Tag Archives: Vitamin B12 deficiency

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Bundle Of Joy:-

Q: My grandmother wraps up children in a bed sheet all the time so that they cannot move. She says it makes them sleep better.

A: She is following an ancient practice called “swaddling”. This involves wrapping the baby so that its hands and legs are inside the sheet. Newborn babies sleep better when they are swaddled as it makes them feel they are still in the womb. But this should be discontinued after 10-14 days as the baby needs to move its arms and legs freely to grow and develop normally.

By-pass surgery :-
Q: I am a 58-year-old woman. I underwent hysterectomy at 40. Of late, I’ve been developing a vague chest pain while climbing stairs. I consulted a cardiologist. He did an angiogram and said I had triple vessel block and advised immediate by-pass surgery. A second surgeon, however, said that since I had well-developed collaterals, there was no need for surgery now. He advised revaluation with a stress test every year.

A: I would go with the more conservative approach and not of the knife-happy surgical team. If your collaterals are well developed, you can probably continue indefinitely without a problem. You need to make sure the collaterals stay patent by walking an hour a day on level ground and maintaining your ideal body weight.

Vitamin deficiency :-
Q: I feel very tired all the time. My muscles pain and I cannot eat any spicy food. I went to a physician who prescribed a battery of tests. Finally, he said I had vitamin D deficiency, anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. I am only 37.

A: Vitamin D deficiency is common in India and much of the time it goes unrecognised. It may occur because of our lifestyle (remaining indoors) or it may be a genetic problem. A lot of research is being carried out. The deficiency makes the bones weak and this is reflected as muscle pain.

The stomach contains some cells that are essential for the body to bind and absorb vitamin B12. If those cells are damaged or wasted away, you will not only develop intolerance to spicy food but also adequate amounts of vitamin B12 will not be absorbed. Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation. That is why you are anaemic.

Your doctor will be able to treat all of this with medical supplements. Once your body responds, your symptoms will disappear.

TV and chips :-
Q: My niece is 10 years old. She is 150 cm tall and weighs 50 kg. I think she is fat. She watches cartoons all day and eats potato chips. Please advise.

A: Being fat or thin is a perception which may be incorrect. You need to find her ideal body weight using the calculation 23 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 51.75 (height in metre squared multiplied by 23). As per the calculation, if you have measured her height correctly, she is not overweight. On the other hand she may have no muscle mass, poor posture and a general round appearance. She does, however, need to curtail her television viewing, stop snacking and become physically more active.

This often involves a change of lifestyle for the whole family. Children learn a great deal by watching their parents and other family members.

Anti-obesity pill :-
Q: I want some tablets to lose weight. All this advice about diet and exercise really depresses me. Exercise makes my body ache and diets make me hungry.

A: Weight gain and loss are usually gradual processes. When we gain weight, we are probably unaware of it until our clothes become tight and people make unkind remarks. Very rarely do people weigh themselves regularly. For many, maintaining the ideal body weight involves a lifetime of concentrated effort.

Try to control your total calorie intake. Say no to second helpings and avoid fat-filled snacks. Jog, walk or run for an hour every day. That way your body will utilise the food you consume more efficiently.

There are no “weight control” tablets. There are appetite suppressants but they have been banned in India as well as abroad as they were found to cause dangerous, non-reversible, life threatening side effects.

Taking thyroid hormones to increase your basal metabolic rate or steroids to “bulk up” is equally dangerous. Some advertised commercially available weight loss supplements contain these.

Pregnancy puff :-
Q: I have wheezing. I think it’s asthma. I am now pregnant and my doctor switched me from tablets to inhalers. Are they safe for the baby?

A: Inhalers deliver the medicine direct to your lungs which will help you stop the wheezing. Tablets, on the other hand, enter the bloodstream and go all over the body, including the lungs. Many also cross the placenta and reach the baby. Your doctor is right — inhalers are better.

All answers are given by Dr Gita Mathai , a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. Questions on health issues may be emailed to her at yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Is this Causing Your Chronic Cough?

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a known cause of central and peripheral nervous system damage. It has been implicated in sensory neuropathy and autonomic nervous system dysfunction — which can in turn have a role in chronic, unexplained coughs.

A recent study showed that vitamin B-12 deficiency patients had a higher prevalence of laryngeal hyperresponsiveness. After being given B-12 supplements, their symptoms and laryngeal, bronchial, and cough thresholds significantly improved.

According to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“This study suggests that [vitamin B-12 deficiency] may contribute to chronic cough by favoring sensory neuropathy as indicated by laryngeal hyperresponsiveness and increased NGF expression in pharyngeal biopsies of [vitamin B-12 deficiency] patients. [Vitamin B-12 deficiency] should be considered among factors that sustain chronic cough, particularly when cough triggers cannot be identified.”

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 19, 2001; 93(3): 542-548

Posted By Dr. Mercola | March 12 2011

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Vitamin B12 Keeps Your Brain Young

The structure of Vitamin B12

Image via Wikipedia

Older individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 are at increased risk of having brain atrophy or shrinkage. Brain atrophy is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and impaired cognitive function.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among older people.

In a study involving more than 100 volunteers aged 61 to 87, all participants underwent annual clinical exams, MRI scans and cognitive tests, and had blood samples taken. Individuals with lower vitamin B12 levels at the start of the study had a greater decrease in brain volume. Those with the lowest B12 levels had a sixfold greater rate of brain volume loss compared with those who had the highest levels.

However, none of the participants were actually deficient in vitamin B12 — they just had low levels within a normal range.

Other risk factors for brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
You may click to see->Depression-Vitamine B12 may be answer

Vitamin B12 comes from Animals

Sources:
U.S. News & World Report September 8, 2008
Neurology 2008; 71: 826-832

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Eating Veggies Shrinks the Brain

Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.

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Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system. Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.

Brain scans of more than 1,800 people found that people who downed 14 drinks or more a week had 1.6% more brain shrinkage than teetotallers. Women in their seventies were the most at risk.

Beer does less damage than wine according to a study in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Researchers found that the hippocampus-the part of the brain that stores memories – was 10% smaller in beer drinkers than those who stuck to wine.

And being overweight or obese is linked to brain loss, Swedish researchers discovered. Scans of around 300 women found that those with brain shrink had an average body mass index of 27 And for every one point increase in their BMI the loss rose by 13 to 16%.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Vegetarians Prone to Strokes

Strokes are the second most common cause of deaths and the commonest cause of severe disability.
Now a study has shown that deficiency of Vitamin B12, usually seen in vegetarians, can predispose a person to strokes much more than the usual risk factors — diabetes and hypertension.

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“While 20% of Indians suffer from diabetes and high BP,” says Dr Arun Garg, consultant neurologist, Max Hospitals, “incidence of homocysteinemia (increased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, is 70%. This is seen more among vegetarians as this vitamin is mainly found in meat and milk, if it’s neither boiled nor pasteurised.” In fact, deficiency of vitamins B12, B6 and folate causes two-thirds of strokes.

This risk is four times higher in vegetarians. As folate is found in vegetables and fruits, its deficiency is rare among Indians, but that of vitamin B12 is common.

Normal levels of homocysteine are 5-15 micromol per litre. Increased levels heighten the chances of blood clotting, which can lead to decrease in blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Studies have found high levels of homocysteine in over 80% of stroke patients. Even a rise of five micromol increases the risk of stroke by two times.

The link between strokes and vegetarianism was confirmed in a five-year study by Garg and Dr A K Jain, neurologist, Jain Neuro Centre, in two Max hospitals and this Centre. From 2003, 4,680 OPD patients were screened for vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels. Those with a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic renal, liver problems, alcoholics and those on vitamin supplements were excluded. Most had vague complaints — tingling, numbness, chronic headaches and depressive symptoms like sleeplessness and fatigue.

It was found that 60% patients had vitamin B12 levels below 400 pg/ml and 38.9% had less than 200 pg/ml. Homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 36%. And out of these, over 80% were either strict vegetarians or took non-vegetarian food less than once a week. This showed the co-relation between vegetarians and strokes.

To confirm the study, 418 ischemic stroke patients between 30-85 years admitted during the same period were analysed. It was found that homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 77.5% of the patients showing vitamin deficiency can result in strokes. The effects of a stroke are serious and sometimes fatal — paralysis, loss of speech and vision, unsteadiness, double vision or even unconsciousness.

Dr Vinay Goyal, associate professor, neurology, AIIMS, says, “It’s true that vegetarians have less vitamin B12 as compared to non-vegetarians. This has been proven in Indian Americans, Germans, and Chinese/Singaporeans.”

Prevention would cost less than Rs 10 per day, says Garg. All one has to do is take prescribed doses of vitamin B12 and B6 and folic acid. These are shown to reduce homocysteine level by 38% and the risk of stroke by 20-30%. Goyal says, “Vitamin B12 is also there in soyabean, legumes, dairy products, cottage cheese, etc.” Garg and Jain gave vegetarian patients in their study daily vitamin supplements.

Their symptoms disappeared completely after 3-6 months of therapy. Vegetarians with vitamin B12 deficiency need life-long treatment. A dose of 1-1.5 mg/day is required, says Garg. The government too should fortify food with it, much like iodized salt. Also, as India has a high proportion of vegetarians, screening should be done. So get going to quell that stroke of bad luck.

Sources: The Times Of India