Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12

Along with my folate supplement I have been looking into B12 and finding out what this vitamin does for us. Turns out it is rather vital to our everyday function.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin needed for
metabolism,
brain function,
maintaining the nervous system and
forming red blood cells.

b12

©A.D.A.M.

The half life of B12 is 6 days but it can hang around in the liver for up to 400 days. Excess B12 is excreted in urine. Many people show a B12 deficiency. Vegetarians cannot get B12 from their food unless it is fortified in cereals or soy products. Supplements are the other choice unless you eat meat, fish or dairy.

Foods with high levels of B12:
Shellfish:  Clams, Oysters, Mussels
Liver:  Beef, Chicken (pate)
Fish: Mackerel, Smoked Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Tinned Sardines
Crustaceans: Crab, Shrimp, Lobster
Fortified* Soy Products: Tofu, Soy milk
Fortified* Cereals
Red Meat: Beef, Lamb
Cheese: Swiss, etc…
Eggs: Chicken, Goose, Duck
Dairy: Nonfat yoghurt, Skim milk
*Fortified with B12

b12a

©A.D.A.M.

Low levels of B12 can cause:

Anemia
Loss of balance
Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
Weakness
Diarrhea or constipation
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Stomach upset and weight loss
Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums

How to check your B12 level?
The vitamin B12 level(serum levels) is a blood test that measures how much vitamin B12 is in your blood.
Normal values are 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL)in the US. Yet in Japan and Europe 500 – 550 pg/mL is considered a low B12 level. In Australia 150–221 picomoles per litre (pmol/L) or (200–300 pg/mL) is considered low.

Nicotine and alcohol don’t help absorption of B12 into the body. Excessive Vitamin C intake, Antacid tablets, insulin enhancers for Type 2 diabetics, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), antidepressants, anti-hypertension drugs also zap B12 levels.  Think you may be showing signs of being Vitamin B12 deficiency? To read more visit b12d.org

How much B12 do I need?
“Recommended dietary amounts (RDAs) are 2.4 micrograms daily for ages 14 years and older, 2.6 micrograms daily for pregnant females, and 2.8 micrograms daily for breastfeeding females. Those over 50 years of age should meet the RDA by eating foods reinforced with B12 or by taking a vitamin B12 supplement. Supplementation of 25-100 micrograms daily has been used to maintain vitamin B12 levels in older people.” (Mayo Clinic)

Cobalamin or Vitamin B12 come in these forms: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin,  Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.

B12 Supplements
For B12 supplements Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 or Sublingual(under the tongue) Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 are suitable for vegetarians and are Kosher. I prefer to steer clear of the Cyanocobalamin form of B12 to avoid the chance of cyanide poisoning. Check your labels.

B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious consequences by Chris Kresser LAc, a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner.
For article READ MORE

BBC Documentary about B12 and Dr Joseph Chandy
(aired 2006) (length: 9min45sec)

Note: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for information purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

MUSIC
Aretha Franklin – Think

MTHFR gene and Methylfolate

 

folate

©bloodwork.com

After reading Everyday Asperger’s  blog post here about the MTHFR gene and methylfolate I got in the car almost immediately afterwards and drove to the late night supermarket to hunt for methylfolate. Being a supplement I thought I had a slight chance of it being available. No luck. Only folic acid. We then went further afield and looked for the all night pharmacy. We drove past it but couldn’t see it as it was too dark. We took a chance and drove to another pharmacy that we thought might be 24 hours open. It wasn’t. Although a disappointing result I felt victorious. I had taken action to find something to aid in my combat tool kit for depression and general mental health.

Day 2 in the search was little better. The first pharmacy said no immediately but recommended another pharmacy down the road. We wandered a little further. No stock but they could order it from the States. I got their contact number and said I would call if i didn’t have any luck. By this time I was tired of looking. It was suggested to me that calling ahead might be a better use of time. A sensible suggestion. But sometimes you just want to run around like a headless chook.

Day 3 I called back the pharmacy and ordered methylfolate (Metafolin).  I was in a pharmacy, another one and asked about methylfolate. The pharmacist there hadn’t heard of it, but she showed curiosity and a willingness to learn. She said she would look it up and I also mentioned the MTHFR gene too. She initially thought I was looking for folic acid but I said no, not everyone can absorb it.
I am very surprised at the lack of access to methylfolate. I cannot wait to try it and see if it helps me. I am very hopeful.

I waited patiently…

The order arrived four days later. I got a phone call from the pharmacy I was in the car in time before it closed for the day.

Two weeks later….

I feel like my head is clear and I have more energy and want to be active. I feel brighter. The difference after taking methylfolate (Metafolin) is dramatic. At the same time I am slowly improving my diet and eating more vegetables especially ones rich in minerals and vitamins. I have self diagnosed this need for folate. If I want to confirm that I do in fact have a mutant MTHFR gene then I can order a gene kit. See below if you want to find out more about your DNA.

(Update:
Four weeks later….
I am really beginning to feel like my old self again. Enjoying being me again. Energy levels much greater than without folate. Will look at adding Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 to my daily routine.)

So what is MTHFR?
methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (NAD(P)H)
For detailed information go to Genetics Home Reference.

MTHFR Support Australia (40 minute recorded youtube talk with visuals)

folate_absoprtion

©lef.org

What is Folate or Methylfolate? Is it the same as Folic Acid?
‘Folate is Vitamin B9 and is NOT the same as folic acid. (Folic acid is synthetic and is not found in nature.)‘* See the number of transformations that folic acid must go through in order to be useful to the body. However if you have a mutant MTHFR gene then folic acid supplements won’t ever help. Folate supplements on the other hand can be absorbed into your body right away without the need to transform into something else before being useful.
Folate = L-methylfolate = Metafolin = 5-MTHF = L-MTHF = L-5-MTHF = MTHF

How is FOLATE labelled?

Calcium salt based:
L-MTHF, L-5-MTHF, MTHF, L-Methylfolate
Metafolin®: Merck, medical food (NeevoDHA, Metanx, Cerefolin and Deplin)
Extrafolate-S®: Gnosis, dietary supplement available over the counter
Generic/racemic formulas, dietary supplement available over the counter

Glucosamine salt based:
Quatrefolic®: Gnosis, dietary supplement available over the counter’**

**www.methylpro.com

How much do you need daily?
800mcg folate is recommended daily. You might see results with 400mcg folate.

*MTHFR Support Australia

DNA Kit
To check whether you have a mutant MTHFR gene you can order a DNA Kit from 23and Me.
Cost is US$99. You send them a sample of saliva and they return a printout of raw genetic data. You will not find out about future health issues or your likely time of departure.

Note: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for information purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

MUSIC
London Grammar – Metal and Dust