ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

On-and-off fasting helps fight obesity, study finds

16 Tips from 16 Years Sick

Fibromyalgia Fare Fit for All Seasons

New Study Shows Artificial Sweeteners Lead to Diabetes

Essential Oils — An Effective and Healthy Option to Treat Headaches

Higher vitamin D levels associated with less severe disease in NAFLD patients

Can Pomegranates Slow Aging?

Krill Oil: Make This Omega-3 Supplement Part of Your Health Regimen

How zinc helps fight esophageal cancer

What Benefits Can You Get From High-Quality Whey Protein?

 
Print Page
Email Article

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency is More Common Than Thought

  [ 350 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • August 29, 2005


Vitamin B-12 deficiency may be the most common nutritional deficiency in the developing world, and maybe even in the U.S.," said Lindsay Allen at the annual Stare-Hegsted Lecture in Snyder Auditorium on March 31. Allen, the director of the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California, Davis, presented the lecture named for the late Fredrick Stare, the founding chair of the Department of Nutrition who died in 2002, and D. Mark Hegsted, HSPH professor emeritus. "We once thought B-12 deficiency was rare [in most populations] because it is so efficiently reabsorbed from bile,’" she said. "For example, it takes six years to deplete your store of B-12 if it’s not in your diet. But if you start off with smaller stores, you can become depleted in less than three years." B-12 (cobalamin), important in neurological development and function, is bound to proteins in food, especially to animal protein. Stomach acids and enzymes help separate the cobalamin from the protein, freeing the nutrient for absorption into the blood. A small amount is excreted into bile by way of the gall bladder, and then reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Bacteria and some parasites living in the digestive tract might interrupt this process. So can certain types of disorders and GI system deterioration caused by Helicobacter pylori as people age. Popular antacids interfere with B-12 absorption because they reduce the secretion of gastric acid that is needed to release the vitamin from food. It was commonly thought that only strict vegetarians, the elderly, and those with pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that causes only about two percent of the vitamin B-12 deficiency in the U.S.) had to worry about deficiency of the vitamin. However, Allen and her team have conducted research in Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and the U.S. that indicates B-12 deficiency is rampant, especially among the very young and very old. The prevalence is about 40 percent in studies in Latin America, and more than 22 percent in U.S. elderly over 65 years of age. Deficiency is even more common in some African countries, India, and Nepal. No demographic group is immune. Low plasma levels of B-12 have been reported in many studies of traditional vegetarians in Europe and Australia. One 1990 study of macrobiotic mothers in Boston showed insufficient levels of B-12 in breast milk, even in women who had followed a macrobiotic diet for as little as two to three years. Low in utero accumulation of B-12, followed by low concentrations in breast milk, can cause deficiencies in babies in developing countries. "These babies are born without even a chance to have reasonable stores in the beginning of life," said Allen. In Guatemala, about two-thirds of infants are deficient by seven months of age. School-age children in Guatemala with long-term B-12 deficiencies experience trouble learning, perform poorly on memory, reasoning, and perception tasks, and exhibit more aggressiveness than those with adequate B-12. People who consume little meat and do not take B-12 supplements or fortified foods are at high risk of B-12 depletion over time. Allen blamed long-term lack of B-12 for some instances of neurological damage in adults and in the elderly. If the problem is caught early enough, the damage might be reversed. But, deep myelination, or the erosion of the protective sheath around the axons of neurons, may not be reversible if B-12 deficiency is severe or long-term, she said. People do not need to eat a lot of meat or other kinds of food from animals, such as eggs and milk, to keep B-12 levels normal, and there’s no such thing as too much B-12, said Allen. One or two ounces a day is minimally sufficient. In a project in Kenya, children who had lacked B-12 were given meat and milk products in snacks at school for two years to bring their levels up to normal. They were also given tempeh, a vegetable product containing some useful B-12 because bacteria that live on the surface produce the nutrient, she said. Allen acknowledged that she has been criticized by the vegan community for what they perceive as anti-vegan comments — taken out of context by the press, she said. She recommends the following remedies to counteract and prevent the serious consequences of long-term and widespread B-12 deficiency: • Advocate the fortification of foods, especially flour, to slowly raise B-12 levels in the U.S. and in developing countries, where meat is scarce. • Reevaluate the effect of the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, or one that includes eggs and dairy, on plasma B-12 levels and its long-range consequences to be sure that it does not cause vitamin B-12 deficiency. • Develop better ways to measure B-12 absorption. • Starting at about age 55, encourage people to have their vitamin B-12 status checked. If deficient, advise them to take high-dose supplements (0.5-1 mg per day). • Initiate more research into cause-and-effect relationships between B-12 deficiency and disease or disabling conditions, especially for infants and young children. "If we want the FDA to fortify foods with vitamin B-12 or other nutrients, we must petition them," she added. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Nutrition. --PHC Harvard Public Health NOW is published biweekly by the Office of Communications
Harvard School of Public Health
665 Huntington Ave., SPH 1-1312
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
617-432-6052
Editor and Layout: Christina Roache
Contributing Writer: Paula Hartman Cohen, Carol Cruzan Morton Copyright 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College



Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil


Article Comments



Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment


 
Optimized Curcumin Longvida with Omega-3

Featured Products

Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®
Reduce Fatigue up to 45%
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get energized with malic acid & magnesium

Natural Remedies

Natural Support for Mood, Sleep and Mental Focus? L-theanine Natural Support for Mood, Sleep and Mental Focus? L-theanine
How to Jump-start and Sustain Energy Production in CFS How to Jump-start and Sustain Energy Production in CFS
Strontium - The Missing Mineral for Strong Bones Strontium - The Missing Mineral for Strong Bones
Health Benefits Are Brewing in Green Tea Health Benefits Are Brewing in Green Tea
Coping When Colds or Flu Catch Up with You Coping When Colds or Flu Catch Up with You

CONTACT US
ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE
Credit Card Processing
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
Get the latest news about Fibromyalgia, M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Natural Wellness

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2017 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map