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Posts Tagged ‘Homocysteine levels and heart attacks’

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

 

 

About half the population has a gene mutation making them prone to genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, according to researchers, which would explain the growing epidemic of pernicious anemia from untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. About 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12, and many don’t even realize it until the debilitating symptoms begin to set in. Here are the facts on genetic vitamin B12 deficiency.

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

The MTHFR gene and B12 Deficiency

Everybody has two MTHFR genes, one from each parent. These genes are necessary for efficiently converting vitamin B12 to a usable form, and in effect also maintaining healthy homocysteine levels.

If you have defective MTHFR genes, then you’re not able to convert cobalamin to usable vitamin B12 as effectively as somebody without the gene defect.

However, nearly 50% of all people have a defected MTHFR gene from one parent, and 10% have mutated MTHFR genes from both parents, making them more likely to suffer genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, and also elevated levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries and increased risk for heart attack.

Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complicated process, and there are many things that can go wrong. Certain health conditions, medications, invasive surgeries, dietary restrictions, and yes- genetics- can impede your ability to digest vitamin B12 properly from food sources and vitamin supplements.

Common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Vegan and vegetarian dieting
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and fibromyalgia
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • MTHFR gene mutations
  • Gastrointestinal infections or illnesses, such as leaky gut, Crohn’s, celiac, and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Bariatric surgeries or ilium removal for Crohn’s treatment
  • Medications such as metformin for diabetes and PPIs for GERD
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

Find out if you have genetic B12 Deficiency

There are several ways of finding out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, including plasma vitamin B12 level screening, complete blood count (CBC) and homocysteine blood screening for Hyperhomocysteinemia.

As for testing for the MTHFR gene mutation, there are no official guidelines as to who should be tested. So unless you request a test for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency from a doctor who is able to comply, then your best bet is to stay on top of vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels, and supplement daily with vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6.

Treating vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’re tested with genetic vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a gene mutation, or any form of vitamin B12 deficiency that doesn’t stem from diet, then it’s absolutely essential to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other severe malnutrition. Diet alone will not provide you the amount of vitamin B12 needed in order to prevent pernicious anemia.

Please tell us…

Would you consider getting tested for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency? Do one or both parents also have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Disease- Scientists find New Cause

Image courtesy of dream designs/freedigitalphotos

Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, and your Heart

Friday, November 9th, 2012

 

 

For optimum heart health, check your vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels regularly. That’s correct! Most people understand the importance of exercise and a healthy low-fat diet in preventing heart attacks, but a vast majority are unaware of the link between homocysteine and heart disease, and the important role that vitamin B12 plays in cardiovascular health.

Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, and your Heart- B12 Patch

What is homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body produces while digesting protein foods such as meat, chicken, and fish (all excellent sources of vitamin B12).

In healthy individuals, homocysteine is broken down immediately and removed from your blood supply with the help of these important nutrients: vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6.

Elevated levels of homocysteine, or hyperhomocysteinemia, often occurs as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to low levels of vitamin B6 and folate.

Without healthy levels of vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6, your homocysteine levels will continue to escalate to a dangerous high.

Is homocysteine bad for you?

Scientists have noted high homocysteine levels in people suffering from debilitating health problems involving the heart, blood vessels, and the brain.

High levels of homocysteine is now considered a risk factor for heart disease and blood vessel disease, as researchers confirm a high correlation between heart attacks, stroke and a deficiency in vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate.

Homocysteine may be involved in hardening of the arteries, fatty deposits in the peripheral arteries and the formation of dangerous blood clots.

Scientists have also cited a link between high homocysteine and cognitive disorders, such as age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, noting vitamin B12 deficiency and low folate as factors that often correlate with memory problems in elderly patients with unusually high homocysteine levels.

Researchers believe that many other illnesses may be directly related to low vitamin B12 and high homocysteine, including osteoporosis and problems with pregnancies, such as miscarriages or premature births.

Where does vitamin B12 fit in?

It’s difficult (and expensive) to constantly test for homocysteine levels. Most hospitals don’t offer routine homocysteine screening as part of their cardiovascular health care options.

It’s much easier to regulate homocysteine naturally, by maintaining high levels of vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6 at all times.

To find out if you have enough vitamin B12, it’s good to receive a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency, especially if you are a high risk for heart disease.

More importantly, though, it’s important to be aware of the all the possible symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as many of the blood tests for low B12 are inaccurate.

Also read: Why B12 Blood Tests are an Epic Fail

Who gets vitamin B12 deficiency?

Many people are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, as it’s one of the leading causes of malnourishment in developed countries such as the US, Europe, and the UK.

Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Vegan dieting
  • Illnesses such as fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, or lupus, which cause damage to the stomach linings
  • Bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or ileostomy
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes medications (metformin)
  • GERD medications (PPI’s)

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Early warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion (brain fog)
  • Anxiety
  • Painful tingling, burning, or numbness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Muscle spasms
  • Eye twitches
  • Sore tongue
  • Difficulty walking without stumbling (gait disturbances)
  • Difficult controlling arm and leg movements
  • Heart palpitations or panting

Also read: Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List

Treating vitamin B12 deficiency

Once diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, your homocysteine levels will return to normal, and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency will abate, only upon immediate and thorough supplementation of vitamin B12.

Your doctor will decide the amount of vitamin B12 injections of sublingual tabs you need in order to get well, but many patients experience a speedier and fuller recovery with the addition of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements, as well.

Please tell us…

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid- What’s the Connection?

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

Sources:

Heart Disease and Homocysteine

High Homocysteine … A Risk to Your Heart?

Image(s) courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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