular form of B complex and you need to change to something else because God only knows what type of B complex each individual should properly absorb.
In closing, I recommend that you take a sub-lingual B complex found at your local health food store. Based on my experience I think you need the entire B complex, not just B12. Remember, unless you are monitoring your levels, you are shooting in the dark. It takes a couple of months to see a change, so be patient. Thankfully, vitamin B12 supplements do not have a face and are water soluble so you can't overdose on it, which I can't say about many other remedies and drugs.
Folic acid (B9) is essential to the support of healthy B12 levels. Folic acid is synthetic, and folate is the natural source. Of course I recommend that you take the most unadulterated form. This is why doctors recommend you take folate during pregnancy so you don't miscarry and/or increase the risk of birth defects due to low levels of B9 and B12.
Folic acid is federally mandated to be in certain foods. Unfortunately, it's mostly found in whole-grain GMO garbage, but that topic is for another article.
Disclaimer: Steve Wells is neither a nutritionist nor a doctor and used to have a disproportional amount of vegan friends.
Sally M. Pacholok and Jeffrey J. Stuart who co-authored "Could it Be B12".
"The B12 Deficiency Survival Handbook" Dr. Aqsa Ghazanfar and Regev Elya