Mold Toxin Reduction of Vitamin B12 and Neurological Function
James Schaller MD, from US Mold Physician.com
Researchers report that they are finding that chronic indoor mold toxin patients commonly have vitamin B12 deficiencies. This is important for many reasons. First, people are rarely exposed to a single mycotoxin, and do not need this extra insult on top of other mycotoxin damage. Second, vitamin B12 is not a trivial nutrient and slowly developing deficiencies could be serious.
One of my concerns is that mold exposed pateints can start to take poor care of themselves or act in unhealthy ways which will add to the effects that are proposed by these researchers and lower B12 by two means resulting in neurological injury.
As a background, vitamin B12 deficiency is also known as pernicious anemia and low vitamin B12 or cobalamin is a factor in many disorders. The absorption of dietary vitamin B12 occurs in the small intestine and requires a secretion from the stomach known as intrinsic factor. If intrinsic factor is deficient, absorption of vitamin B12 is severely diminished. Vitamin B12 deficiency impairs the body's ability to make blood, accelerates blood cell destruction, and damages the nervous system. Pernicious anemia may be an autoimmune disease. The immune system destroys cells in the stomach that secrete intrinsic factor. Many people with PA have both chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, called atrophic gastritis, and antibodies that fight their intrinsic factor-secreting cells.
The term "pernicious anemia" is occasionally used to refer to any anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be due to poor absorption of dietary B12 despite normal levels of intrinsic factor. For example, celiac disease and Crohn's disease may cause B12 malabsorption, which can lead to anemia. Other causes of B12 deficiency include gastrointestinal surgery, pancreatic disease, intestinal parasites, and certain drugs. Pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, and advanced stages of cancer may increase the body's requirement for B12, sometimes leading to a deficiency state. Low stomach acid, known as hypochlorhydria, interferes with the absorption of B12 from food but not from supplements. Aging is associated with a decrease in the normal secretion of stomach acid. As a result, some older people with normal levels of intrinsic factor and with no clear cause for malabsorption will become vitamin B12-deficient unless they take at least a few micrograms per day of vitamin B12 from supplements. In my opinion, individuals with routine use of stomach acid blockers should have supplemented B12.
Symptoms of Severe Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Most of these symptoms can occur before the deficiency is severe enough to cause full anemia.
Prescription drug treatment for some individuals includes lifelong intramuscular vitamin B12 injections. Other drug options also exist.
Except for vegans -- those who abstain from eggs, dairy, and other animal products -- virtually no one in North America has a diet fully deficient in vitamin B12. Those who avoid animal protein foods can easily take vitamin B12 supplements instead. Strict vegans commonly develop a dietary deficiency of vitamin B12. People who lack intrinsic factor or have a malabsorption condition need to depend on high amounts of vitamin B12 from supplements and not the lower amounts found in food. Similarly, older people with a vitamin B12 deficiency due to a lack of stomach acid, but not a lack of intrinsic factor, cannot depend on food-based vitamin B12.
Tempeh, a fermented soybean product, provides some vitamin B12. However, the B12 content of tempeh is variable and insufficient to meet dietary B12 requirements. Small but inconsistent amounts of B12 also occur in seaweed and spirulina. Because of this variability, most doctors do not recommend vegetable sources of vitamin B12 to replenish deficient stores.
In a person with true pernicious anemia, generally one should start with an injection. After blood tests become normal, oral vitamin at 1,000 to 2,000 mcg (1 to 2 mg) per day usually works. Yet, if a person lacks intrinsic factor, only about 1% of this oral amount (10Ð20 mcg) will be absorbed, but that amount is more than sufficient to prevent future vitamin B12 deficiency. Many physicians are unaware of this well-researched option and thus unnecessarily recommend lifelong B12 injections.
B12 should be fully tested for in any possible indoor mycotoxin victim.
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