Value of Vitamin B12 for Multiple Sclerosis

vitamin B12 and multiple sclerosis

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a problem frequently associated with the elderly, a form of anemia, Crohn’s disease, and vegans. Another group that should be conscious of the value of vitamin B12 are those who live with multiple sclerosis.

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People with multiple sclerosis are more likely to have a deficiency of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) than are individuals without this disease. Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient in MS because it plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity of myelin. Therefore, a vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to the destruction of this protective coating and the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.

In fact, vitamin B12 and multiple sclerosis have a special relationship. Not only can a deficiency of the vitamin make MS symptoms worse, but symptoms of the disease may aggravate symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Since the symptoms list for a vitamin B12 deficiency reads much like that for MS, it seems like a good idea to have your levels checked. Some of those vitamin deficiency symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, headache, balance issues, vision problems, mood changes, and changes in sense of touch.

What is a vitamin B12 deficiency?
A simple blood test can reveal your levels of vitamin B12. According to the National Institutes of Health, normal values of vitamin B12 in the blood can range from 200 to 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL).

Yes, that is a wide range, and they can vary from one lab to another. Therefore it’s important to ask your doctor about what your results mean for you. Generally, however, if your vitamin B12 values are less than 200 pg/mL, you are deficient.

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Getting enough vitamin B12
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor will recommend a supplement program. You may be asked to take B12 orally at a dose of 1,000 to 2,000 micrograms (mcg) per day for a period of time followed by 1,000 mcg daily. The more common vitamin B12 supplement is cyanocobalamin, which is converted to methylcobalamin, one of the active forms of the vitamin.

Another option is to get intramuscular injections daily or every other day for a short period, followed by an injection every one to three months. You can discuss these and other choices with your healthcare provider.

Natural sources of vitamin B12 include clams and other shellfish, liver, meat, eggs, cheese and other dairy foods, and crustaceans (e.g., crab, shrimp). Fortunately for those who have chosen to avoid animal products, some foods are fortified with vitamin B12, including cereals, nondairy beverages, soy foods, breakfast bars, and some types of nutritional yeast. Always check labels before buying these foods for the amount of fortification.

Another factor to consider when taking vitamin B12 are medications and other substances that can reduce the ability of your body to properly absorb the nutrient. These include H2-blockers (e.g., cimetidine, famotidine, and ranitidine), nicotine, alcohol (excessive use), anticonvulsants, colchicine, metformin, proton pump inhibitors (e.g., esomeprazole, omeprazole, lansprazole), and long-term use of antibiotics. At one time experts speculated that taking excessive vitamin C may cause destruction of vitamin B12, but that idea has been put to rest.

As always, you should consult with a medical professional before starting any supplementation program. The status of your vitamin B12 level if you have multiple sclerosis should be an item on you “to do” list.

Also read how vitamin B12 may help memory and mental abilities

References
Miller A et al. Vitamin B12, demyelination, remyelination and repair in multiple sclerosis. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2005 Jun 15; 233(1-2): 93-97
National Institutes of Health
University of Maryland Medical Center

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Comments

For those struggling with B12 deficiency, I recently heard about a new oral prescription alternative to the injections called Eligen B12. I recently read that it works even if you don't have intrinsic factor (so even if you don't have normal gut absorption). Apparently it came out a month or two ago. Has anyone heard of it or tried it??
I've heard some people with high B12 have problems with methylation , and can't use b12 properly and so it builds up when they actilually have a deficiency . It may be linked to MTHFR mutation . These people should only take methylB12 and methyl folate . The other methyl cobalamin and synthetic folate ( like in most processed foods) in vitamins is not good or helpful. Google this MtHFR gene, we're getting my daughters tested as they have had social anxiety for years and one with type 1 diabetes (autoimmune). It's a simple blood test, and often checked with homocysteine levels as people with defect may have heart disease , blood clots , strokes in their families in addition to some psychiatric disorders , developmental disorders.
I lost sense of smell and taste differentiation after a cold and it lasted 3yrs until I read about taking B12 suppliments that could help. I started taking B12 this year 500/day then 1000/day which I still take. My taste and smell are returning now . I can't know for sure if it was the sublingual B12 pill or not. My blood levels from 2days ago were at 6000! I've never had it tested before. My doctor did not comment that it was too high. All my other results were normal except for High HDL and moderately high LDL and these are genetic. I do have MS and doing well after disgnosis 11yrs ago. I don't have any side effects that I know of. Should I worry about this high level?
My blood level of B12 are greater than 6000. I started taking B 12 sublingual 1000 mg to help with the lack of smell that occurred three years ago after a cold and is also active my taste recognition. After starting the B 12 my smell has started to return as my taste has also but I can't prove it with the B 12 or not. My doctor did not comment on the high blood level. I had no previous results to go by. My other results were relatively normal except for generic hyper cholesterolemia.
I have balance disorder problem Can I use Neuorobion injection