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Posts Tagged ‘body’

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Have you checked your Vitamin B12 levels lately? If you’re over 30, then you should; your chances of becoming deficient increase with age.

What are some of the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased aggression
  • depression

Most of us eat about 15 mcg. of Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) everyday, which is more than the USRDA of only 2 mcg.  Good sources include most meat, fish and dairy products. However, scientists recommend 200 times that amount in order to prevent getting Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Why you need Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy red blood cell reproduction and neurological functioning. A deficiency can have serious consequences which, left untreated, can be life threatening.

Diseases resulting from Vitamin B12 deficiency include:


Megaloblastic anemia


Neurological illness

Peripheral neuropathy


Combined systems disease

Psychiatric illness


Loss of short-term memory, dementia


Psychotic behavior

Cardiovascular disease

Increased likelihood for heart attack or stroke

Three Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

1) Nutrition

Foods that are highest in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, beef and cheese. Vegans are at high risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency and must take regular vitamin supplements to compensate.

2) Malabsorption syndromes

Some people are unable to utilize the Vitamin B12 found in food products and tend to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an example of an autoimmune disease which results from a low presence of the intrinsic factor antibody, which attaches itself to and aids in the absorption of Vitamin B12.

3) Gastrointestinal causes

Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is another common cause of low Vitamin B12 since excess stomach acids make it difficult for the body to absorb Vitamin B12 properly.

Sufferers of Crohn’s disease are at particular risk and must supplement with vitamins in order to avoid severe malnourishment.

Patients who have had gastric bypass or other intestinal surgery are likely to develop B12 deficiency due to bacterial residue.

Treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have Vitamin B12 Deficiency; a simple blood test is all that is required for a diagnosis.

Once Vitamin B12 deficiency is determined your physician will prescribe a regimen of Vitamin B12 supplements, usually in the form of intramuscular injections followed up by sublingual tablets.


American Family Physician


Web MD

Wall Street Journal



Teen Mental Illness: Unnoticed, Undiagnosed in America

Monday, January 24th, 2011

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently sponsored a US study which focused on a group of over 10,000 teens between the ages of 13-18.

  • Out of those studied, 20% suffered from mental illness.
  • Out of that group only 36.2% were receiving any type of medical or psychological attention.
  • While the most severe forms of mental illness were most likely to receive treatment, only half were in the process of being treated, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Out of the teens who received services, 59.8% were diagnosed with attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD); others who were receiving aid were those categorized with some type of defiant conduct behavioral disorder.
  • Teens who suffered from an anxiety or eating disorder were least likely to have been in any sort of behavioral program- only 20%.
  • Hispanics and blacks youths who suffered anxiety were less likely to be in treatment than Caucasians.
  • Girls were more likely than boys to receive therapy for anxiety disorder; boys were more likely to be receiving treatment for AD/HD.

Parents, be on the lookout for depression in your teen; here are 10 warning signs, as reported by Fox News:

  • Passivity, less inclined to cry when something is troubling her/him
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden detachment from activities or interests that were previously enjoyable
  • Vocalizing feelings which indicate lack of self-worth
  • Interruption of sleeping habits, like oversleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Misperception, likeliness to be confused by more things than usual
  • Decreased academic performance
  • Substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs
  • Paranoia

Get proper diagnosis.

Only a trusted psychologist can correctly diagnose teen depression or any other form of mental illness.  Governmental programs such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the federal Children’s Mental Health Initiative are working to improve mental health facilities nationwide.

Encourage your teenager to eat healthy.

It might seem like following a healthy diet is less of a priority when faced with the symptoms of depression, but many doctors have found that deficiencies such as low vitamin b12 may contribute to depression; in some cases vitamin b12 deficiency may be the sole reason for the sudden change in behavior.

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as clinical depression.

The Mayo Clinic confirms a correlation between b12 deficiency and symptoms of depression. Warning signs of vitamin b12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, increased violent tendencies, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite. Sound familiar? Many are the same symptoms above-mentioned for clinical depression.

A blood test is required to determine whether vitamin b12 deficiency is present; if you are tested positive then your physician will recommend supplementation, which may be administered as an injection, sublingual tablet, or spray.


MSN News

Yahoo News

Watch this motivating video.


Anita Patterson Peppers

B Today, Hair Tomorrow

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Hair loss got you down, as in down the drain? Women’s hair loss, male pattern baldness- it all amounts to the same impairment. But don’t throw in the bath towel just yet; here are a few treatments for hair loss that include changes you can make to your diet right now to put the breaks on that receding hairline and give you shinier, healthier hair.

  • Wholesome foods are just that- they benefit the body as a whole; what’s good for your digestive system is also good for your hair, skin and nails. Eating a variety of lean proteins, dairy, healthy oils, legumes and fruits and vegetables every day will ensure that your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly inside and out.
  • Remember, fat is not a four-letter word.  “Good” fats are anti-inflammatories which keep your hair shiny and lush. Avoid saturated hydrogenated oils like margarine and opt instead for unsaturated canola. Elect to make one day of the week as “fish dinner” night, as well as supplementing with a daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids for lustrous locks.
  • Beware of iron deficiency.  Particularly, women approaching middle age are at risk of developing anemia, a symptom of which is hair loss.  When taking an iron supplement or having an iron-rich meal such as fortified cereal or spinach quiche, remember to include a dose of vitamin c for maximum impact.
  • Many women who experience premature balding suffer vitamin b12 deficiency, a condition which often leads to pernicious anemia.  Other symptoms include chronic fatigue, short-term memory loss, tingling in the extremities and nausea. Vitamin b12 deficiency is usually caused by a diet low in eggs, meat and poultry; standard vegan diets do not maintain a sufficient amount of vitamin b12 and are often a factor in vitamin b12 deficiency.  A blood test by a physician is necessary to determine a deficiency in vitamin b12, in which a dose of 1000 mcg. of b12 is generally prescribed.
  • Another b vitamin, biotin, is also essential for a healthy head of hair; not only is biotin the key ingredient for development of hair follicles, it actually regulates all hair, nail and skin functioning.  While biotin is found in some food products like egg yolks a 3 mg. supplement is required to get an adequate supply.
  • Choose silicone-enhanced shampoos and conditioners which coat the follicles with a silky surface for less tugging and strand pulling while combing.


Web MD

Evil Erin

Don’t be a Glutton for Gluten

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Today’s health food stores stock a wide variety of goods to meet the needs of every diet known to mankind- low fat, low sugar, processed-free, nondairy, low carb, high protein…but what gives with gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in grain products such as wheat, spelt and barley, among others.  Patients of celiac disease, a disorder which distresses the small intestines, have trouble digesting such products and are thus advised to follow a gluten-free diet.  Health food aisles abound with gluten-free cake mixes, breads and pastas.  Hundreds of recipe web sites offer creative suggestions for gluten-free living.

Rewind to thirty years ago, and most people would probably have not heard of celiac disease.  So, how did celiac disease suddenly become a household name?  Modernization provides a key – despite the advice from numerous health experts, we Americans still love our Wonder bread; those light, airy loaves cannot be produced without rich, glutinous dough, and agriculturalists have been striving to deliver the most highly glutinous crops of wheat available in order to meet our demands.

Another culprit might be commercial yeast, which has replaced sourdough yeast as the preferred rising agent among bread makers. According to a report published by Applied and Environmental Microbiology, sourdough yeast contains bacteria which break down the gluten in the dough, thereby reducing the likeliness of bowel irritation.  Commercial yeasts offer no such protection.

Celiac disease can lead to other complications such as osteoporosis, anemia resulting from B12 deficiency, fatigue and weight gain, to name just a few. Incidences of celiac disease are rising, either due to increased wheat consumption or the public’s rising awareness of the disorder.

A doctor’s visit is required in order to ascertain whether one is suffering from celiac or from gluten intolerance, the latter of which is less harmful.  Although gluten intolerance does not create any lasting damage, some experts believe that the continuance of a high-gluten diet might lead to an eventual celiac disease diagnosis.

B-Gone, Heart Disease

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

A study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that regular intake of vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and B9 (folate) can prevent premature death of heart disease and stroke.

The Japanese study proves that women who eat foods enriched vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are less likely to suffer heart attack or die of a stroke.  Japanese men who eat B-rich foods are less likely to suffer heart failure.

These findings confirm similar studies which have been conducted in the US and Europe, all of which came to the same conclusion; B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folate are essential for cardiovascular health.

Through the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, a survey which collected data on the dietary habits of over 85,000 Japanese between the ages of 40 and 79, scientists were able to gain information on a correlation between the amount of B vitamin intake and likeliness of mortality from heart disease and stroke.   Out of the 85,000 men and women studied, 986 died from stroke, 424 perished from heart attack and over 2,000 died from a variety of heart-related illnesses – all in a 14-year time frame.

Scientists grouped test subjects into five categories, varying in relation to B6, B12 and folate intake.  Of the female test subjects who ate the lowest amounts of B6, B12 and folate, more were likely to die of stroke or heart attack than those who ate a moderate amount of B vitamins.  Similarly, men who consumed the least B vitamins were more likely to die from cardiovascular illness than others.  Of the test subjects who reported eating a steady diet of B6, B12 and folate, fewer suffered mortalities related to stroke or heart disease than counterparts from any of the other groups.

Scientists believe that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid which many doctors believe increase one’s risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke.  Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid prevent the accumulation of homocysteine.  Eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes and fish are excellent ways to get B vitamins.  However, many suffer from an inability to completely digest B12, resulting in B12 deficiency.  Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling in the extremities.

How Long Does it Take to Become Deficient in Vitamin B12?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

To answer this question a little back ground is in order. A healthy adult with a well balanced diet never has to worry about Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in all animal based food products, meats, dairy, eggs, fish, cheese and any other product that comes from animals. So in absence of illness that would prevent the absorption of Vitamin B12, deficiency is unlikely.

Of all the represented groups that do not have a disease, vegetarians run the greatest risk of suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency. The onset is typically about two years after the person becomes a vegetarian. Some vegetarians never realize the health implications of abstaining from animal products. There are important nutrients that the body cannot function without found in animal products. Supplementing the diet with Vitamin B12 supplements will prevent the Vitamin B12 deficiency. In some cases the vegetarian is faced with a twofold problem, a low ability to absorb Vitamin B12 that was preexisting and the lack of animal products in the diet, which supplies no Vitamin B12 at all. The vegetarian that suffers two fold will very likely face a Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

The onset of the illness will occur in about two years from the time the decision is made to abstain from animal products, a smart medical professional will do a brief history and once it is determined that the sick person is a vegetarian a simple blood test will be taken to determine the Vitamin B12 levels. In some instances the vegetarian will be misdiagnosed because of a too brief background investigation. Treatments will probably include Vitamin B12 shots to regulate the levels. The shots will be given every other day for around two weeks than on a monthly basis.

Disease and Medication
There are a couple of diseases that are linked to the inability to absorb Vitamin B12. Pernicious Anemia is one of those diseases. Pernicious Anemia destroys the cells in the stomach that absorb Vitamin B12, in the case of Pernicious Anemia the Vitamin B12 deficiency is immediate, the treatment is Vitamin B12 shots in high doses which sometimes help and sometimes does not help, the theory is that if the Vitamin B12 is present at very high levels at least some of it will be absorbed. Some folks have very high levels of homocysteine an amino acid (although not actually a disease) that also prevents the absorption of Vitamin B12.

There are some medications that are used for the treatment of heartburn and ulcers that also may cause trouble with the absorption of Vitamin B12 resulting in Vitamin B12 deficiency, typically the onset of the Vitamin B12 deficiency will occur within about twelve months of starting the medication. The medication slowly erodes the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency usually goes undetected for a great deal of time, many people are misdiagnosed with other diseases, because it is rather rare unless the previous situations listed exist. It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly how long it takes to become deficient in Vitamin B12. There is usually no baseline information to compare the results to, so it is purely guess work.

Foods That Naturally Contain Vitamin B 12

Monday, December 28th, 2009

The benefits of Vitamin B 12 have been long known. During the nineteen sixties and seventies Vitamin B 12 shots were frequently offered at the family Doctor’s office to assist with a list of ailments, it was a very common practice than during the nineteen eighties and nineties it was kind of shelved as other products were more prevalently offered to treat ailments. Vitamin B12 is a complex combination of necessary nutrients that sustains metabolism and assists in the production of red blood cells, a Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as a slew of illnesses. A simple blood test can determine if there is a Vitamin B12 deficiency but it is often overlooked. There are primarily two ways to insure that the Vitamin B12 levels are sufficient. The first way is the simplest, through a well rounded diet; the second way is through supplements.

Delivery Methods of Vitamin B12
There are quite a few delivery methods of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can be delivered via, tablets, capsules, sublingual drops and shots. The most common form of delivery is through tablets, capsules and pills. It is the simplest and most common way for folks to take a Vitamin B 12 supplement. Oddly enough it is the least effective way of taking Vitamin B 12. The body usually does not recognize the pill as nutrients and it passes through the system without much absorption taking place. There are some Vitamin B12 tablets that are manufactured from crushed food particles, studies show that the crushed food particle tablets are absorbed better than the traditional tablets.
Vitamin B12 sublingual drops are one of the most effective delivery methods of Vitamin B 12. The drops are placed under the tongue and quickly absorbed into the blood stream by the many arteries that are located under the tongue. The most effective artificial delivery method of Vitamin B 12 is the Vitamin B 12 shots. All of these methods will deliver supplemental Vitamin B 12 to the body, but they are all artificial methods of delivering Vitamin B 12. Most people will get all the Vitamin B 12 they need from the food they eat as long as they eat it in appropriate quantities.

List Of Foods
Vitamin B 12 is generally found in foods that are derived from animal products, it is not generally found in vegetation. The following is a brief list of food that naturally contain Vitamin B 12:

1 Beef Liver
2 Beef Steak
3 Ground Beef
4 Trout
5 Salmon
6 Haddock
7 Tuna
8 Ham and Other Pork Products
9 Chicken
10 Cheeses
11 Eggs
12 Whole Milk

As part of a well rounded diet Vitamin B 12 can be easily absorbed and processed by the body. The body easily recognizes the nutrients when they come from food. Diets that are high in low fat animal products will supply the body with an ample amount of Vitamin B12 and in absence of a medical condition should be a sufficient supply according to the Recommended Daily Allowances according to published reports by the US Department of Agriculture.

Risks of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Vitamin B12 is a key component of several body functions. Vitamin B12 plays a key role in the manufacturing of red blood cells, keeps the nervous system working correctly and is key in brain functions.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency ranges from virtually unnoticeable to dementia. Obviously the variable is the extent of time that the deficiency has been present. Normally a person will begin by feeling a bit run down. The first visit to the doctor normally results in being misdiagnosed. Maybe anemia will be diagnosed. Maybe nothing will be diagnosed, unless a blood test is specifically run to determine if the proper levels of Vitamin B12 is apparent than the factor will remain unknown, and usually this is not a common part of a blood panel work up, it has to be requested by the health care provider specifically.

As time passes and the condition is not treated, the symptoms will become much more complex. The complexity of the symptoms will also range from headaches to light headedness to forget fullness and the energy level will be way down. There can be some lasting damage is the condition is not caught and treated by this stage.

Host of Increased Health Problems

The risks of Vitamin B12 deficiency range from Vitamin B12 deficiency based anemia to stroke. The risks include neuropsychiatry disorders. Depression can sometimes be attributed to Vitamin B12 deficiency as can memory loss, dementia and at its worse psychosis. With these neurological disorders simply increasing the dosage of Vitamin B12 to cure the deficiency does not necessarily cure the disorders, because the nervous system, by the time these symptoms present themselves may have been permanently damaged. The incidence of neurological illness is prevalent in the older members of society primarily effecting those sixty two years and older when the body’s natural ability to absorb Vitamin B12 is already naturally declining. Many of whom are misdiagnosed over and over upon the initial consult, complaining of fatigue it is attributed to old age.

Cardiovascular risk factors also increase in cases of prolonged Vitamin B12 deficiency. The increase of myocardial infarction and stroke increase dramatically when there is a prolonged Vitamin B12 deficiency. This heart damage may also be irreversible. Stroke is also increased as a result of prolonged deficiency.

There are also some connections between Vitamin B12 deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease. The research is still in its earliest phases and no conclusions have been made yet, but it is hypothesized with strong anecdotal evidence to support the theory that Vitamin B12 deficiency may play a strong role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The theory is that Vitamin B12 deficiency when prolonged damages the dendrites in the brain and causes sections of the nervous system to die out, resulting in an increased risk of memory loss and dementia.

The risks of Vitamin B12 deficiency are evident and very preventable, a balanced diet and periodic screens can offset any potential problems.

Types of Vitamin B12 Supplements

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Vitamin B12 is an important complex vitamin that is needed for an array of proper body functions.

Normally Vitamin B12 can reach sufficient levels in the body through diet. There are some cases where enough Vitamin B12 is not being received. In the case where there may be dietary restrictions that will prevent enough of the Vitamin B12 animal products to be consumed, or if there is medication that is being taken that may interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B12 supplements may be the answer.

Oral Supplements

Oral supplements are usually sold over the counter and do not require a prescription although there are prescription strength Vitamin B12 oral supplements available.

There are a couple of oral delivery methods for Vitamin B12 supplements. The most popular is the simple pill form because it is the easiest way to take the Vitamin B12 supplements, however this may be the least effective way for the Vitamin B12 to be absorbed.

There are more efficiently absorbed methods of taking an oral Vitamin B12 supplement. The sublingual method is very effective. The sublingual method is when the supplement is placed under the tongue. This oral form of the supplement can be in drops or melt away tablets. The drops are easier to use than the melt away tablets. Some people complain about the feeling of the melt away tablets held under the tongue, the drops sometimes give off a sensation of heat, that also leaves some users complaining. The sublingual option might be a tad bit uncomfortable for some folks but it is the best delivery option for the oral supplements.

B12  Shots

In severe cases of pernicious Anemia a constant supply of Vitamin B12 may be warranted, or even in cases where the deficiency is major a B12 shot may be prescribed.

Shots, no one likes to get shots, but in some cases it will be the best option for getting the Vitamin B12 supplementation. Usually the shots are given in a rotational schedule, two weeks on than a break for a few weeks than again for two weeks. Usually the shots are given every other day during the two weeks. This rotation will continue until blood work shows that the Vitamin B12 levels are within range of normal.

Types of Vitamin B12 supplements can be found in many delivery methods to fit any needs.

Vitamin B12 Benefits

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Vitamin B12 benefits have been proven scientifically. The science behind the vitamin b12 benefits has prompted vitamin b12 to be produced in all types of forms. There are injectable forms of vitamin b12 and there are ingestible forms of vitamin b12. The use of vitamin b12 as an elixir for all types of physical maladies is nothing new. The practice of using vitamin b12 has been around for quite some time.

Vitamin B12 Benefits

Vitamin b12 benefits are numerous and span from the youngest members of society to the oldest. Vitamin b12 benefits for the body include:

• Keeping melatonin levels up
• Alleviating depression
• Treatment for Alzheimer’s
• Treatment of asthma in children
• Support and increase the immune system in adults and children
• Increased metabolic rate

It would seem that the vitamin b12 benefits run the gamut of health issues. Vitamin b12 benefits may also include the treatment of HIV, the precursor to AIDS.

How Does Vitamin B12 Work?

Vitamin b12 is actually separate b vitamins. There is thiamine, riboflavin, biotin and folic acid amongst others. These individual vitamins work on different structures of the human body. These vitamins are utilized by the body on a molecular level and are used in the production of red blood cells, immunity cells, muscle fibers and other molecular structures. The vitamin b12 is an integral part of the chemical makeup of the human body.

Where Does it Come From?

Vitamin b12 is normally received through food sources. Most diets provide enough vitamin b12 on a daily basis. There are some diseases that deplete the body of vitamin b12. Pernicious anemia is a condition where the vitamin b12 found in diets is not enough, and supplements need to be taken. With pernicious anemia the body does not process the vitamin b12 the way it is supposed to, so supplements are introduced to increase the amount of vitamin b12 in the body with the hope that the overwhelming amount will cause some of the vitamin b12 to be absorbed. Vitamin b12 benefits can be realized with the minimal amounts that are require each day. Supplementing vitamin b12 may or may not increase the benefits of vitamin b12. A medical professional is a good source to use to determine in vitamin b12 benefits will increase with the use of a supplement to the diet.

Vitamin B12 Supplements

Vitamin b12 supplements can be purchased at any health food store, grocery store, drug store or warehouse discount store. Supplements usually come in pill or liquid form. Vitamin b12 benefits are clear and if the diet is not providing the recommended daily allowance than supplements would be a good choice.

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