B12 nourishment comes from the bowel. Microbiome damage in the bowel is evidence that B12 is deficient and needs attention.
“Vitamin B12 is excreted in the bile and is effectively reabsorbed. This is known as enterohepatic circulation. The amount of B12 excreted in the bile can vary from 1 to 10ug (micrograms) a day,” says Dr. Gina Shaw, D. Sc, M.A., Dip NH, AIYS (Dip. Irid).
If you are taking drugs for acid reflux you are not producing B12, this is the fast track to dementia, says Katalin Brown, GAPS practitioner. “B12 is the most important vitamin. All of them are important but you can die from a B12 deficiency. You are not getting your B12 when you have acid reflux with drugs.”
One of the main things B12 does is assists in red blood cell production, nerve function and DNA production. Things like gastric issues, anemia, gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery, tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes, auto immune diseases, ulcerative colitic, IBS, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, lupus, parasites, alcohol consumption, vegetarianism and veganism exacerbate B12 deficiencies.
Harvard Health Productions at Harvard Medical School says other aspects that exacerbate B12 deficiencies are proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prevacid, H2 blockers like Pepcid or Zantac and diabetes drugs like metformin.
Signs of a B12 deficiency are itchiness, thinning hair, darkness around knuckles, chapped skin, cracked tongue, patchy skin tone, malformation of fingernails, weak muscle strength, muscular wasting, difficulty walking which manifests with staggering, balance problems or weak legs, general tiredness, easily succumbing to tears, stretch marks, backache, quick to bruise, pale skin, mental confusion, paranoia, constipation or diarrhea, anxiety, depression and dementia. The source of the problem comes from not consuming B12 or not absorbing the B12 you consume.
Kelly Brogan, MD, says B12 supports myelin which is what allows nerve impulses to function.
A severe B12 deficiency may cause irreversible nerve damage.
B12 processes through your liver through seven different pathways which is then channeled into your body.
Brown recommends taking hydrochloric acid (like this clean product, affiliate link) with your meal as well as eating plenty of fermented foods like sauerkraut (click here to learn how to make your own for pennies). This will assist your body in making your own hydrochloric acid which will allow you to wean off the drugs.
Saliva tests can help determine the hydrochloric acid content by measuring your pH.
Brown says, “When you drink (kombucha, sauerkraut, milk Kefir) it’ll give you a bit of a warming sensation in your stomach and you’ll know you’ve got enough hydrochloric acid. Get the organic apple cider vinegar, one shot in the morning, oh my goodness it does wonders. That’s a fermented vinegar.” She recommends taking the apple cider vinegar in a bit of warm water for easy absorption.
Mineral salt is essential in the diet. “We need minerals to carry our vitamins,” Brown says. “You need minerals, you need the salt in your body. Doctors say cut your sodium, you know what, that’s a crock.” Refined and bleached salt that lacks iodine is used in processed foods, this is not the same as mineral salt and should not be consumed as a nutrient dense food.
Good sources of B12 come from pastured meat or poultry, wild caught seafood, raw dairy products, and pastured eggs.
Getting B12 from multiple sources is important so your body gets different nutritional values. “Only unpasturized milk has B12,” Brown says.
WebMD says, “If you don’t eat animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits how well your body absorbs nutrients, experts recommend taking a B12-containing multivitamin and eating breakfast cereal fortified with vitamin B12.”
Dr. Shaw says, “Many people say that the only foods which contain vitamin B12 are animal-derived foods. This also is untrue. No foods naturally contain vitamin B12 – neither animal or plant foods. Vitamin B12 is a microbe- a bacteria – it is produced by microorganisms. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element – cobalt – which gives this vitamin its chemical name – cobalamin – which is at the centre of its molecular structure. Humans and all vertebrates require cobalt, although it is assimilated only in the form of vitamin B12.”
A healthy microbiome will produce it’s own proper B vitamins, either human or animal.
The largest problem is if you have gut issues the source is an unbalanced microbiome. Breakfast cereals, as recommended by WebMD, exasperate an unbalanced microbiome making it worse. In addition breakfast cereals are fortified with synthetic B12 which is not well assimilated by those with a damaged gut. Gut damage is evidence through intestinal bloating, gas, belching, food allergies, environmental allergies, constipation or diarrhea, anxiety, depression, mood swings, eczema or other skin conditions. Deeper gut damage is evidenced with auto immune diseases.
Dr. Shaw goes on to say, “B12 synthesis is known to occur naturally in the human small intestine ( in the ileum), which is the primary site of B12 absorption. As long as gut bacteria have cobalt and certain other nutrients, they produce vitamin B12.” A small handful of other doctors says B12 is present in the mouth, nasopharynx, tonsil area, base of the tongue and bronchial tubes.
The biggest challenge for many folks with a damaged gut is they are in desperate need of B12 but can’t take a great deal of fermented vegetables due to die off symptoms until their gut flora repopulates. The B12 from animal foods isn’t absorbing in the amounts they need because of the damaged flora. They seek B12 supplementation, however most, if not all, B12 supplements contain synthetic sweeteners and fillers that feed bad bacteria in the gut.
Many ingredients in B12 create issues in the gut by feeding bad bacteria, further populating the pathogens that cause the malabsorption. Ingredients that end an -ose (sugar) is a major instigator in this cycle. Fructose, cellulose, sorbitol, mannitol, natural flavors and xylitol all fall into this same category. Other damaging fillers that feed bad gut bacteria in B12 include lecithin (soy), maltodextrin (corn), beet juice (GMO), brown rice syrup (starch and sugar), inositol, potassium sorbate (preservative) and polysorbate 80 (defoamer).
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