Don’t Miss This Potential Source of Low Energy!

If you have low energy and it’s accompanied by mental or memory fogginess, muscle weakness, tingling in your arms or legs, mood swings, depression, disturbed sleep and maybe even balance issues, you just might be suffering from low Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12, also known as Cyanocobalamin, is commonly thought of by nutritionists when we want to provide powerful nutrient support for the nervous system.  The fatty protective layer that surrounds all nerves is called myelin.  B12 is involved with the  production of myelin and therefore the integrity of nerve function.  Formation of your blood cells is also dependent upon adequate B12 levels as is DNA synthesis.  B12 is involved with many other physiological functions but just naming nerves, blood cells, and DNA:  you can see B12 is a heavy hitter in supporting optimal health!

Problems with B12 can come from inadequate intake, poor absorption, drug induced low levels, genetics and autoimmune issues.

Vitamin B12 is prevalent in animal sources of protein including eggs and dairy products.  If you follow a vegan diet your dietary intake of B12 is poor and particularly so if you don’t supplement B12.  A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet can give you better B12 intake but still can be drastically deficient.  Plant sources of B12 are NOT biologically active in humans.

THE CHALLENGE OF ABSORBING B12  is inherent to this vitamin for several reasons:

  1. It is a very large molecule, in fact, the largest vitamin that we know of so far and it requires help to get through the intestinal wall and on into the bloodstream.
  2. The helper that B12 requires for absorption is called Intrinsic Factor (IF) which is a protein made in the stomach.  Conditions that damage the stomach can reduce or even wipe out the cells that produce IF such as not uncommon H-Pylori infection or gastritis, (I won’t even get into the weight loss surgeries…).Genetic abnormalities, autoimmune issues and certain medications can all disrupt IF production. The take home here is that without Intrinsic Factor, oral B12 supplementation may never normalize your blood B12 level. This kind of low B12 due to lack of Intrinsic Factor is known as Pernicious Anemia. B12 injections are usually used in these cases in order to bypass the stomach and the lack of IF issue.
  3. Sufficient stomach acid is required to release B12 from your food.   Anyone who consistently takes antacids (nexium, protonics, acephex, tums, etc) significantly increases their chances to be B12 deficient.  The aging process alone results in declining stomach acid production and that in itself contributes to potentially low B12 levels in older adults.  (Note that it is too little acid that is the problem here, not toomuch).
  4. Finally, B12 is only absorbed at a specific area at the end of your small intestine. Hopefully, this distinct area of your intestine is also healthy to allow normal passage of B12 through the intestinal cells.

TEST DON’T GUESS FOR YOUR B12 LEVEL!  

Just as I say about Vitamin D levels, get your B12 level tested before we just say that you should take it because you’re tired.  But here’s one more conundrum, if you ask for your B12 level to be tested and your Serum B12 comes out normal, you may still have low B12 and it has just been missed.  The value you want tested  is called Methylmalonic Acid or MMA.  This is a more sensitive marker for low B12 than serum B12 itself and will show up high if your B12 is low. Testing for MMA is also important if you are taking  Folic Acid since Folic acid supplementation can mask low B12  blood cell markers.  Most important, whether your serum B12 is low or your MMA is high, I always follow up with the question:  Why?  Uncovering and treating the source is always recommended for true improvement in your health.  And finally,  remember to be re-tested after a period of time of supplementing and treating the source of your low B12 in order to assess treatment effectiveness.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, comments regarding this article, so please feel free to reach out to me by posting your comments.

Copyright © 2010 Sheila Wagner.  All Rights Reserved.


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Sheila Wagner, PT, CN, is known as an expert in evaluating and treating hard to resolve health issues involving pain, fatigue, digestive and metabolic dysfunctions including weight loss resistance, diabetes, detoxification, and other neuroendocrine/immune system imbalances. Visit SheilaWagner.com to sign up to receive your f.r.e.e. copy of her acclaimed audio: The 7 Critical Keys to Finally Fix Your Health!®


About Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Sheila’s cutting edge ability to uncover hidden source(s) of health issues when no one else has is the first piece to her step wise approach in solving your persistent health complaints.

+Sheila Wagner is the ultimate expert assisting people nationwide to finally fix their health through 1:1 consults, group programs, lectures and classes.

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