May 26

B-12 Vitamins

B-12 Vitamins

Has Life Lost Its Luster?
By Dr. Scott Conard

Do you have relationship troubles? Do you wonder where your sense of wonder has gone? Has your zest for life dried up? The problem could be a Vitamin B-12 deficiency, yes, but also a deficiency of one of the 10 Essentials for Health and Wellness. As we have examined in recent issues of the VitaJournal, a lack of Vitamin B-12 can intertwine with a lack of the physical, emotional and spiritual must-haves on which TriVita is built.

In my medical practice, I often see a B-12 deficiency as a gateway condition: it triggers other problems, and people start to spiral downward in their self-care and overall wellness. This month, let us see how B-12 is connected with Essentials numbers six through ten: emotions and spirituality. (As you may know, these Essentials are: Give and Receive Love; Be Forgiving; Practice Gratitude; Develop Acceptance and Develop a Relationship with God.)

Overall, B-12 affects emotional health because it has implications for the central nervous system. Think of the last time you were physically exhausted. How hard was it to be loving, forgiving or full of joy? How can you show gratitude for all that you have when you can barely drag through the day?

Problems, problems, problems. Is a B deficiency to blame?
If your spouse is becoming B-12 deficient, he or she probably seems more withdrawn, less thoughtful, less engaged in interaction with you and others. Your partner may become less considerate and more grumpy. These are all things related not necessarily to the relationship, but to the deficiency of B-12 and its affect on the central nervous system.

I have seen some extreme cases of what a B-12 deficiency can do to a life:

A 36-year-old woman felt chronically exhausted and was irritable with her husband and kids. The husband had an affair. With their relationship on the rocks, the couple came to me to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases, and she mentioned being a vegetarian. Her B-12 level was practically nonexistent! After we corrected her deficiency, she got a new lease on life: her energy came back, she was able to deal with her kids constructively and started getting counseling for her marriage.

A 67-year-old man who had formerly been productive and happy retired from his job. The change in routine was hard on him: He stopped playing golf, became sour and grumpy and withdrawn. Due to that stress he frequently had an upset stomach, and starting taking PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). When he came to me to be treated for despondency, I ran a number of tests. The man had a severe B-12 deficiency, due to the PPIs, and a vegan-oriented home diet (and remember, as we age, we do not absorb B-12 well).

With B-12 supplementation, this man became more accepting, more forgiving, and more alive than he had been in months.

Finally, let us address spiritual health. Part of a great relationship with God is seeing Gods hand in the world around us, and letting that be important. As you become more and more B-12 deficient, though, you withdraw and lose appreciation for that something greater around you: life is not wondrous anymore.

I hope these last few columns have shown you something important: that a B-12 deficiency leads to a gradual process of going away, emotionally, physically, socially and often spiritually. A great life takes having all 10 Essentials in your life. Any one of them going wrong can be your signal that somethings missing. And that something could be Vitamin B-12.

Scott Conard, M.D., founded TienaHealth, an organization of medical doctors in primary care practice who emphasize healthy lifestyles to maintain wellness. Dr. Conard is considered a national expert on disease prevention. TienaHealth also conducts clinical trials.

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