Dr. Laura: Is it aging or low B12?

B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age, and about 40% of the general population are on the lower end of normal.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can look like the signs and symptoms of diseases that are commonly associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other neurological problems; depression and anxiety; cardiovascular disease; cancer; and low libido. If someone you love has these symptoms, best to get there B12 levels checked and supplement if help reduce the symptoms.

Supplementing with an active form of B12 can help reduce inflammation, which has improved symptoms of arthritis and eczema.

Vitamin B12 works with folate to make DNA, red blood cells and the insulating sheath around the nerves to help with nerve signalling. This is why when I inject B12, I always include folate with it.

Causes/Risks of B12 deficiency

  • Vegan/vegetarianism
  • Intestinal malabsorption due to low stomach acid
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition affecting our ability to absorb B12)
  •  Atrophic gastritis (usually H. pylori infection in the elderly)
  • Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)
  • People on Metformin therapy

If someone you know or love fall into any of these categories, best they get tested even if they don’t have symptoms, as deficiency can start before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • not much if  it’s mild
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • strange sensations
  • numbness, or tingling in hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking such as staggering or balance problems
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellow skin
  • jaundice
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning
  • memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations

Testing for B12

It is easy to run a B12 test, however there are other blood and urine markers that can provide a more complete picture, such as methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine. Homocysteine may be more sensitive and accurate for detecting the early stages of B12 deficiency. When I run tests, I look at things from a functional medicine perspective and this may involve the more complete profile.

If there is an absorption issue suspected, we need to identify and correct that, if possible. Further testing and treatment may be required to do that.

The results of the tests are also interpreted differently when you come to see me. I look at things from a functional range – your optimum level of performance- not the point at which you have disease. The conventional medical system in North America regard a low B12 to be below 200 pg/mL. This is the point where irreversible neurological damage can happen. I prefer to go at the guidelines set out by Europe and Japan – somewhere over 550 pg/mL.

Supplementing

Best to get B12 from animal based sources – strongest providers are the organ meats (liver, kidney) and seafood like oysters and clams. To get ahead quickly or to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will need activated B12, so hydroxy or methyl based cobalamin are the best. If there is intestinal absorption issues, then you’ll need a pill to dissolve under the tongue or an injection to provide the boost. What I carry in the clinic is an activated form of B12/B complex so it absorbs easily and we see good results on the before and after blood work, or we can go for the injection – usually weekly for a month and then once a month for a few months. Then we re-test.

 

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, A HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in ongoing education with the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

Plastics & Cancer

Why I get frustrated

Nestle Waters donates $70,000 to breast cancer.

Nestle Waters plastic packaging is a breast cancer contributor. 

Yes, both these statements are true. This is what frustrates me to no end.

Nestle-Waters-Pink-Packs.jpg
Xenoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body. The man-man molecules are foreign so the body can’t clear it out and it builds up.
Stop drinking from plastic containers. Do not freeze, store or heat food in plastic.
“The results of our data mining show (a) a significant correlation between exposure to xenoestrogens and increased, gender-related, cancer risk and (b) a need to re-evaluate agents so far defined as endocrine disruptors, as they are also key molecules in carcinogenesis.
Xenoestrogens are  one of the big contributors to estrogen linked breast cancer. “
Reference here

Why plastic containers and not healthy:

BPA has been replaced with bisphenol S. Studies show it leaches out as well. 
“Yet BPS is getting out. Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA.
A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer. “[Manufacturers] put ‘BPA-free’ on the label, which is true.
The thing they neglected to tell you is that what they’ve substituted for BPA has not been tested for the same kinds of problems that BPA has been shown to cause.”
Reference here
You are better with glass or stainless steel. 

Fatigued? Could your Iron be low?

Fatigued?

Low iron could be part of the root cause of your fatigue. It could be a matter of absorption, health of the red blood cell, or compounding factors like thyroid, poor sleep, and related heart issues. ™There is preliminary evidence that iron supplementation might improve unexplained fatigue in non-anemic women. Low iron is one of the top reasons for fatigue, but it is not the only reason. Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you dig into the root cause of your fatigue.

Get help now.

Who is at Risk?

  • menstruating women
  • vegan and vegetarians
  • high performance athletes
  • those with Celiac, gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s or colitis
  • long term use of proton pump inhibitors
  • H.Pylori infection
  • internal bleeding of any kind

Food Sources of Iron

™Food Sources: meats of all kinds, liver and organ meats (animal sources best absorbed), kelp, legumes, tofu, whole grains, molasses, nuts and seeds, wheat, millet, dark leafy greens, sardines, prune juice and oysters.

Iron Absorption

Iron absorption depends on proper stomach acid and the ability for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to absorb. The body will only absorb what iron it needs, and pass the rest along in the stool. Animal based heme (iron) is best absorbed. Vegetable based iron sources are absorbed at a fraction of animal based sources. If there are stomach acid issues, like an H.Pylori infection or prolonged use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s), or issues with the GI lining like in Celiac, Crohn’s or Colitis, then absorption of iron and other vital nutrients may be impaired.

Your iron could be low if you have these symptoms:

™Fatigue, weakness

™Dizziness, especially on rising quickly

™Shortness of breath on exertion, chest pain

™Headache

™Coldness in your hands and feet

™Pale skin, tongue, conjunctiva

™Brittle nails

™Swelling or sore tongue, cracks at side mouth

™Enlarged spleen, frequent infections

Why do I feel this way?

™Iron is also a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This is why low iron has the potential to contribute to low mood.

Iron deficiency may affect selenium absorption, which could then affect thyroid hormone production. Low thyroid function can can contribute to a state of fatigue.

™Iron deficiency can also cause restless legs, contributing to poor sleep, which means less healing in sleep, more hormonal imbalance and compounded issues of fatigue.

If you don’t have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. This can lead to arrhythmias, murmur, enlarged heart, or even heart failure.

Iron is used to make the hemoglobin complex on the red blood cells.

™If your red blood cells are breaking down or not enough are made, you will not have the ability to use the iron to make the hemoglobin.

™There are four “parking spots” for Oxygen and carbon dioxide on your red blood cells – this is the iron binding capacity or “TIBC” you see on your blood work.

™When the TIBC is high you iron might be low.

Sometimes serum iron is fine but the ferritin is high. The body squirrels away iron when there is an infection. This is because virus and bacteria use iron to help replicate. What a smart body we have!  Inflammatory factors of infection and low iron contributes to fatigue.

 

Diagnosing Low Iron

Clinical presentation (your signs and symptoms) are the first clue to low iron. A simple blood test including a CBC and Iron Panel will help dig into the root cause of your fatigue. Further exploration and tests may be required to diagnose other contributing factors of health as mentioned above. A naturopathic doctor is always on the look out for the true root cause of your health concerns.

™CBC – complete blood count

–Number, size of red blood cells (RBC) (iron def. anemia red blood cells are smaller than normal)

–Number, size of white blood cells

–Number of platelets

–Reticulocyte count – immature RBC – tells if bone marrow production rate of RBCs is normal

–Hemoglobin- iron rich protein on your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues and carbon dioxide away

–Hematocrit – measures how much space your red blood cells take up in your blood

™Serum iron – amount of iron in your blood. Not always indicative of the total amount of iron in your body.

™Serum ferritin – think tin is something you store things in– this is your iron storage.

™Transferrin – trans for transfer – this protein carries iron in your blood

™TIBC – measures how much of the transferrin is around and not carrying any iron

Dr.  Laura M. Brown, ND 

7 Added Benefits For Adults In Guelph Who See A Chiropractor

Shared By kyphotic-spine-webDr. Phil McAllister, from Life Natural Health News

When most of us think about seeing our chiropractor, we think about getting help with back pain or some other kind of musculoskeletal problem. But did you know that chiropractic is also a great way to improve your general health and wellness?

The core concept of chiropractic is to restore the function of your nervous system so that it can do what’s it’s designed to do: keeping your body healthy and active. Chiropractic is truly about prevention. If you keep your nervous system working smoothly and without interference, many health issues become non-issues!

Don’t take our word for it, though. Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of scientific research that shows that chiropractic is good for much more than just aches and pains. Here’s a review of some of this literature.

1 – Boosts Immune Function

A 2010 study1 found that chiropractic adjustments actually boosted blood serum levels of some important natural antibodies in patients. The authors suggested that chiropractic adjustments might “prime” the immune system, making it easier to ward off infection and illness.

2 – Reduces Inflammation

Researchers in a 2011 study2 compared back pain patients to people with no pain and gave both groups chiropractic adjustments. The authors found that the back pain patients who received chiropractic care had dramatically lower levels of a key inflammatory cytokine, known as TNF-α. High levels of TNF-α have been linked to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.

3 – Chiropractic Reduces Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a huge public health issue in the US; it’s estimated that about 30% of adults suffer from this serious condition. A 2007 study3 in the Journal of Human Hypertension looked at a group of patients with high blood pressure. Half received received an adjustment of their atlas, and the other half received a sham adjustment.

The decrease in blood pressure was so dramatic in the patients who received real adjustments that the researchers wrote that it “is similar to that seen by giving two different anti-hypertensive agents simultaneously.” In fact, 85% of the study patients had improvement after just one adjustment!

4 – Reduces Stress

An interesting study by a team of Japanese researchers4 in 2011 gave chiropractic adjustments to 12 men and examined PET scan images and blood chemistry to examine the effect that chiropractic has on the autonomic nervous system.

After receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment, patients had altered brain activity in the parts of the brain responsible for pain processing and stress reactions. They also had significantly reduced cortisol levels, indicating decreased stress. Participants also reported lower pain scores and a better quality of life after treatment.

5 – Improves Balance

As we age, sometimes we start to lose some of our balance, strength, and flexibility that we had in our youth. Because of this, older folks are vulnerable to serious injuries from trips and falls. Chiropractic helps keep your body active by restoring the normal, healthy functioning of your spine. One of the important roles of your spine is balance, aided by nerves called proprioceptors. These propriocepters relay information to your brain on the position of your body.

A small study5 from 2009 found that people who received chiropractic adjustments had reduced dizziness and improved balance. A 2015 review of the literature6 suggests that chiropractic care might be an effective, natural way to help prevent falls in elderly patients.

6 – Relieves Colic in Babies

In 2012, researchers7 studied 104 infants who were suffering from colic. One-third of the infants were treated with chiropractic adjustments and the parents were aware of the treatment; one-third were treated and the parents were unaware of the treatment; and one-third were untreated but the parents were anaware.

The authors found that the parents reported a significant decrease in infant crying in the treated babies, compared to the infants who didn’t receive treatment. The knowledge of the parent had no effect on the improvement.

7 – Relieves Asthma Symptoms

A 2013 study8 reported that chiropractic adjustments were effective at increasing lung functioning, and some recent research9 shows that chiropractic care can help reduce the symptoms of asthma in some children.

 

To find a chiropractor in your community who can help you restore your health, use our handyChiropractor Search Directory.

Reference Studies

  1. Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010;(18)26.
  2. Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, Triano JJ, McGregor M, Woodhouse L, Injeyan HS. Elevated production of inflammatory mediators including nociceptive chemokines in patients with neck pain: a cross-sectional evaluation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2011;34(8):498-505.
  3. Bakris G, Dickholtz M Sr, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007;21(5):347-52.
  4. Ogura, Takeshi and Manabu Tashiro, Mehedi,Shoichi Watanuki, Katsuhiko Shibuya, Keiichiro Yamaguchi, Masatoshi Itoh, Hiroshi Fukuda, Kazuhiko Yanai. Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain. Alternative Therapies. 2011;17(6):12-17.
  5. Strunk RG, Hawk C. Effects of chiropractic care on dizziness, neck pain, and balance: a single-group, pre-experimental, feasibility study. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2009;8(4):156–164.
  6. Kendall JC, Hartvigsen J, French SD, Azari MF. Is there a role for neck manipulation in elderly falls prevention? – An overview. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2015;9(1):53-63.
  7. Miller JE, Newell D, Bolton JE. Efficacy of chiropractic manual therapy on infant colic: a pragmatic single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2012;35(8):600-7.
  8. Engel RM, Vemulpad SR, Beath K. Short-term effects of a course of manual therapy and exercise in people with moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a preliminary clinical trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013;36(8):490-6.
  9. Pepino VC, Ribeiro JD, Ribeiro MA, de Noronha M, Mezzacappa MA, Schivinski CI. Manual therapy for childhood respiratory disease: A systematic review. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013;36(1):57-65.