Vitamin B-12

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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
Joint and muscle Pain
Nerve pain (neuropathy) – often manifests as numbness and tingling in the feet

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

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

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)
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.
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