Quick overview of what you’ll learn from this blog post:
- Vitamin B12 explained
- Vitamin B12 deficiency and its relationship to depression
- How Vitamin B12 supplementation can help
Back in early January, we published a blog about B12 and why it is so important. Among the many reasons listed is the role B12 plays in healthy neurotransmission – aka how quickly and clearly our brain sends and receives information.
There is no doubting the importance of healthy brain function, and yet this is just one of B12’s many talents. But perhaps even more resonant are the implications of B12 supplementation when one considers the interconnectivity of cognition and mental health.
What is B12 anyway?
First, let’s establish a bit of context.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin synthesized in the human body by bacteria. Because it contains cobalt ions, B12 is also categorized as a cobalamin, which also makes it one of the larger and more complex vitamin formulations.
B12 is mostly gained from the consumption of animal products (meat, egg, dairy), hence vegetarians and vegans are often lacking. Nutrient deficiencies, including B12, is also consistent in those suffering from digestive conditions like IBS or Crohn’s. For these individuals and anyone deficient in B12, there are many potential negative symptoms including fatigue, weakness, constipation, balance troubles, mental fogginess, peripheral tingling, sadness, and cognitive impairment.
B12 & Depression
At its worst, cognitive impairment as a result of B12 deficiency can result in “hematological changes, neurological and psychiatric problems, which can manifest as irritability, changes in personality, depression, and memory loss (Sangle, Prerna et al., 2020).
A 2011 study, published in the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, noted that even slight B12 deficiencies have been shown to cause “neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients.” Conversely, Vitamin B12 supplementation in conjunction with folate resulted in cognitive improvements.
In a case report out of Bitlis State Hospital, Department of Neurology, Bitlis, Türkiye researchers presented treatment of a 33-year-old woman complaining of “sad mood, fatigue, lack of interest, sleep disturbances and weight loss” following a loss in her family. The patient had no history of mental illness but was recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder. This diagnosis preceded psychiatric treatment along with prescription therapy that proved ineffective.
Upon examination, doctors noted mild “hypoactive tendon reflexes of inferior extremities”, but no other abnormalities or cognitive impairments. Only once laboratory results were complete, were doctors able to identify a B12 deficiency as the outlier among otherwise sound general health.
After 10 days of supplementation via injection, B12 levels returned to within the normal range. The patient – a vegetarian – reported an immediate mood improvement, and within a month, nearly all symptoms had disappeared.
If you’re curious how you can supplement B12 levels from home, we’ve got you covered. From over the counter supplements to injections to IVs, there are so many options to choose from. So, which is right for you?
First thing is first. Here at AgelessRx, we recommend a form of B12 known as methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is a vital form of activated vitamin B. It is used to supplement B12 deficiencies in individuals suffering from diabetes, pernicious anemia, older adults, and people with digestive disorders such as celiac or Crohn’s, among others.
It is important to note that Methylcobalamin is naturally occurring and vital to central nervous system function and the production of red blood cells. In this way, it is unlike cyanocobalamin, a manufactured form of B12 common in many over the counter dietary supplements.
In many cases, individuals with digestive disorders, for example, make every effort to eat an appropriately balanced diet and are still unable to absorb the vitamins they consume. Oral forms are also often less effective for similar folks. An injectable form of B12 delivers the vitamin straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach where it can be prematurely absorbed.
To learn more about B12 injections and the AgelessRx prescription delivery program, follow this link.