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Understanding B12 Status

Updated: May 11, 2021

What do all of these conditions have in common?

  • Cognitive decline and memory loss

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders

  • Depression, anxiety, and psychosis

  • Developmental disorders in kids

  • Autoimmune disease and immune dysregulation

  • Female and male infertility

ANSWER: They all mimic signs and symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 deficiency is not a mysterious disease. Its effects are well established in the medical literature. However, B12 deficiency is far more common than most people realize. A recent study suggests that 40% of people between the ages of 26-83 have plasma B12 levels in the low range – a range at which many experience neurological symptoms. Most surprising was the fact that low B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly. Why is B12 deficiency so under diagnosed? Firstly, it’s not routinely tested by most doctors. Second, the lower end of the normal range is just too low to feel good. In Japan and Europe, the lower limit for B12 is between 500-550 pg/ml but in Canada accepted “normal” levels are much lower. B12 lower than this level is associated with memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia. Willingness to treat with B12 injections in Japan at this level may explain the low rates of Alzeimer’s in that country. 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 mal-absorption include:

  • Intestinal dysbiosis

  • Leaky gut

  • Low stomach acid

  • Use of stomach acid lowering drugs

  • Alcohol use

  • Pernicious anemia

This explains why B12 deficiency can occur even in people eating large amounts of B12-containing animal products. Please note that up to 50% of long-term vegetarians and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12. There are no plant sources of B12. THE SOLUTION: Diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency is easy and inexpensive. If you are concerned you may have B12 deficiency, the first step is to be tested to establish a baseline. If your levels are below optimum, treatment with B12 can be remarkable – better energy, brighter mind, feeling rejuvenated – almost immediately! Please call us to get started.

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