Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. Studies from the U.S. Framingham trial show nearly 65 percent of the U.S. population suffer from severe deficiencies to suboptimal levels of B12. The studies reveal that even suboptimal levels of B12 (low end of normal values) can result in neurological symptoms and lead to the development of peripheral neuropathy and nerve pain.
Function of B12
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that’s crucial for many vital metabolic and hormonal functions — including the production of digestive enzymes and carrying important nutrients into and out of cells.
Vitamin B12 Is Critical For the following functions:
- Maintains the proper function of the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord)
- Maintains the health and proper communication of all nerves in your body
- Produces the myelin sheath (protective layer used to insulate nerves and assist with nerve communication)
- Makes red blood cells
- Assists with hormone production
- Assists in producing DNA and RNA
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Facilitates metabolic conversion of protein and fats
- Plays a role in fetal development during pregnancy
Diabetes Drug- Metformin Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Metformin is a popular oral diabetes drug used to help manage Type 2 diabetes. This drug works by lowering the amount of glucose made by the liver and by making the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin. It goes by many different brand and generic names, such as, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Kazano (alogliptin),Invokamet, Metaglip (glipizide), Jentadueto and many more. Although, metformin can be very effective in managing Type 2 diabetes, it comes at a very large price.
Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City used data from the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study to look into the effects of metformin use on vitamin B12 levels.
After evaluating more than 2000 men and women, data from participants taking metformin twice daily or those taking a placebo were included, and the participants had their vitamin B12 levels measured after five and 13 years.
30 percent of those taking metformin experienced a sudden B12 deficiency. More people in the metformin group were also anemic, which is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Dr. Jill Crandall, MD, who led the study states B 12 deficiencies brought on by metformin have serious consequences. She states, “These can include cognitive impairment, peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems) and anemia (low red blood cell count).”
Dr. Crandall states, common symptoms of B12 deficiency can include numbness, or tingling in the feet, memory problems, fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. As the deficiency, continues over a long period of time, symptoms will progressively worsen and result in ‘pins & needles’ sensation of feet or hands, loss of balance and coordination which can become debilitating.
Common Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Numbness, tingling or pins & needles in feet or hands
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Memory difficulties and Brain Fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Glossitis (painful, red and swollen tongue)
- Mouth Ulcers
- Blurred vision
- Mood Swings
Most doctors do not monitor B12 levels in their diabetic patients, however the researchers are now suggesting that patients ask their doctors to do so.
Aside from metformin use, there are other causes of B12 deficiencies that you should be aware of. See the list below:
Other Causes of B12 Deficiencies
- Acid Reflux / Gerd
- Antacid Use (prescription or over-the-counter)
- Vegetarians / Vegans
Top 5 vitamin B12 Foods
Your body does not make vitamin B12, which means that you must get it either from your diet or supplements. Here is a list of the top 5 foods that have the highest concentration of vitamin B12
1. Beef liver (grass fed): 1 ounce: 20 micrograms (over 300 percent DV)
2. Sardines: 3 ounces: 6.6 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
3. Atlantic mackerel: 3 ounces: 7.4 micrograms (over 100 percent DV)
3. Lamb: 3 ounces: 2.7 micrograms (45 percent DV)
4. Wild-caught salmon: 3 ounces: 2.6 micrograms (42 percent DV)
Best Bio-Available form of B12 Supplement
The reality is the average person consuming the Standard American Diet will not eat even a fraction of the food listed above. For those people who are eating some of those foods, your off to a great start, however, you probably still are not consuming enough to satisfy your vitamin B12 requirements. Because of this, it’s imperative to take a B-12 supplement or a multi-B-vitamin that contains high levels of B-12. Now before you rush out and buy your B-12 supplement, you must know some important facts.
1. More than 40% of people have difficulty absorbing vitamin B-12.
2. Vitamin B-12 comes in 4 different forms, however only 1 form has the best ability to get into the cells (highest bio-availability). That form is Methylcobalamin. Taking B-12 in any other form (cyanocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin) is just a waste of money.
We’ve been asked by many people, if we take a B-12 vitamin. The answer is...YES! We personally use NUPHORIA Gold. You may have heard about this supplement in connection with peripheral neuropathy. Well, indeed it is great for people with nerve pain, however, it’s a great overall B-vitamin supplement. It has therapeutic dosages of Methylcobalamin (B-12) along with the highest bio-availability of the other B vitamins as well (B1, B6, folic acid). On top of that, it contains Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is a powerful anti-oxidant. Alpha lipoic acid also helps you achieve healthy glucose levels and Insulin sensitivity. Whether, you suffer from peripheral neuropathy or are just looking for a good B vitamin- We highly recommend NUPHORIA Gold.
This blog has been provided by Dr. John Coppola, D.C. and Dr. Valerie Monteiro, D.C. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro are the founders of the San Antonio Neuropathy Center, and Precision Sport & Spine. They are the leading experts in the field of neuropathy and specifically drug free nerve repair. They are the authors of the critically acclaimed book "Defeat Neuropathy Now .... In Spite of Your Doctor. The doctors have over 25 years of clinical experience.
If you would like to reach the doctors regarding a specific health problem, you may email them at [email protected].
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