Could Deficiencies 'B' at the Root of Mental Health Disorders?
B Vitamins for the 'B'rain.
The brain seems to have a special need for the B vitamins. Memory loss, disorientation, hallucination, depression, lack of coordination, and personality changes can all occur with B-Vitamin deficiencies.
Let's take a look at some of the research...
Obsessive Compulsive disorder and Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is a paralyzing fear of the outside world. There is a common thread between agoraphobics and individuals that suffer from pyscho-physiological problems like anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities.
B vitmamins play a big role in managing moods-- so it's not surprise that in most cases of agoraphobia, there are also instances of B- Vitamin deficiencies. In extreme cases like agoraphobia, it goes beyond simple deficiencies from poor food choices.
Many people are not able to assimilate their B vitamins— this results in B vitamins circulating the blood stream and never docking the cell for use.
Dr. C. Abbey cites 23 cases who all displayed classic symptoms of agoraphobia and vitamin B deficiency. Each patient was put on a large unique dose of B complex vitamins and there was an 83% success rate!
"Seven people totally recovered experiencing neither panic nor anxiety attacks that they previously had, and one severely obsessive-compulsive agoraphobic was completely recovered when in three months 44 of her 48 symptoms vanished” (Journal of Orthomolecular psychiatry).
Children B-haviour problems
Canadian Physician Abram Hoffer, M.D, Ph.D, established the effectiveness of B vitamins in treating children with behavioural and learning disorders.
Dr. Hoffer treats children that display classic symptoms of Hyperactive syndrome (ADHD) — disruption in school, short attention span, restlessness, cheating, lying, tempter-tantrums and basic inability to learn.
Dr. Hoffer states that though B-vitamins are not the “cure-all” for hyperactive disorders, they are the solution for 50 percent of the patients (Padus, Emrika and the Editors of Prevention Magazine).
Alzheimer's and Memory Disorders
Choline is considered a B vitamin that is the cofactor of producing Acetylcholine-- along with the required nutrients; Vitamins B1 (Thiamine) and B12.
Many of the foods that are considered 'brain foods' contain high amounts of lecithin or choline (fish, liver, eggs etc) and researchers are finding that diets high in Lecithin and Choline can help to preserve the brain’s ability to reason, learn and remember. This is because Choline/ lecithin help to build up and protect the myelin sheath. the myelin sheath is the protective covering on all of our nerves that help to send signals or messages to the rest of our body.
“Normally as the brain ages, its cell membranes become more rigid with fatty deposits and lose their ability to take in and release brain chemicals and to relay messages” Dr. Mervis says “This can cause memory loss and confused thinking."
In my own practice I use a product called PS-100 (phosphotiodyl serine). This is a converted version of choline that helps to build up the myelin sheath. I use this product with clients who have early Alzheimer's, or to prevent the disease, AND I also use it when studying for exams!
B- vitamins have a profound impact on mood and behaviours. In one case of mania, a patient had sudden changes in mood and behaviour. He was irritable, agitated, insomnia, and was experiencing hallucinations. A proper physical and neurological test was completed and all test came back normal with the exception of abnormally low levels of Vitamin B12. The patient was given daily B12 injections and by the end of one week his mental status had returned to normal (Dr. Fredrick Goggans M.D).
At the University of North Carolina doctors are reporting more and more cases of psychosis relating to B12 defficienicy. Doctors warn “Psychiatric manifestations may be the first symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency” (American Journal of Psychiatry).
B12 is especially important to supplement for EVERYONE because it requires something called 'intrinsic factor' in order to be absorbed from your food.
Intrinsic factor is released with your stomach acid, and levels of intrinsic factor can be compromised by things like stress, and certain medications.
Additionally, blood levels of B12 are not always an accurate indicator of B12 levels within the cells. When I see high levels of B12 in the blood, it's often an indicator that the body is absorbing it, BUT it is not being used within the cells (where we need it!).
Some people have a hard time converting B-Vitamins due to a specific genetic mutation and abnormalities on MTHFR. this is why it is VERY important to introduce high quality supplements that provide B-Vitamins in a pre-converted state.
My fav recommendations:
· The best way to supplement B12 is sublingually (under the tongue) OR through injections.
· It is SO important to check that the B12 supplement says “Methylcobalamin” and NOT Cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is B12 in an easily absorbable form and Cyanocobalamin is B12 attached to a Cyanide molecule to allow it to enter the blood stream…. and we REALLY don’t want to be consuming Cyanide!
· I really like the AOR Tri B12 Synergy. Take one to two tablets under the tongue in the morning.
· I love AOR Advanced B Complex because they have created all the B vitamins in their already converted forms. This way we don’t need to worry if we are one of the few people that can’t convert our B vitamins, or if our body is deficient in other nutrients required for conversion.
· Supplement B-Vitamins 1-2 times per day with Breakfast and Lunch — NOT dinner, because since they are used to produce energy they can be quite stimulating.
Always, if you have any outstanding questions about B-Vitamin therapy feel free to contact me :)
Jiordana Saade, CNP