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Special Test Needed For Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is the largest vitamin and because it is so large it can not be absorbed too well orally. As many peoiple age they lose the ability of their stomach to make intrinsic factor and this can contribute to vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 deficiency is also common in vegans as nearly all B12 comes from animal sources. Plants do not require B12 for any function, and therefore have no mechanisms to produce or store B12. There are many myths out there that claim B12 can be obtained from seaweeds, tempeh, and other plant foods, but this isn't true.

B12 deficiency is important as it can contribute to dementia, peripheral neuropathy and spinal cord disease.

About 40% of the US population is deficient in B12. Typically a blood test is used to measure vitamin B12 deficiency. However, a urine test for methylmalonic acid seems to be far more sensitive. This is a good confirmation of an article I posted last year from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that provides the most definitive article I have seen to date on the subject.

Again, it is important to know that if you are low in vitamin B12 oral pills typically will not work. You will need some parental form. Typically this is an intramuscular injection. However, you can apply it topically with DMSO as this is the form we have used in our office for many years.

Science Daily November 5, 2004

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