THE VITAMIN B12 CONNECTION
Overall health is the result of many different factors. Diet, lifestyle, genetics and the environment all contribute to the state of our well-being. Although it is difficult to distinguish the impact of any one aspect in the myriad of factors that influence our health, vitamin B12 has proven to be a vital link.
Vitamin B12 is one of the thirteen essential vitamins that the body needs in order to stay alive. It is considered unique in that it is the only one of the essential vitamins that contains the trace mineral cobalt. Hence, B12 is sometimes referred to by its scientific name cobalamin.
Over the past 150 years, we have just about doubled the average American life expectancy, from 40 years of age in 1870 to just over 80 years in 2013. But life expectancy is just a statistic that applies to a general population based on sex, race and other demographics. Some people still die very young, or live much longer than the average.
Pediatric Vitamin B12 Deficiencies
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP- Women's International Pharmacy
According to Sally M. Pacholok in the February 2014 issue of Pharmacy Times, vitamin B12 deficiencies often go undiagnosed in infants.
What is even worse is that some of the symptoms of this deficiency so closely resemble those of autism that the child is misdiagnosed, when a simple replenishment program could reverse the symptoms. These symptoms include developmental delay, flaccid muscles, tremor, seizures, reduced IQ, and mental retardation. MRI scans will actually reveal brain atrophy.
Sadly, although medical professionals now pay close attention to folic acid levels for pregnant women, many don't realize that vitamin B12 deficiencies are also involved in neural tube defects, preeclapsia and miscarriage. Prenatal vitamins do not contain enough vitamin B12 to restore a depleted mother's levels.
Ms. Pacholok urges that women intending to get pregnant, or who are nursing, be screened for vitamin B12 deficiency. She also suggests that infants who are colicky, or apathetic and slow to develop, also be screened. In these cases, restoring depleted B12 can make a great deal of difference.
Sally M. Pacholok, RN, BSN, in Pharmacy Times, February 2014, pp 59-64.
Is Vitamin B12 Safe to Use in the Presence of Mercury Fillings?
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Methylcobalamin (meB12), along with folate and vitamin B6, is often used in Sweden to treat symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning as well as diabetes, fibromyalgia and MS. Some practitioners prefer meB12 as it is the only form of B12 present in the brain.
Concerns have been raised about the safety of using meB12 in the presence of mercury. The fear is that meB12 will react with inorganic mercury fillings to create methyl mercury, which they speculate is more toxic than inorganic mercury, and thus should be avoided in individuals with mercury fillings.
Dr. Christopher Shade, PhD, President of Quicksilver Scientific, LLC disagrees. While some people do seem to have neurological reactions to meB12, he suggests that those reactions are related to disturbances in methylation and/or to neuro-inflammatory conditions rather than the mercury. He feels there is growing evidence that inorganic mercury is more toxic to cells than methyl mercury.
MeB12 may actually assist in detoxifying inorganic mercury in the body. Related research is ongoing and we will be keeping a close eye on the results.
Christopher W. Shade PhD, President Quicksilver Scientific, LLC, personal correspondence, February 14, 2014.
Vitamin B12 Levels and Mercury - A Link with Multiple Sclerosis and Other Disorders. Available at http://www.whale.to/w/b12.html as of February 18, 2014. 10(2):117-124.