General Health Conditions & Rare Disorders Discussions about general health conditions and undiagnosed conditions, including any disorders that may not be separately listed below.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-30-2007, 01:01 AM #1
Mcharris's Avatar
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
10 yr Member
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
Mcharris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Smile Homocysteine Level (New Thread)

But before I do I came across the following today which is easy to read and ya never know maybe of use to someone.


WHY ARE B12 & FOLIC ACID SO IMPORTANT?
These nutrients are especially critical for 2 reasons:

1 - There are so many conditions & commonly used drugs which deplete them or interfere with their absorption
2 - The deficiency of either can go undetected to cause great damage & suffering.

These 2 nutrients are addressed together because when supplementing one, the other must also be supplemented, again for 2 reasons:

1 - If there is a B12 deficiency & only folic acid is taken, it can mask some of the blood changes & clues that a B12 deficiency exists. Such masking can allow progressive & irreversible damage to take place in the brain, spinal column, & peripheral nerves. Further, folic acid must be present for the proper use of B12.
2 - Many of the same factors contribute to deficiencies of these 2 nutrients.
WHAT SPECIAL CONDITIONS REQUIRE ASSURED AMOUNTS OF B12 & FOLIC ACID?
The only non meat foods containing B12 are eggs, blue-green algae, & nori seaweed, so vegetarians are at risk for deficiency.

Those with low thyroid function have impaired B12 absorption, while those with high thyroid function have excessive loss of B12.

Most with stomach /GI disturbances are at risk, whether it be from intestinal malabsorption, inflammatory diseases, chronic diarrhea, parasites, tapeworms, low stomach acid, gastrectomy, or the depletion of a protein called “intrinsic factor”, secreted in the stomach by what are called parietal cells. Intrinsic factor only exists to extract B12 from food. Auto immune illnesses can act in the stomach, to prevent production of or to bind the intrinsic factor preventing B12 absorption. Such people may have anti-parietal cell antibodies which can be easily found on a blood test. As if absorption weren’t a big enough problem, there may be defects in molecules which transport B12 from the blood to the tissue, so though serum levels look normal, the cells are deficient. There are 12 different inherited disorders which affect absorption, transport, or intracellular metabolism of B12.

High mercury , lead or other heavy metals which can reduce B12 uptake in the cells. A significant percentage of my patients have metal toxicity. For more see the Metal Toxicity Newsletter.

The elderly are at risk, because B12 absorption is known to decrease with age. Also they are more likely to be low in folic acid, iron, calcium, & vitamin B6 which contributes to depleted B12. They are more likely to have low stomach acid, or to be on acid blockers which impair absorption. They use more laxatives which deplete the storage of B12. Research suggests that elderly people with “normal” serum B12 levels are still metabolically deficient in B12 & often respond positively to the addition of B12.

Pregnant & nursing women, as well as infants need extra amounts of B12 / folic acid

Alcoholics notoriously are deficient, as well as those with anorexia, malnutrition, general illness states, or chronic stress.

Those with AIDS, or asymptomatic HIV are often compromised re B12 status. This occurs at an early stage of the infection. Such low levels are associated with acceleration of the disease , while adequate B12 treatment is correlated with increased CDT4 cell counts & improved AIDS index. Studies suggest B12 deficiency may both increase susceptibility to catching the virus in the first place & promote the progression to AIDS. When HIV positive & B12 deficient the progression to AIDS will come 4 years sooner. The “poppers”, an alkyl nitrite inhalant “recreational” drug can inactivate B12. The use of “poppers” has long been associated with susceptibility to HIV infection. It is believed there is a B12 deficiency in about 50% of all AIDS cases.

Those with mental, or emotional illness, or retardation may also be vulnerable to low levels. Besides helping to maintain the structural integrity of the brain & nerves, B12 & folic acid are needed for the synthesis of the essential neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, & dopamine. These are critical regulators for mood, sleep, appetite, drive, motivation, movement, cognition & numerous brain functions. Studies have shown certain people with “treatment resistant” depression responded well to folic acid treatment, which also potentiated the effect of Prozac & helped to protect against side effects.




WHAT DRUGS/SUBSTANCES CAN CAUSE LOW B12 AND FOLIC ACID?
Besides antacids & laxatives, other drugs they which deplete B12 are Aspirin, & the other salicylates, Tricosal, Trilisate, Arthropan; diuretics such as Bumetanide, Ethacrynic Acid, Furosemide, & Torsemide; & steroid medications. ( Be sure to check generic names on your drugs)

High dose vitamin C supplementation without the addition of B12/folic acid can contribute to deficiency.

Birth control pills decrease both B12 & folic acid. This is of particular significance if a woman then decides she wants to get pregnant & stops birth control pills without starting supplements. It is well know that the birth defects of spina bifida, cleft palate & lip are caused by low folic acid levels in the mother, especially in the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. A B12 deficient infant will suffer severe developmental abnormalities.

Many of the same conditions which deplete B12 also decrease folic acid. The drugs which contribute to folic acid deficiency are many of those used to treat seizure disorders, such as: barbiturates, Tegretol, Depakote, Zarontin, Celontin, Primidone, Dilantin, & Fosphenytoin; many of which are also used in the psychiatric population. The whole class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds such as Ibuprofen, Anaprox, Motrin, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Pamprin, Voltaren, etc deplete folic acid.

Other culprits are drugs used for stomach problems & esophageal reflux, such as Pepcid, Axid, Tritec, Cimetidine & Zantec; the immune suppressants Methotrexate , Azulfidine, & steroids; Indomethacin; Viox; Aspirin & the other salicylates; Colestid;


WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS & DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS OF B12 & FOLIC ACID?
Depression
Mental lethargy
Withdrawal
Irritability
Poor memory
Confusion
Dementia
Psychosis-paranoia
Insomnia
Digestive disturbances
Diarrhea
Weakness
Numbness
Stiffness/spasticity
Headaches
Restless legs
Burning feet
Increased sensitivity to pain
Sore tongue
Lesions at corners of mouth
Anemia (megaloblastic)
Shortness of breath
Low white blood cell count
Lowered resistance to infection, decreased antibody formation
Graying hair
Toxemia of pregnancy
Premature births
Increased risk of certain birth defects
Sprue
Weight loss
Anorexia (appetite loss)

WHAT IS THE HOMOCYSTEINE CONNECTION?
Those who read health articles in the general press have likely come across information about homocysteine. Homocysteine is a normal necessary substance in the body produced from the metabolism of an essential amino acid called methionine. (All amino acids are components of protein). The homocysteine, in turn, converts to a detoxifying amino acid called cysteine, a substance called ATP which is critical in producing energy in the cells, SAMe & also back to methionine. This occurs when all is working as it should be. But these conversions do not take place properly if adequate amounts of B12, Folic acid, & Pyridoxal 5 phosphate (B6) , are not present. When the homocysteine does not metabolize properly , it then accumulates to unhealthy high levels & becomes a silent formidable enemy.

Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with a greater risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, peripheral arterial disease, strokes, venous thrombosis, & carotid artery stenosis. In fact, the homocysteine level is the strongest predictor of both overall mortality from any cause & mortality from cardiovascular causes. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 43% of all deaths in the U.S.

Excess homocysteine is directly toxic & damaging to the walls of the blood vessels which helps lead to atherosclerosis. It also stimulates an inflammatory substance in the platelets called thromboxane which helps cause clots. It may also contribute to the oxidation of LDL. (Imagine how much good could be done if all cardiologists included a multivitamin mineral, B12, folic acid, extra B6, co-enzyme Q10, & policosonal in their treatment plans!)

Excess homocysteine also contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, & diabetes. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine involving 1092 subjects over the course of 8 years found that for every 5 micromoles /l increase of homocsyteine the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s was increased by 40%. Homocysteine levels over 14 nearly doubled the risk of Alzheimer’s. Clearly homocysteine is not the only contributing factor to these illnesses, but plays its deadly part.

Interesting other studies have shown high levels to be associated with miscarriage, which was corrected when the women were supplemented with folic acid 15mg daily & B6 750 mg daily, which are quite large doses. Another study showed levels greater than 6.3 were associated with an increased risk for cervical cancer.


WHAT TESTS CAN BE DONE TO SEE IF THERE ARE DEFICIENCIES?
One can get a homocysteine blood test by itself, or a panel such as the Comprehensive Cardiovascular Assessment, which contains this test as well as numerous other evaluations for cardiovascular risk. The optimal safe range for homocysteine is less than 6, the lower the better.

The most exciting & informative new test which has just become available,is the Cardio Genomic Profile http://www.genovations.com. This test identifies gene variations which foretell the increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. It can identify if you are at risk for the development of high homocysteine so you can really act preventatively. The test identifies your genetic risk for increased blood clotting, increased blood pressure, cholesterol imbalance, & inflammatory cardiovascular disease. It is also useful if you already know you have these problems, because it tells you how to change your genetic predisposition! You can then retest in several months to make sure mission accomplished. The test can be done at home by collecting mouth wash samples & sending in the kit. The DNA in buccal cells is analyzed. You would have to ask your Dr to order the kit. Because it is so new, insurance does not yet cover it, so if that is an issue, you might use some of the other tests mentioned here-but this is my current preference.

Many Drs only order a serum B12 & serum folic acid test. If these are normal, they consider all to be fine in this arena. This is simply not true. These tests are only useful when they are low, which then indicates a substantial deficiency. Numerous studies have shown a positive response to treatment with B12/folic acid, when the blood levels were normal. The amount in the blood tells nothing about transport to, uptake, or utilization by the cells.

A useful indirect measurement of B12 deficiency is the urine or blood methyl malonic acid test. When this substance is elevated, there is a B12 deficiency.

A complete blood count (CBC) can be useful in those people who manifest blood changes, but not all do. In fact, one can be sufficiently low to exhibit neurological damage without showing any blood cell changes. Again, when there is overt anemia of what is called the megaloblastic or macrocytic type, there is likely a B12/folic acid problem. But it is useful to look for more subtle signs such as low normal total number of red blood cells, large red blood cells(high normal MCV) , low normal total number of white blood cells, low normal platelets, or low normal neutrophils ( a type of white blood cell).

There is a good blood test called the Functional Intracellular Analysis.

WHAT FORMS OF B12/FOLIC ACID ARE BEST TO TAKE?
Vitamin B12 comes in several chemical forms & folic acid in two forms. The most common & least expensive B12 is cyanocobalamin. This is fine to use for basic supplementation. And plain folic acid is fine for a basic program. There are also the methyl-, hydroxy-, & adenosyl- cobalamin forms of B12 which are more expensive & previously have been less available.

Dietary or supplemental cyanocobalamin converts in the body to the other forms listed here, especially Methylcobalamin (MeCb). Folic acid must be present for this conversion to take place. The folic acid must be in the coenzyme form called L- 5 methyl tetrahydrofolate. A properly functioning body would have converted regular dietary or supplemental folic acid to this coenzyme form. When there are diseases, sometimes the folic acid does not convert properly, & one would have to supplement with the L-5 methyl tetrahydrofolate instead.

The methyl cobalamin (MeCb) is the most active form of B12 in the body, especially in the brain & nervous system. There is the belief the MeCb has some therapeutic applications not as well achieved by other forms of B12. MeCb is also utilized more efficiently & has better tissue retention. For this reason much of the recent research has been done using this MeCb. Some of the research uses the injectable, some the sublingual form. When possible, I suggest a combination of the 2 when one is treating a significant health problem.

At the risk of going on interminably, can’t help but think some would like examples of when to use these supplements in higher doses, so
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF WHEN YOU WOULD USE HIGHER THERAPEUTIC DOSES?
. Those with: Pernicious anemia, an inherited defect in the absorption of B12, or with any anemia associated with large red blood cells.
High levels of MeCb are needed to regenerate nerve cells & the covering of the long nerves, called myelin sheath. MeCb also protects against neurotoxicity. Thus those with a variety of neurological disorders may respond well.
In studies on Bells Palsy (a painful condition the facial nerve), patients treated with 1.5-6 mg MeCb daily recovered in an average time of 1.95 weeks. Those treated with the usually prescribed steroids took an average of 9.6 weeks to recover.
Parkinson’s patients. Oral MeCb helped to delay the progression of Parkinson’s & to maintain a longer benefit from Sinemet (a drug for Parkinson’s)
Those with ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease), Multiple Sclerosis(doses up to 60 mg/d for this) Muscular Dystrophy, Peripheral Neuropathy, restless legs, neurological aging, dementia, depression, psychosis, mood swings.
Infertile men treated with 1.5-6mg daily experienced a 38 % increase in sperm count & 50% increase in sperm motility.
Those with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, burstitis.
Those with immune disorders of any kind.
Those with asthma.
Those with liver disorders.
Women with abnormal PAP smears.
Those with sleep/wake cycle disorders, or those with excessive sleepiness.
Those with a family history of colon cancer.
Those with vitiligo.
Those with chronic myelogenous leukemia have overall increased cobalamin levels, but a decreased proportion of methylcobalamin compared to normals. The lower the proportion of MeCb, the worse the prognosis, the higher the proportion the better the prognosis. ( Also MeCb improved the survival time in leukemic mice).
The form used in the above research varied between injectable & sublingual, but all was with methylcobalamin. All was in the dose range of 1-6 mg daily. Remember these vitamins are usually listed as micrograms, so would take 1000 mcg to make 1 mg. Research doses of folic acid have ranged from 1-20 mg/daily.





until next time,
Peace, Love & Health...
Priscilla Slagle M.D.
http://www.thewayup.com/newsletters/041502.htm
__________________
Cheers from Clare in Tassie
Mcharris is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 02:55 PM #2
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
Default

Lots of very good information there. One note: please do not anyone depend on algae or seaweed for their B12.

In fact, what one might get is B12 anologues that are measured in a B12 test but that are unusable.

rose
__________________
I will be adding much more to my B12 website, but it can help you with the basics already. Check it out.

.

Last edited by rose; 09-30-2007 at 02:56 PM. Reason: misspelling
rose is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 07:07 PM #3
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
Default Forgot to mention: Stomach acid breaks B12 out of food.

Then intrinsic factor escorts the B12 it to the ileum.

rose
__________________
I will be adding much more to my B12 website, but it can help you with the basics already. Check it out.

.

Last edited by rose; 09-30-2007 at 07:10 PM. Reason: clarification
rose is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 07:26 PM #4
Mcharris's Avatar
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
10 yr Member
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
Mcharris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Default seems like I am not going away ---- yet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rose View Post
Then intrinsic factor escorts the B12 it to the ileum.

rose
I appreciate what you are saying.... that is why I suspect (as yet unproven) that years an years of taking acid supressing medications may have damaged the IF or paretial cells...... hoping my GP will order a test for IF etc......

One other question please has to do with bleeding gums.......

is this a know symptom of B12 deficiency?

Would that be a B12 problemo or a Folic problemo? of possibly both in your estimation?

Should I move these questions to a new link.... or will thy normally be found by other's Rose.

Thanks again
oops that was more than one added question - arghhhh always bad at math
__________________
Cheers from Clare in Tassie
Mcharris is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 07:39 PM #5
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
10 yr Member
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Default

Wow, that was a great article on homocysteine. I found out a few weeks ago my level was too high and was told by the hematologist to take a vitamin with folic acid, b12 and b6. I'm hoping this may be the solution to my problem with major depression for the past year or so. I was diagnosed with factor v leiden (blood clot gene) in August which was why I went to the hematologist in the 1st place. My fingernails, just as in Clare's picture have been bluish around the cuticle, my moons have disappeared. I have been cold to the point I had my heater on in my office while everyone had the air on. And sore tongue? My tongue would look as if it were peeling. And I would get bumps on it that hurt that I couldn't eat anything. And people (including my doctor) don't believe you when you tell them what is bothering you. I feel as if I have been dismissed so many times. Thank you for the article and hopefully with the vitamins I can finally get myself back in order.
towie is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 09-30-2007, 09:06 PM #6
Mcharris's Avatar
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
10 yr Member
Mcharris Mcharris is offline
Junior Member
Mcharris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 29
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Default

you are welcome I enjoy finding things and learning.

You are fortunate that a doctor actually checked your Hcy level.... U in the USA? I am in Ozzy land and down here it is still NOT a usual blood test..... I had to ask my GP and agree to pay for it myself........ I should get the results back next week along with the MMA results. I am hoping they will show that I do actually have problems with my B12/metabolism.
I am not familiar with the disorder you have...... but hopefully your doc will keep a close eye on your other readings.

Nice to have met you
__________________
Cheers from Clare in Tassie
Mcharris is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 10-01-2007, 05:37 PM #7
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
10 yr Member
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Default Hello to Clare in Ozzy land

Hi Clare,
Nice to meet you as well. Yes, I am in the US. Factor V Leiden is a blood clot mutation gene which increases your risks of developing blood clots. The reason why I was tested for it was because my brother tested positive for it after my father passed away suddenly from a pulmonary embolism in May. Since then another brother has tested positive. I went to a hematologist and he ran another series of tests one of which was the homocysteine level. (This is not a normal bloodtest here either. I never heard of it before.) This came back high which he said was an indicator my blood was forming bloodclots and an early warning sign of heart disease. He told me to start taking folic acid, b12, and b6 which I could get from taking vitamins. He said that should help. I have to go back in 3 months.

I also have a problem with my thyroid. Did you ever have yours tested? Good luck with your test results. I hope the doctors find some solutions for you! Take care of yourself!
towie is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 10-01-2007, 05:40 PM #8
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
Default homocysteine

You sure are fortunate to have a doctor who checked it. More are, but it amazing how many still don't.

I hope the doc specified that you take at least 1000 mcg B12.

I hope also that the vitamins get you down into the lower half of normal for homocysteine. That is desireable.

I don't know about the gums specifically, but I do know that low B12 can cause abnormal bleeding. Of course other things can too, even failure to floss.

I hope you will get copies of all test results. No one will be willing to spend the time exploring patterns, etc., that you will. And it is surprising how many docs fail to give important information to patients, and amazing to me that some even falsely represent the results.

I would pay special attention to nutrients, in addition to paying close attention to what the doc finds. It does sound like you have a nutrient deficiency, whatever else may or may not be going on.

rose
__________________
I will be adding much more to my B12 website, but it can help you with the basics already. Check it out.

.
rose is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 10-01-2007, 05:43 PM #9
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
rose rose is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 732
10 yr Member
Default Sorry, answering questions out of order and jumbled together!

Many doctors here have never heard of homocysteine.

Probably should begin a new thread .

rose
__________________
I will be adding much more to my B12 website, but it can help you with the basics already. Check it out.

.
rose is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Old 10-01-2007, 06:50 PM #10
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
10 yr Member
towie towie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
My Mood: Homocysteine Level (New Thread)
10 yr Member
Smile Homocysteine Level (New Thread)

Thank you Rose. The hematologist tested the homocysteine as part of a series of bloodwork. If I went to my primary doctor it would not have been something she normally would have checked. The main thing they told me to take was folic acid, followed by the b12 and b6. I got copies of the bloodwork but it is all foreign to me. It doesn't specifically state folic acid or b12 levels, however it does say to lower homocysteine levels to take supplements of folic acid, b12 and b6. (My level was 16.1)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have had problems like Clare where I get very cold and my fingernails look blackish/blue near the cuticle. I thought it was my thyroid (my doctor has had to lower my medication twice since April, then added/stopped a supplement). But now I am thinking it is all related to the homocysteine levels. Only time will tell. I am going to check out your website. Thank you for your information. Take care!
towie is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What is an appropriate B12 level Sydney Vitamins, Nutrients, Herbs and Supplements 29 06-06-2010 07:09 AM
Were home! Level 1 testing kenausril Epilepsy 1 08-18-2007 07:37 AM
Well, I got my B-12 level!!!! MelodyL Peripheral Neuropathy 26 05-11-2007 10:21 AM
Optimal level for B12 for Fibro? Sydney Vitamins, Nutrients, Herbs and Supplements 1 11-29-2006 11:32 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin • Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.31 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.7.1 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
 

NeuroTalk Forums

Helping support those with neurological and related conditions.

 

The material on this site is for informational purposes only,
and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment
provided by a qualified health care provider.


Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.