The Importance of Vitamin B12 – A Study For Boomers and Boppers

by ProfKeith

(what are boppers?—OK I just brought it in to mean: people not as old as us boomers!)

One of my favorite medical institutes in the world is the Karolinska in Stockholm, Sweden. Viv and I were there only last year! The reason they command a lot of my respect is they are paid by the Swedish government and not bankrolled by the disgusting pharmaceutical industry and its travesty of science and learning. Accordingly, I tend to trust reports from the Karolinska.

karolinska-gate-importance-of-vitamin-b12

What they found also contradicts the criminal nonsense put about by Pharma spokesperson (should I say spokesjerk?) Paul Offit MD. He’s spent years parading in public the fact that there is “no evidence” what-so-ever of health benefits from vitamins and other supplements.

It’s a criminal lie but he’s quoted over and over by the industry (sorry, profession) that doesn’t want to hear about people getting well or not falling sick. Offit wrote a sneering book entitled Do You Believe in Magic?, which purports to be “a scathing exposé of the alternative medicine industry, revealing how even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly.”

So—anything that works is placebo? He doesn’t produce any evidence to support this remark but that’s how the science frauds work. And calling us an industry? That’s hypocrisy of the highest order.

JAMA Internal Medicine recently (Apr 2016) published a scathing report on what it called valueless vitamin pills in its headline report published late in 2013 entitled “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money On Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” The journal claimed, “Despite no evidence of any clinical benefits, dietary supplement use is increasingly common among older adults, with almost a 50% increase in the use of multiple supplements.”1 They do this by simply IGNORING the mountains of science, which contradict their vicious attack.

That, mind you, is against the fact that, in the USA alone, over 250,000 people are killed every year by medical incompetence.2 That’s according to new research from Johns Hopkins University, published just this month and more than DOUBLES the widely-quoted estimates by Barbara Starfield in the year 2,000.

In other words, JAMA is defending a system which kills against one that doesn’t. Who’s the real FRAUD here?

So what have I got for you that’s new?

The Importance of Vitamin B12 – Slows Brain Shrinkage

There are lots of reasons why you need to top up on B12 shots. The most important being that you can’t get it any other way. Trying to take oral B12 is an uphill effort. B12 is vital for continued healthful brain function. It’s often overlooked in lists of anti-aging supplements, or it’s put in as a few micrograms in a capsule with the other stuff.

It doesn’t work!

If you want oral, eat raw liver. But few people have the stomach to do that. So that leaves shots. You need 1,000 mcg (1 mg) monthly. I usually get people to start of 1,000 mcg weekly for the first month.

But why? What’s special about B12?

The latest research from the Karolinska shows two important factors are provably connected with brain shrinkage: low B12 and our old enemy homocysteine.

“Vitamin B12 and total homocysteine might be independent predictors of brain aging in elderly individuals without dementia,” the investigators write.

Individuals with increased levels of circulating homocysteine have faster rates of brain changes associated with aging than other people, whereas higher levels of vitamin B12 are associated with slower rates of brain aging.

This is logical because vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid are known to tone down the highly inflammatory metabolite homocysteine.

importance-of-vitamin-b12-IG

Simplified Numbers

The researchers examined data on 501 participants aged 60 years and older from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care, in Kungsholmen. All participants were free of dementia at baseline. Of these, 299 underwent repeated structural brain MRI between 2001 and 2009.3

Between baseline and the 6-year follow-up, the mean total brain tissue volume decreased from 74.3% to 71.6% of the total cranial volume (3.6%). That’s the mean, so we are all in for that. But of course those of us who are careful fall well below the mean. More about protecting yourself in just a moment.

Modest Effect

Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, E. Sherwood Brown, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychoneuroendocrine Research Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, described the study as “interesting,” with the “main plus” being the large sample size.

When they say “interesting” they usually mean they don’t like what it’s saying but can’t argue with the figures. They are going to spend the next few months looking for other studies that might contradict this finding!

The strong plus point of the Karolinska study is that it’s longitudinal, meaning not just messing around with statistics and numbers but following a population of many years, to see what actually happens.

Normal studies may show certain correlations but that doesn’t mean causation. Moreover, you can use “correlation” to tell any number of lies. For example the Journal of The American Association (JAMA) recently tried to blame the rise in fish oil supplements for the increase in bleeding emergencies at ER.4

In fact, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a component of fish oil, reduces arterial calcification (stiffness) induced by vitamin K depletion caused by the drug warfarin. Furthermore, concomitant use of fish oil with blood thinning drugs also is documented to reduce the risk for drug-induced gastrointestinal injury.5

The truth is warfarin is one of the most dangerous drugs out there and is the number one drug emergency admission to ER.6 Doctors should very carefully monitor patient’s dietary and supplement habits and reduce their crap, not blame nature’s own wonderful healing omega-3s.

Not The Only Study

In case you are wondering, this is not really “new” finding. Only the study method was new. Researchers have done a meticulous job of documenting the progressive shrinkage (atrophy) of the human brain with advancing age, a process that is slowed by provision of vitamin B12 supplements. 7, 8

By the way, the importance of vitamin B12 cure for this problem does not work without co-consumption of fish oil or other excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, flax oil, and grass-fed beef.9

So there is your regimen: B12 is not so good without omega-3s. Omega-3s alone are not enough, you need the B12.

Is It The True Cause?

There is that question: is a raised homocysteine or low B12 the actual cause of the brain shrinkage? Or are these just indicators of a deeper metabolic problem that is really causing the brain injury?

As the aforementioned Dr. Brown is quoted as saying: “it’s very hard to know whether it’s the levels of them per se or whether they’re somehow a marker for some other lifestyle health factors that are really the culprit here, and that’s certainly a legitimate limitation.”

It remains that you must not let yourself get deficient in B12. You’ll feel a lot better with proper supplementation. B12, I always found, was a vitamin “high”, meaning that people get a pleasant buzz after a shot. Trust me, it’s not just about brain shrinkage…

The importance of vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation and maturation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which is the genetic material of cells. Vitamin B12 is also necessary for normal nerve function. Unlike most other vitamins, B12 is stored in substantial amounts, mainly in the liver, until it is needed by the body. If a person stops consuming the vitamin, the body’s stores of this vitamin usually take about 3 to 5 years to exhaust.10

Omega-3s—eat fish at least twice a week. Lack of omega-3s will kill you faster than mercury from the sea bottom. Just work to get the least contaminated marine supplies. You can purchase fish oil with toxic metals removed, if you know where to look. Otherwise, get grass-fed beef, it really is the RICHEST source of omega-3s.

OK, not too technical I hope?

References:
1. April 27, 2016, in JAMA Psychiatry.
2. BMJ 2016; 353 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2139 (Published 03 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2139
3. Qato DM, Wilder J, Schumm LP, Gillet V, Alexander GC. MS Changes in Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication and Dietary Supplement Use Among Older Adults in the United States, 2005 vs 2011. JAMA Intern Med.(2016 Apr 1; 176:473-482. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.8581. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26998708
4. Guallar E, Stranges S, Mulrow C, Appel LJ, Miller ER 3rd. Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Dec 17;159:850-851. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-12-201312170-00011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24490268
5. Bill Sardi, Ortho-Molecular News Service release, May 4, 2016
6. Warfarin tops list for emergency hospitalizations in seniors. Medscape. Nov 25, 2011.
7. Vogiatzoglou A, Refsum H, Johnston C et al. Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly. Neurology. 2008 Sep 9;71:826-832. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000325581.26991.f2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18779510
8. Smith AD, Smith SM, de Jager CA et al. Homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2010 Sep 8;5(9):e12244. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012244. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20838622
9. 13. Jernerén F, Elshorbagy AK, Oulhaj A et al. Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ?-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102:215-221. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103283. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25877495
10. Merck Manual online: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/disorders-of-nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-b-12

You may also like:


Comments on this entry are closed.