Vitamin B12

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Supplemental forms of Vitamin B-12:

  • Cyanocobalamin (this form is poorly utilized by the body)
  • Methylcobalamin (most effective form of supplementation)
  • Adenosylcobalamin
  • Hydroxycobalamin

Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Infertility
  • Joint and muscle Pain
  • Nerve pain (neuropathy) – often manifests as numbness and tingling in the feet
  • Depression

Vitamin B-12 has been shown to be beneficial in the following conditions:

  • Cancer – especially those going through chemotherapy
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis
  • Recovery from surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Fatty Liver
  • Diabetes
  • Dementias

Drugs/Medications that deplete or interfere with Vitamin B-12:

  • H2 antagonists such as Cimetidine (Tagamet) – decreases stomach acidity
  • Proton pump inhibitors (Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, Aciphex, Nexium)
  • Antacids and other stomach acid lowering medications
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Metformin (Glucophage) for diabetes
  • Barbiturates, such as Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Alcohol
  • Possibly Caffeine (diuretic)

Laboratory testing to detect Vitamin B-12 deficiency:

  • Serum B-12 (poor and inadequate. Unfortunately, this is the test that most doctors use)
  • Homocysteine levels
  • Methylmalonic acid testing
  • Schilling’s Test – pernicious anemia 24-hour urine (radioactive cobalt)
  • Lymphocyte Proliferation Test – this is the most reliable measure (Spectracell Labs)

Food Sources:

  • Vitamin B-12 is only found in animal meats. Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc. Vegan diets do not contain vitamin B-12 without supplementation.