Why is B12 so important?

The methylation pathway is vital for mental health. Variants in methylation can lead to depression, poor detox and oxidative stress. B12 is an essential nutrient in methylation. A deficiency may be associated with a genetic variant, a poor diet, a vegetarian or vegan diet, as well as low acid conditions in the stomach, which worsen as we age. With so many of us taking medications for heartburn, particularly those of us in the older age group, it is wise to keep an eye on our B12 levels.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency
• Dementia
• Ataxia, falls
• Paresthesia
• Weakness, dizziness
• Numbness, tingling, pins and needles
• Confusion
• Psychosis
• Megaloblastic macrocytic anaemia
• Mild leukopenia or thrombocytopenia

Mental changes with low b12
• Irritability
• Apathy
• Sleepiness
• Suspiciousness (paranoia)
• Personality disorders
• Depression

Treatment for B12 deficiency: Test first, then provide vitamin B cofactors and B12 in an easily absorbed form. It may also be necessary to increase stomach acid through supplements and diet. Some medications, including Proton Pump inhibitors (Omeprazole), will also act to reduce B12 (recent research link below).

Mental Changes with Low Folate

Low folate status has been linked to late life depression. Possibly due to poor digestion and low B12.

Folate absorption is directly linked to levels of B12. So it is essential to keep B12 levels raised enough, in order to maintain folate absorption.

Let me take a look at your blood test results for B12 and folate. Accepted medical ranges are very wide and symptoms can be present within these ranges, particularly if absorption is a problem.

An Organic Acid Test (OAT) shows how well you are absorbing B12 and other B vitamins.

Best wishes for a full and happy life.

Resources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6054240/ 

About the Author

Louella Wood

Registered Naturopath DipNat, member NZSN, AIMA. BA (Hons)Env. Std., Dip.Tch. Working at Whangarei Natural Health, Whangarei.