Friday, January 29, 2010

Constant stress linked to B12 defeciency.

Foggy thinking, debilitating tiredness and mood swings are on the rise as women absorb less and less of this critical vitamin.

According to Fred Pescatore, M.D., author of The Hamptons Diet (Wiley, 2005), "The body needs cobalamin to make red blood cells, activate metabolism enzymes and regulate muscle activity." He further explains, "And since B12 is also used to form the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves and ensures healthy signaling, shortages can lead to mental fogginess, mood imbalances and memory lapses." Long-tern consequences can include anemia, nerve damage and even dementia.

In fact, finding from a new survey reveal that Ameicans' soaring stress levels have increased their risk of ulcers and other GI complaints by over 300 percent. That's worrisome news, but adding to the problem is the fact that digestive complications - and the drugs we use to treat them - can lead to brain-robbing shortages of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). As a result, B12 deficiency seem to be growing more widespread" In a Tufts University study, nearly 40 percent of all female subjects were found to suffer from suboptional levels.

Thus, vitamins B12 can't do its job without stomach acids, notes naturopathic physican Holly Lucille, N.D., head of Healinh from Withing Heathcare in Los Angeles. "Gastric acid id what releases methylcobalamin, the food form of B12 from its protein bords so the vitamin can be absorbed," she explains. But since the body's acid production naturally declines with age, B12 malabsorption is common. For the same reason, acid-suppressing medications are problematic.

Another B12 obstacle is H.pylori, a bacterium that lives in the gut of 20 percent of women under age 40 and 50 percent of women over 60. "H.pylorcan damage parietal cells in the stomach," says Dr. Pescatore. "This reduces their output of intrinsic factor, the glyco-protein that transports B12 to the intestinal site where absorption occurs."

And the best help solution according to Dr. Pescatore is to eat 8 oz. servings of yogurt containing live and active cultures and Dr. Lucille advces supplement intake with at least 1,000 methylcobalamin a day, increasing the daily dose to 2,000 mcg. if you're over 40 or taking acid blockers instead.

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