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Why test for

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

 

(Pernicious Anemia)

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:
I must get legalities out of the way first of all
Nothing stated on my pages should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a given problem.
You should consult your Doctor for individual guidance for specific health problems.
My pages are for informational and educational purposes only,
and is simply a collection of information in the public domain.
Information conveyed herein is based on pharmacological and other records, both ancient and modern
No claims whatsoever can be made as to the specific benefits accuring from the use of this information

 

 

COBALAMIN is the proper name for vitamin B-12.
Being unaware of a vitamin B-12 deficiency (Pernicious Anemia) can cause serious complications. At high risk for a B-12 deficiency are those who are over 60, whether symptoms are present or not since B-12 absorption has usually ceased at this age. In addition, older people should have B-12 tests since B-12 deficiency has often been confused with senility. In addition, researchers have found a link between B-12 deficiency and Alzheimer's Disease.

Problems with malabsorption of this nutrient can be caused by gastrointestinal problems or excessive alcohol consumption. Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery and radiation may have problems absorbing vitamin B-12. Also at risk are those who are strict vegetarians and those who have eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa. Severe cases can result in lowered immunity to infection, congestive heart failure, impaired vision and male impotence. In rare cases the condition can be fatal.

Symptoms for vitamin B-12 deficiency include:

Shortness of breath
Sore tongue
Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
Pale lips, tongue and gums
Appetite loss and weight loss
Difficulty with balance
Disorientation
Arm and leg weakness

 

Vitamin B-12 testing usually consists of two tests.
The first is a serum B-12 blood test to measure the amount of B-12 in the blood.
The second is a test to rule out any folic acid deficiency, which can mimic the symptoms of B-12 deficiency. If found to be vitamin B-12 deficient, monthly injections can sometimes control or even reverse the condition.

Foods high in vitamin B-12 may also be added to the diet to supplement the stores of B-12. Soy foods such as tofu and tempeh are very high in vitamin B-12. Many cereals and pasta products are fortified with vitamin B-12 although vegetarians may need to take B-12 supplements to get the required amounts. Other food sources are meat, shellfish, clams, crab and liver. Liver intake should be limited, however, because of its high cholesterol content.

Vitamin B-12 gels, administered by squeezing into the nose, are absorbed through the nasal membranes but are not widely recommended. The monthly injections are proven effective and are the most accepted and prescribed treatment.

 

Homocysteine levels and your memory function are not well known, even among well-educated physicians. Recent studies continue to shed light on the relationship that could affect your precious memory. They signal another strong warning to make sure you and your doctor regularly monitor your homocysteine levels and that you take a few simple nutritional steps daily to maintain a healthy homocysteine level.

In the September 2005 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a research team out of Boston headed by Dr. Katherine Tucker studied data from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.
Over an average of three years of follow up, it was found that certain cognitive decline was significantly associated with not only plasma homocysteine levels, but also folic acid, B6 and B12. It was noted that dietary folate protected against decline in verbal fluency as well. Elevations in homocysteine levels were also observed to be correlated with a decline in the ability to recall information. It was concluded that low B vitamin and high homocysteine concentrations appear to predict cognitive decline.

 

A second article also published in the edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition dealt with 816 subjects (Men and women with a mean age of 74 years old.) from an Italian population. Baseline plasma homocysteine levels were drawn.
Over an average of fours years of follow up,
112 of these individuals developed dementia, including
70 who were given a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
In those individuals with plasma homocysteine levels of greater than 15, the risk of dementia was over 200% higher, which was significant statistically.
Likewise, there was an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease of 211%, which was also highly statistically significant.
Additionally, low folic acid concentrations were associated with an increased risk of dementia, as well. It was found in a study published in the journal NeuroReport, July 2005 a lack of folic acid kills brain cells!
This two-fold increased risk of dementia was similarly noted in the well known Framingham Study so the results seem to corroborate those findings.

 

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