2B or not to B12


Original post: September 10, 2010




As much as the media hype and flare for B12 have diminished its value to health sure has not. B12 is an essential water-soluble nutrient that is required in small, microgram quantities. Don’t let the small dose requirement detract from how significant it is to health. Deficiency can result in formidable health consequences that often go undiagnosed and untreatable as the underlying cause is difficult to identify. Save yourself from a lot of unnecessary grief and load up on B12 regularly to ensure this precious vitamin is thoroughly saturated throughout the body. Research is demonstrating that deficiency is more common than we once thought, and many symptoms and ailments of today are related to B12 deficiency.


The status of B12 in the body can be significantly compromised in those challenged by gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD`s and IBS due to malabsorption of the vitamin. However, if your gastrointestinal tract is healthy your still not immune to B12 deficiency. Deficiency can result in neurological insufficiencies from basic memory loss to more profound myelin damage and psychosis. Stress can increase demands for the precious vitamin as can imbalanced and processed diets, extreme physical work and uncontrolled oxidation.


Homocysteine regulation: One of the more critical roles this vitamin offers us is protection from elevated homocysteine and through this activity it reduces the risk for common diseases that kill without warning and often without apparent cause. Homocysteine is a toxic metabolite that can escalate in any of us regardless of how diligent we are about lifestyle. It’s often called the silent killer. A diet low in B vitamins and folate and disproportionately high in methionine-rich foods such as red meat can result in elevated homoscysteine. Since B12 absorption can be significantly compromised in the elderly and those with gastrointestinal deficiencies it is often the limiting factor in the neutralization of homocysteine. It can be a cause the increased risk for cardiovascular disease and dementias in seniors.


Cardiovascular health: According to many independent sources of research, homocysteine induces its deadly assault by interfering with the genes responsible for superoxide dismutase (SOD) expression and secretion by the vascular smooth-muscle cells or blood vessels. SOD is an antioxidant that protects the vessels from free-radical damage and ultimately from atherosclerosis. Eat red meat abundantly without sufficient vegetables or multi-vitamin supplementation and you’ll likely succumb to the ravages of homocysteine in the long run. And the risk just increases with age: heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular anomalies such as elevated blood pressure. B12 supplementation protects the cardiovascular system and antioxidant status in the cells.

Brain health: Research is also showing that homocysteine elevation plays a huge role in the advancement of inflammation throughout the body; the subclinical inflammation that places the brain in a slight fog and advances biological age prematurely.


Methylcobalmin (B12) is shown in recent research to protect and help restore myelin – the critical layer protecting the delicate neurons (nerves) of the brain and body. Damage to this protective layer can contribute to memory loss and motor impairment. B12 is also a known cofactor for the production of melatonin and serotonin; important for sleep, mood and general cognitive health. Cognitive disorders which involve myelin breakdown such as MS and Alzheimer’s can benefit from ongoing saturation doses of B12. Deficiency of B12 interferes with brain efficiency; supplementation reduces the risk and is more important as we age due to age-related absorption limitations.

Energy metabolism: The precious vitamin is involved in many other metabolic processes including the Kreb cycle; the biochemical pathway in which ATP, our biological energy source, is manufactured. Chronic fatigue patients and those trying to kick caffeine dependency have used aggressive B12 supplementation with tremendous success. B12 is a cofactor for the manufacture of red blood cells, fatty acid metabolism, and even DNA repair and activity in each of our cells.


Especially important for adults and seniors: Elevated homocysteine is also shown to be an aggravator for injury and inflammation such as that of arthritis and back pain. It contributes to that stiffness we might experience with age.


Uncontrolled homocysteine is a common cause of cardiovascular disease and dementias in seniors. Improved regulation of homocysteine by making certain B12 is not limited in the diet reduces the risk for these other diseases which at first may seem to be age-related. This precious B vitamin is a perfect fit in the anti-aging program.

Other symptoms and Consequences of B12 Deficiency


A compromised status of B12 can result in severe energy and strength deficits; symptoms of attention deficit and difficulty focussing the mind; compromised immunity; poor memory recall; and poor ‘stress’ management. Long term deficiencies can result in hypotension, poorly controlled motor movements (shaky), mood disorders and psychosis. B12 supplementation is also indicated for depression, memory impediment, dementia, pernicious anemia, diabetic neuropathy, immune system disorders such as autoimmunity, tinnitus, and aging.


A vegan diet can be deficient in B12 to generate the associated symptoms and risks; supplementation by vegans is important. On the other extreme, one who eats red meat abundantly with insufficient vegetable intake can become a homocysteine-risk and will need to ensure the B vitamins are sufficiently supplied (especially B6 and B12) along with folic acid and another methyl donor such as TMG.


Dosing and route of administration for B12 is an issue of contention.

Absorption of B12 across the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract depends on a secreted compound (glycoprotein) called intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to orally consumed B12 to facilitate absorption and its limited production results in limited B12 absorption even from supplemented megadoses. In addition, the typical dosing for B12 products in the marketplace is rather pathetic for the most part likely because our governments` recommendations are meagre. A hefty tablet dose might supply 100 – 200 mcg but this is likely to deliver next to zero positive effect due to the intrinsic factor limitation. For those with gastrointestinal disorders the limitation associated with intrinsic factor is an even more likely problem. If we add age to this equation the deficiency risk is even greater.


The best way to ensure sufficient and effective dosing is through administration of sublingual liquid methylcobalamin drops. Methylcobalamin can be absorbed transdermally through the mucosal lining in the mouth. Each dose should consist of at least 500 mcg of methylcobalamin and should be swirled around under the tongue for a minute before swallowing. I take about 1000 mcg each day. Most that use it this way experience a brighter room within ten minutes of taking the supplement.

The B12 energy spike can effectively replace the jolt of caffeine helping with the transition or weaning off of caffeine if required. Feeling different from the caffeine jolt, B12’s subtle wake of alertness is soothing while heightening mental state. It can also reduce the cravings for the caffeine fix throughout the day.


Tissue status improvement can require long terms of high dose administration and for those with gastrointestinal disorders or B12 deficiency due to aging or stress, ongoing use of the 1000 mcg megadose is recommended. I like to use a saturation program if I am feeling run down and for those suffering from bouts of IBS, IBD’s or other gastrointestinal problems, the saturation program should be applied throughout the gastrointestinal distress period. Energy improvements are often experienced within a day if deficiency was a factor. Patients with psychological challenges including memory, attention, mood or emotional challenges, energy and stamina deficits, and autoimmune ailments can benefit from aggressive dosing as described below. B12 supplementation is critically important for those challenged by neurological ailments. Over supplementation with this water-soluble vitamin is rare.


Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the biologically active forms of B12 that the body can use most effectively. Other B12 sources are typically converted to these biologically active forms before they can be used by the cells.


Saturation of B12 involves taking 1000 mcg of liquid methylcobalamin twice (once in the morning and once again early afternoon) per day for two weeks at a time. Swirl under the tongue for a minute or so. Subsequently one can reduce the dose to the maintenance program.


Maintenance program for B12: 500-1000 mcg once per day (once in the morning). For those at high risk for deficiency, the saturation period and dosing may be required periodically (once each six to eight weeks).


About

As much as the media hype and flare for B12 have diminished its value to health sure has not. B12 is an essential water-soluble nutrient that is required in small, microgram quantities. Don’t let the small dose requirement detract from how significant it is to health. Deficiency can result in formidable health consequences that often go undiagnosed and untreatable as the underlying cause is difficult to identify. Save yourself from a lot of unnecessary grief and load up on B12 regularly to ensure this precious vitamin is thoroughly saturated throughout the body. Research is demonstrating that deficiency is more common than we once thought, and many symptoms and ailments of today are related to B12 deficiency.


The status of B12 in the body can be significantly compromised in those challenged by gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD`s and IBS due to malabsorption of the vitamin. However, if your gastrointestinal tract is healthy your still not immune to B12 deficiency. Deficiency can result in neurological insufficiencies from basic memory loss to more profound myelin damage and psychosis. Stress can increase demands for the precious vitamin as can imbalanced and processed diets, extreme physical work and uncontrolled oxidation. Homocysteine regulation: One of the more critical roles this vitamin offers us is protection from elevated homocysteine and through this activity it reduces the risk for common diseases that kill without warning and often without apparent cause. Homocysteine is a toxic metabolite that can escalate in any of us regardless of how diligent we are about lifestyle. It’s often called the silent killer. A diet low in B vitamins and folate and disproportionately high in methionine-rich foods such as red meat can result in elevated homoscysteine.


Since B12 absorption can be significantly compromised in the elderly and those with gastrointestinal deficiencies it is often the limiting factor in the neutralization of homocysteine. It can be a cause the increased risk for cardiovascular disease and dementias in seniors. Cardiovascular health: According to many independent sources of research, homocysteine induces its deadly assault by interfering with the genes responsible for superoxide dismutase (SOD) expression and secretion by the vascular smooth-muscle cells or blood vessels. SOD is an antioxidant that protects the vessels from free-radical damage and ultimately from atherosclerosis. Eat red meat abundantly without sufficient vegetables or multi-vitamin supplementation and you’ll likely succumb to the ravages of homocysteine in the long run. And the risk just increases with age: heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular anomalies such as elevated blood pressure.


B12 supplementation protects the cardiovascular system and antioxidant status in the cells. Brain health: Research is also showing that homocysteine elevation plays a huge role in the advancement of inflammation throughout the body; the subclinical inflammation that places the brain in a slight fog and advances biological age prematurely. Methylcobalmin (B12) is shown in recent research to protect and help restore myelin – the critical layer protecting the delicate neurons (nerves) of the brain and body. Damage to this protective layer can contribute to memory loss and motor impairment. B12 is also a known cofactor for the production of melatonin and serotonin; important for sleep, mood and general cognitive health. Cognitive disorders which involve myelin breakdown such as MS and Alzheimer’s can benefit from ongoing saturation doses of B12. Deficiency of B12 interferes with brain efficiency; supplementation reduces the risk and is more important as we age due to age-related absorption limitations.


Energy metabolism: The precious vitamin is involved in many other metabolic processes including the Kreb cycle; the biochemical pathway in which ATP, our biological energy source, is manufactured. Chronic fatigue patients and those trying to kick caffeine dependency have used aggressive B12 supplementation with tremendous success. B12 is a cofactor for the manufacture of red blood cells, fatty acid metabolism, and even DNA repair and activity in each of our cells. Especially important for adults and seniors: Elevated homocysteine is also shown to be an aggravator for injury and inflammation such as that of arthritis and back pain. It contributes to that stiffness we might experience with age. Uncontrolled homocysteine is a common cause of cardiovascular disease and dementias in seniors. Improved regulation of homocysteine by making certain B12 is not limited in the diet reduces the risk for these other diseases which at first may seem to be age-related.


This precious B vitamin is a perfect fit in the anti-aging program. Other symptoms and Consequences of B12 Deficiency A compromised status of B12 can result in severe energy and strength deficits; symptoms of attention deficit and difficulty focussing the mind; compromised immunity; poor memory recall; and poor ‘stress’ management. Long term deficiencies can result in hypotension, poorly controlled motor movements (shaky), mood disorders and psychosis. B12 supplementation is also indicated for depression, memory impediment, dementia, pernicious anemia, diabetic neuropathy, immune system disorders such as autoimmunity, tinnitus, and aging. A vegan diet can be deficient in B12 to generate the associated symptoms and risks; supplementation by vegans is important. On the other extreme, one who eats red meat abundantly with insufficient vegetable intake can become a homocysteine-risk and will need to ensure the B vitamins are sufficiently supplied (especially B6 and B12) along with folic acid and another methyl donor such as TMG.


Dosing and route of administration for B12 is an issue of contention. Absorption of B12 across the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract depends on a secreted compound (glycoprotein) called intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to orally consumed B12 to facilitate absorption and its limited production results in limited B12 absorption even from supplemented megadoses. In addition, the typical dosing for B12 products in the marketplace is rather pathetic for the most part likely because our governments` recommendations are meagre. A hefty tablet dose might supply 100 – 200 mcg but this is likely to deliver next to zero positive effect due to the intrinsic factor limitation. For those with gastrointestinal disorders the limitation associated with intrinsic factor is an even more likely problem. If we add age to this equation the deficiency risk is even greater. The best way to ensure sufficient and effective dosing is through administration of sublingual liquid methylcobalamin drops.


Methylcobalamin can be absorbed transdermally through the mucosal lining in the mouth. Each dose should consist of at least 500 mcg of methylcobalamin and should be swirled around under the tongue for a minute before swallowing. I take about 1000 mcg each day. Most that use it this way experience a brighter room within ten minutes of taking the supplement. The B12 energy spike can effectively replace the jolt of caffeine helping with the transition or weaning off of caffeine if required. Feeling different from the caffeine jolt, B12’s subtle wake of alertness is soothing while heightening mental state. It can also reduce the cravings for the caffeine fix throughout the day. Tissue status improvement can require long terms of high dose administration and for those with gastrointestinal disorders or B12 deficiency due to aging or stress, ongoing use of the 1000 mcg megadose is recommended.


I like to use a saturation program if I am feeling run down and for those suffering from bouts of IBS, IBD’s or other gastrointestinal problems, the saturation program should be applied throughout the gastrointestinal distress period. Energy improvements are often experienced within a day if deficiency was a factor. Patients with psychological challenges including memory, attention, mood or emotional challenges, energy and stamina deficits, and autoimmune ailments can benefit from aggressive dosing as described below. B12 supplementation is critically important for those challenged by neurological ailments. Over-supplementation with this water-soluble vitamin is rare. Methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the biologically active forms of B12 that the body can use most effectively.


Other B12 sources are typically converted to these biologically active forms before they can be used by the cells. Saturation of B12 involves taking 1000 mcg of liquid methylcobalamin twice (once in the morning and once again early afternoon) per day for two weeks at a time. Swirl under the tongue for a minute or so. Subsequently one can reduce the dose to the maintenance program. Maintenance program for B12: 500-1000 mcg once per day (once in the morning). For those at high risk for deficiency, the saturation period and dosing may be required periodically (once each six to eight weeks).


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