This led to a treatment for leukemia with a drug known as Methotrexate , and there's a chemical similarity between folic acid and methotrexate. Methotrexate can inhibit enzymes that would normally use folic acid in the synthesis of DNA, which is required by cancer cells. Turned out that this drug, which blocks the action of folic acid, was and is a treatment for leukemia. Because of this connection, there is some concern that high doses of folic acid may enhance cancer cell multiplication - would have to be extremely high doses. Nobody should worry about ingesting folic acid from the various foods where it is found, but you do not want to go over 400 micrograms in the form of supplements. Vitamin B12 is a fascinating substance. Why? involved in so many processes in the body. It involves the metabolism, that's the common link with all the B vitamins, but it is also important in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the CNS – brain and spinal cord.
B12 is a very complicated molecule, and we are actually not capable of synthesizing it, and neither are plants or animals capable of synthesizing it. All of the B12 is made by bacteria that live in animals, and therefore, when we eat animal foods, we get vitamin B12 - not found in humans; need vitamin B12 from an outside source. It's interesting because it has cyanide in its structure, not that that has any toxicological consequences at the doses that we are talking about. Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with a host of symptoms. - ADHD - Alzheimer’s - Anemia - Autism - Bipolar disorder - Cancer - Cardiovascular disease All of these symptoms can be addressed by taking a supplement, injections or by upping the diet in vitamin B12, and as we can see, it can have a large number of consequences, that is a deficiency. Who has to be particularly careful? Vegan diet, because if vegan, you're not getting any vitamin B12 at all. Patients who have Crohn's disease or celiac disease have an increased risk, because these are diseases of the gut, where absorption of nutrients takes place, and nutrient absorption is impaired. Poor vitamin B12 also occurs in people who drink a lot of alcohol. Sometimes it’s linked to taking antibiotics, or drugs used to control the acid level of the stomach, like H-2 lockers and, proton pump inhibitors . These will inhibit the absorption of vitamin B12. Metformin, commonly used drug for type two diabetes, also impedes the absorbent. When you have low levels of vitamin B12 , it results in a condition known as pernicious anemia - kind of anemia, meaning, there is not sufficient amount of red blood cells transmitting oxygen around the body, due to lack of absorption of vitamin B12. For vitamin B12 to be absorbed, there is a specific protein that is needed that's generated by the stomach, called intrinsic factor , and when there isn't enough it, you don't get enough absorption and you get pernicious anemia. People who take acid-reducing substances in the stomach, for example, will not produce enough intrinsic factor. The most common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are weakness, tingling in extremities, fingers become numb, the tongue takes on this smooth red appearance, palpitations, shortness of breath, depression, memory loss. These are quite readily reversed with supplement of vitamin B12. So, vegans and sufferers of Crohn's disease, celiac disease, should supplement with B12. It's available in pill form, or, in extreme cases, injections.
- Spring '11
- Vitamin, niacin, vitamin B12 deficiency, Vitamin B12