B-12 Deficiency – A New Player in Chronic Illnesses - Hyperlipidemia, Diabetes, Neuropathy and Gestational Diabetes
Feeling sluggish, fatigued and you can’t blame your thyroid – what do you do? Now, there is an alternative reason and a treatment for it . . . before it’s too late.
The association between fatigue and low B-12 is not a new concept. What is new is how many chronic illnesses B12 deficiency is found in, the widening scope of a problem not necessarily identifiable by a common lab test and very rarely treated. The effects of the deficiency, such as dementia or neuropathy, may become permanent.
In late 2015 Vitamin B-12 deficiency was highlighted again as an ever growing safety threat to our population’s health, longevity and quality of life. It had come to light that the consequences of B12 deficiency may be far more profound than anyone has yet to imagine.
Studies came to light showing that Metformin, a drug commonly used with Type 2 Diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, causes B12 deficiency and independently contributes to the development of peripheral neuropathy. Only 60 % of the diabetic subjects had any symptoms. Bottom line? Long term treatment with metformin yields approximately a 19% reduction in vitamin B12 levels resulting in a 5% greater heart wrecking homocysteine level.
Furthermore, vitamin B12 deficiency does not always show up in the typical lab work. A metabolite called methylmalonic acid must be measured.
That isn’t the end of the story. It makes one wonder how much vitamin deficiencies are involved with chronic disease. A deeper look at B12 deficiencies show that B12 deficiency is associated with high blood fats, hyperlipidemias in individuals with diabetes on or off metformin. The relationship is so strong that in 2014 there was a discussion of automatic screening for B-12 deficiency be done on all individuals with diabetes and a pill be developed that combined metformin with B12. This has been brought up again in 2018 as a resounding problem without a workable solution in place.
If that isn’t bad enough, low B12 has been found in those who are obese and have gestational diabetes. A deficiency during pregnancy can affect the baby’s growth and development not to mention cognitive development.
Is it out of line to start questioning just how much vitamin and nutrient deficiencies contribute to our chronic diseases? That medications given to alleviate problems create more serious nutritional problems? That the nutritional deficiencies created, or already present but not looked, for are at the bottom of many problems?
The time to address the medical nutritional needs of patients is urgent, neglected and has come to the forefront of the nation’s attention.