2017 And People Still Drink Milk From Other Animals Why Diabetics Should Check Their Vitamin B12 Levels Regularly

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Why Diabetics Should Check Their Vitamin B12 Levels Regularly

B12 is a rare vitamin with a unique chemical structure. Your body produces little of its own and its only major source is from eating animal protein, ie meat and fish.

However vitamin B12 is essential for healthy cells and a healthy nervous system.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) in 2009 indicated that approximately 6% of the general population aged 60 or over in Europe and North America is vitamin B12 deficient. The research also shows that this deficit increases as we get older.

By contrast, another study published in the same year is Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM) found that the rate of vitamin B12 deficiency among diabetics in Europe and North America averages 22% … more than three-and-a-half times the average average rate.

This study at JABFM also showed that the deficit was higher among diabetics who used Metformin to control their blood glucose levels.

In developing countries, according to research in the AJCN, a deficiency in vitamin B12 is more common and begins earlier in life. It gets worse as patients age.

Low consumption of meat (meat and pork) is considered the main reason. Indeed in countries where a vegetarian diet is the norm, more than two-thirds of the population is deficient in B12.

In addition, in adults, poor absorption during digestion is considered to be the main cause of the deficiency.

Therefore, if you are diabetic, vegetarian or elderly, it is important to check your vitamin B12 levels regularly.

A simple blood test does the trick. Your levels should be between 191 and 663 pg/mL (picogram per milliliter… a picogram is a trillionth of a liter).

This measures the amount of vitamin B12 in your blood, i.e. how much you have absorbed into your body after digestion.

Why is vitamin B12 important?

There are two reasons why vitamin B12 is important:

[1] It is important because it is needed to assist folate in making DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid), which carry and transmit the genetic information of every living cell.

Genetic information tells the cell how to function. This information must be transferred to a new cell each time the cell divides.

[2] Vitamin B12 also has a role in the production of myelin, which covers and protects nerve fibers. Without enough B12, the myelin sheath does not develop properly or stay healthy.

As a result, nerve transmission suffers. Eventually nerve damage becomes irreversible.

How your body absorbs and uses vitamin B12

B12… aka cyanocobalamin or cobalamin… is unique among vitamins.

This vitamin is water soluble and has a more complex chemical structure than all other vitamins, including those of the B complex. And it is the only vitamin that contains inorganic elements (cobalt) as an important part of her makeup.

Only bacteria and microorganisms can make vitamin B12.

Bacteria in the gut make some vitamin B12 but far, far less than the amount you need every day. So the only way to get enough B12 is to eat foods that contain it or to take supplements.

Bacteria are also at work in animals creating vitamin B12. So we see it in many foods made from animals.

Plant foods do not contain any vitamin B12 unless they are fortified. However, vitamin B12 is added to some processed foods.

Here are the main food sources of vitamin B12:

  • Beef liver and clams … excellent sources of B12

  • Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products … good sources of B12

  • Dried bean products, such as tempeh… are poor sources of B12

  • Some breakfast foods, nutritional yeast etc. have been fortified with B12.

But getting enough vitamin B12 is not enough to keep you healthy. Your body also needs to be able to use it.

Getting vitamin B12 from the food you eat is a two-step process.

First, your stomach acid has to separate B12 from the protein it binds to in the food you eat.

Then B12 has to be combined with real factoranother protein that the stomach makes, so that it can be absorbed into your body.

If the body can’t produce intrinsic factor, you won’t be able to absorb vitamin B12 and it will run out as well dangerous blood (lack of healthy red blood cells). If this happens, your only solution is to have regular injections of B12.

How much vitamin B12 do you need?

The recommended amount of vitamin B12 that you should get is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults, 2.6mcg per day for pregnant women, and 2.8mcg for women who are breastfeeding.

The typical American and European diet provides anywhere from 7 to 30mcg of B12, well above your daily requirements.

In addition, the average person who eats well can store a supply of B12 in the liver (unlike other vitamins) that can last five years or more.

But if you are a vegetarian (a strict vegetarian who does not eat eggs or drink milk) or if you have diabetes Beating-Diabetes Diet… which eliminates eggs and dairy products and reduces your meat consumption… you will need a daily supplement to ensure your intake is sufficient.

Certain medications can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb or use vitamin B12:

  • Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®), an antibiotic used to treat certain infections

  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec®) and lansoprazole (Prevacid®), used to treat acid reflux and peptic ulcers

  • Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid®), and ranitidine (Zantac®), used to treat peptic ulcers

  • Metformin, used to treat type 2 diabetes

Effects of vitamin B12 deficiency

When the supply of vitamin B12 in the body is reduced, the production of red blood cells slows down as DNA and RNA are reduced. This causes bleeding. The production of cells that line the intestine is also reduced.

A lack of vitamin B12 can also seriously damage your nervous system. If the absence continues for a long time, the damage to the organs can become irreversible.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

If you are slightly deficient in B12, you may not have any symptoms at all.

Symptoms of a mild deficiency in vitamin B12 include … fatigue … weakness … loss of appetite … weight loss … constipation. These symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions and the underlying problem is not always easy to identify.

Low levels of B12 can lead to serious complications, such as:

  • dangerous blood

  • paresthesia

  • neuropathy

Bloody blood means you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells. This deprives your cells of oxygen.

Just a study of the Journal of Oral Pathological Medicine less than 20% of people with B12 deficiency experience severe anemia.

Symptoms of anemia are…fatigue…pale skin…chest pain…dizziness…headache…loss of sense of taste…loss of sleep…rapid or irregular heartbeat…shortness of breath.

Paresthesia is a burning or tingling sensation of the skin, usually on the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Some people experience numbness, tingling, or a prickly feeling.

Neuropathy or nerve damage can be caused by a chronic deficiency in B12. The symptoms are the same diabetic neuropathy (caused by long-term high blood glucose) and with pain, numbness and weakness in the legs and arms (called peripheral neuropathy).

Chronic, long-term B12 deficiency can cause loss of mobility, difficulty walking, memory loss, delusions, and depression. It can even lead to dementia.

Treatment of B12 deficiency

Treatments for deficiency include taking vitamin B12 supplements in the form of:

  • tablets that are swallowed… either as part of a multi-vitamin or stand-alone B12 tablets

  • sublingual tablets that are dissolved under the tongue

  • nasal gels

  • needle

Vitamin B12 deficiency usually results from the body’s inability to absorb it… not from a lack of B12 in your diet.

This means that people who are deficient in B12 must take large doses of supplements. To ensure acceptance they need to take more than they will actually need.

This is not a problem because there are no reports that vitamin B12 causes toxicity or adverse effects even in very large amounts. In fact, it is often used as a placebo because it is not toxic.

Actually 1,000 mcg of B12 a day is a common recommendation, sometimes start with 2,000 mcg a day for the first month. These large amounts, several hundred times the recommended amount, ensure that at least some of it is accepted, even without a special factor.

This is borne out by medical studies that show that a large amount of active vitamin B12 can be obtained, even if your body cannot create the internal factor.

For example, methylcobalamin, a form of vitamin B12, can be absorbed when given in very large doses.

The accepted opinion is that the sublingual administration of B12 is thought to bypass the absorption problems related to the intestinal factor as it allows the vitamin to be absorbed directly into the vascular plexus… the complex of blood vessels that is in the land of the mouth.

But there is no evidence that B12 to let the tablet dissolve under the tongue is better taken than taking it.

The effect of nasal gels is also unproven.

Severe anemia is often treated with injections of 50 or 100 mcg of vitamin B12 three times a week. As these go directly into your bloodstream, they bypass the need for a physical agent. These injections may need to be continued throughout life.

Take-aways

You need to make sure you are taking the right amount of vitamin B12 so that your body can use it effectively:

  • Vitamin B12 is important for healthy cells and a healthy nervous system.

  • Compared to non-diabetics, diabetics are three to four times more likely to be deficient in B12.

  • Diabetics and vegans should have their B12 levels checked regularly.

  • B12 is important because it is needed to make: DNA and RNA for new cells every time a cell divides… myelin to protect nerve fibers.

  • Your body makes little B12 itself… its main sources are foods made from animals.

  • To get it, B12 must combine with intrinsic factor, a protein made in your gut.

  • If the body cannot produce intrinsic factor, you will not be able to use the B12 you take.

  • If you are European or American you probably get a lot of B12, unless you are: vegan… diabetic and taking Metformin… Stroke-Diabetes diet…take medications that interfere with your body’s ability to absorb or use B12

  • Low levels of B12 can lead to … pernicious anemia (not enough healthy red blood cells) … paresthesia (burning or itchy skin) … neuropathy (nerve damage similar to neuropathy diabetic) … loss of mobility, loss of memory, dementia etc

  • Treatments include taking B12 as a supplement in very high doses to ensure that some of it is absorbed … it can be … tablets that are swallowed … sublingual tablets that dissolve under the skin body … nasal gels. .. needle

  • B12 is not toxic and you cannot overdose

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