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From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

[ Edited ]

Please, everybody, I'm posting this not to start a nutrition debate or argument.

 

It addresses  an issue that I bumped up against over the weekend, when an old friend said he has  been experiencing leg weakness despite receiving post-surgery physical therapy and being given huge amounts of prescribed Vitamin B12 to promote muscle strength.

 

I'm sure he's not alone with this problem, and I found the following info from the National Institutes of Health very interesting. Perhaps others will, too.

____________________

Groups at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency


The main causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include vitamin B12 malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia, postsurgical malabsorption, and dietary deficiency [12]. However, in many cases, the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is unknown. The following groups are among those most likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.


Older adults

Atrophic gastritis, a condition affecting 10%–30% of older adults, decreases secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, resulting in decreased absorption of vitamin B12 [5,11,35-39]. Decreased hydrochloric acid levels might also increase the growth of normal intestinal bacteria that use vitamin B12, further reducing the amount of vitamin B12 available to the body [40].


Individuals with atrophic gastritis are unable to absorb the vitamin B12 that is naturally present in food. Most, however, can absorb the synthetic vitamin B12 added to fortified foods and dietary supplements. As a result, the IOM recommends that adults older than 50 years obtain most of their vitamin B12 from vitamin supplements or fortified foods [5]. However, some elderly patients with atrophic gastritis require doses much higher than the RDA to avoid subclinical deficiency [41].


Individuals with pernicious anemia
Pernicious anemia, a condition that affects 1%–2% of older adults [11], is characterized by a lack of intrinsic factor. Individuals with pernicious anemia cannot properly absorb vitamin B12 in the gastrointestinal tract [3,5,9,10]. Pernicious anemia is usually treated with intramuscular vitamin B12. However, approximately 1% of oral vitamin B12 can be absorbed passively in the absence of intrinsic factor [11], suggesting that high oral doses of vitamin B12 might also be an effective treatment.


Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders
Individuals with stomach and small intestine disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, may be unable to absorb enough vitamin B12 from food to maintain healthy body stores [12,26]. Subtly reduced cognitive function resulting from early vitamin B12 deficiency might be the only initial symptom of these intestinal disorders, followed by megaloblastic anemia and dementia.


Individuals who have had gastrointestinal surgery
Surgical procedures in the gastrointestinal tract, such as weight loss surgery or surgery to remove all or part of the stomach, often result in a loss of cells that secrete hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor [5,42,43]. This reduces the amount of vitamin B12, particularly food-bound vitamin B12 [44], that the body releases and absorbs. Surgical removal of the distal ileum also can result in the inability to absorb vitamin B12. Individuals undergoing these surgical procedures should be monitored preoperatively and postoperatively for several nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin B12 deficiency [45].


Vegetarians
Strict vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk than lacto-ovo vegetarians and nonvegetarians of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because natural food sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods [5]. Fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are some of the only sources of vitamin B12 from plants and can be used as dietary sources of vitamin B12 for strict vegetarians and vegans. Fortified foods vary in formulation, so it is important to read the Nutrition Facts labels on food products to determine the types and amounts of added nutrients they contain.


Pregnant and lactating women who follow strict vegetarian diets and their infants
Vitamin B12 crosses the placenta during pregnancy and is present in breast milk. Exclusively breastfed infants of women who consume no animal products may have very limited reserves of vitamin B12 and can develop vitamin B12 deficiency within months of birth [5,46]. Undetected and untreated vitamin B12 deficiency in infants can result in severe and permanent neurological damage.


The American Dietetic Association recommends supplemental vitamin B12 for vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians during both pregnancy and lactation to ensure that enough vitamin B12 is transferred to the fetus and infant [47]. Pregnant and lactating women who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets should consult with a pediatrician regarding vitamin B12 supplements for their infants and children [5].


Vitamin B12 and Health
Cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in industrialized countries, such as the United States, and is on the rise in developing countries. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, high blood pressure, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, obesity, and diabetes [48].
Elevated homocysteine levels have also been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease [49-51]. Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid derived from methionine that is normally present in blood. Elevated homocysteine levels are thought to promote thrombogenesis, impair endothelial vasomotor function, promote lipid peroxidation, and induce vascular smooth muscle proliferation [49,50,52]. Evidence from retrospective, cross-sectional, and prospective studies links elevated homocysteine levels with coronary heart disease and stroke [49,52-61].


Vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6 are involved in homocysteine metabolism. In the presence of insufficient vitamin B12, homocysteine levels can rise due to inadequate function of methionine synthase [6]. Results from several randomized controlled trials indicate that combinations of vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements with or without vitamin B6 decrease homocysteine levels in people with vascular disease or diabetes and in young adult women [62-70]. In another study, older men and women who took a multivitamin/multimineral supplement for 8 weeks experienced a significant decrease in homocysteine levels [71].


Evidence supports a role for folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements in lowering homocysteine levels, but results from several large prospective studies have not shown that these supplements decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease [51,65-70]. In the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study, women at high risk of cardiovascular disease who took daily supplements containing 1 mg vitamin B12, 2.5 mg folic acid, and 50 mg vitamin B6 for 7.3 years did not have a reduced risk of major cardiovascular events, despite lowered homocysteine levels [68]. The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) 2 trial, which included 5,522 patients older than 54 years with vascular disease or diabetes, found that daily treatment with 2.5 mg folic acid, 50 mg vitamin B6, and 1 mg vitamin B12 for an average of 5 years reduced homocysteine levels and the risk of stroke but did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events [66]. In the Western Norway B Vitamin Intervention Trial, which included 3,096 patients undergoing coronary angiography, daily supplements of 0.4 mg vitamin B12 and 0.8 mg folic acid with or without 40 mg vitamin B6 for 1 year reduced homocysteine levels by 30% but did not affect total mortality or the risk of major cardiovascular events during 38 months of follow-up [69]. The Norwegian Vitamin (NORVIT) trial [65] and the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention trial had similar results [70].


The American Heart Association has concluded that the available evidence is inadequate to support a role for B vitamins in reducing cardiovascular risk [51].


Dementia and cognitive function
Researchers have long been interested in the potential connection between vitamin B12 deficiency and dementia [50,72]. A deficiency in vitamin B12 causes an accumulation of homocysteine in the blood [6] and might decrease levels of substances needed to metabolize neurotransmitters [73]. Observational studies show positive associations between elevated homocysteine levels and the incidence of both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia [6,50,74]. Low vitamin B12 status has also been positively associated with cognitive decline [75].


Despite evidence that vitamin B12 lowers homocysteine levels and correlations between low vitamin B12 levels and cognitive decline, research has not shown that vitamin B12 has an independent effect on cognition [76-80]. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 195 subjects aged 70 years or older with no or moderate cognitive impairment received 1,000 mcg vitamin B12, 1,000 mcg vitamin B12 plus 400 mcg folic acid, or placebo for 24 weeks [76]. Treatment with vitamin B12 plus folic acid reduced homocysteine concentrations by 36%, but neither vitamin B12 treatment nor vitamin B12 plus folic acid treatment improved cognitive function.
Women at high risk of cardiovascular disease who participated in the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study were randomly assigned to receive daily supplements containing 1 mg vitamin B12, 2.5 mg folic acid and 50 mg vitamin B6, or placebo [79]. After a mean of 1.2 years, B-vitamin supplementation did not affect mean cognitive change from baseline compared with placebo. However, in a subset of women with low baseline dietary intake of B vitamins, supplementation significantly slowed the rate of cognitive decline. In a trial conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study consortium that included individuals with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, daily supplements of 1 mg vitamin B12, 5 mg folic acid, and 25 mg vitamin B6 for 18 months did not slow cognitive decline compared with placebo [80]. Another study found similar results in 142 individuals at risk of dementia who received supplements of 2 mg folic acid and 1 mg vitamin B12 for 12 weeks [78].
The authors of two Cochrane reviews and a systematic review of randomized trials of the effects of B vitamins on cognitive function concluded that insufficient evidence is available to show whether vitamin B12 alone or in combination with vitamin B6 or folic acid has an effect on cognitive function or dementia [81-83]. Additional large clinical trials of vitamin B12 supplementation are needed to assess whether vitamin B12 has a direct effect on cognitive function and dementia [6].


Energy and endurance
Due to its role in energy metabolism, vitamin B12 is frequently promoted as an energy enhancer and an athletic performance and endurance booster. These claims are based on the fact that correcting the megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency should improve the associated symptoms of fatigue and weakness. However, vitamin B12 supplementation appears to have no beneficial effect on performance in the absence of a nutritional deficit [84].

 

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

[ Edited ]

I do appreciate the nutritional information, but...everyone is at risk of B12 deficiencies.  I won't go into the details because I don't wish to start a debate.  Many people are low (regardless of the groups mentioned above) in B12 and should be taking it or have it tested to confirm.  Very easy to take a tablet ( I do and I am not a supplement person) just as a preventative.

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

I just had my physical yesterday and mine was normal. 

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

Also, according to The Mayo Clinic:  Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from a balanced diet. However, older adults, vegetarians and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from foods might benefit from the use of oral supplements.

 

So, I take issue with the idea that everyone is at risk.  I don't think such a blanket statement should be made without substantiating information. You're just as likely to start a debate by omission as you are by providing controversial data.

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

[ Edited ]

No more commenting here.  I can see where this is headed.  Just do the research. Wishing everyone the best, as always.

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

[ Edited ]

@phoenixbrd wrote:

I do appreciate the nutritional information, but...everyone is at risk of B12 deficiencies.  I won't go into the details because I don't wish to start a debate.  Many people are low (regardless of the groups mentioned above) in B12 and should be taking it or have it tested to confirm.  Very easy to take a tablet ( I do and I am not a supplement person) just as a preventative.


@phoenixbrd 

Thank you for your participation with this topic.

🌿💚

I always question the source when they mention 'vegetarian'.

That, into itself, screams of old, out-dated thoughts. 

2nd post today from the same poster about B12?

I believe you & I, with our vegan/plant-based thoughts,  

are living rent-free in someone's mind I say to those so obsessed

with this...breathe & let it go. So much mis-information...if all that

time/effort to research the true information,  would see everyone

is at risk of B12 issues. Just a quick 2-second Google search would

yield that information. 


All this angst over a l.i.t.t.l.e. 500mcg tablet which can be taken daily

without taking the life of another sentient being. smh🙄

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency


@phoenixbrd wrote:

@sidsmom HeartHeartHeart


@phoenixbrd Right back at 'ya, little leafie🌿

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Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency

[ Edited ]

Medicines are  another reason people are deficient in vitamin B 12..This is why I get shots ,rather than take it orally

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Re: From NIH...Groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency


@sidsmom wrote:

@phoenixbrd wrote:

I do appreciate the nutritional information, but...everyone is at risk of B12 deficiencies.  I won't go into the details because I don't wish to start a debate.  Many people are low (regardless of the groups mentioned above) in B12 and should be taking it or have it tested to confirm.  Very easy to take a tablet ( I do and I am not a supplement person) just as a preventative.


@phoenixbrd 

Thank you for your participation with this topic.

🌿💚

I always question the source when they mention 'vegetarian'.

That, into itself, screams of old, out-dated thoughts. 

2nd post today from the same poster about B12?

I believe you & I, with our vegan/plant-based thoughts,  

are living rent-free in someone's mind I say to those so obsessed

with this...breathe & let it go. So much mis-information...if all that

time/effort to research the true information,  would see everyone

is at risk of B12 issues. Just a quick 2-second Google search would

yield that information. 


All this angst over a l.i.t.t.l.e. 500mcg tablet which can be taken daily

without taking the life of another sentient being. smh🙄


@sidsmom @phoenixbrd , this topic has turned into nothing more than a *issing contest at this point.  And I'm not talking about the 2 of you being the cause.