Part of the 50 & Up Club? You Need to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin B12


Originally published on phlabs.org

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs and are familiar with my book, it’s no secret to you that I’m all about overcoming nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. If you have too little or too much of the nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, which are needed for proper body functioning, you are likely to have health issues. Nutritional imbalance puts you at a greater risk of developing health issues such as depression and obesity. And if you already have certain health issues, like metabolic syndrome, you may need more of a certain nutrient than the average person.

Nutrient deficiencies in particular are very common for a variety of reasons, including:

The latter of these reasons, older age, is something we will all inevitably face if we are lucky enough to grow older. With age comes wisdom, but with this wisdom also comes a body that is less efficient and less capable of absorbing the nutrients it gets from food intake. Not to mention, it’s pretty common these days for older adults to be taking at least one or more prescription drug.

One nutrient we should be especially concerned about is vitamin B12. Recent research in Ireland has suggested that one in eight people over 50 have low vitamin B12 levels.

Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins. It is necessary for nerve function, brain health and production of red blood cells and DNA. This is all important for metabolism as well as cellular and nervous system functions. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which makes people tired and weak. This vitamin may also help prevent memory loss associated with aging.

You may have heard that vegans need to take B12 supplements, because this vitamin is mainly found in animal foods such as eggs, poultry, fish, milk and red meat.

“Normal function of the digestive system required for food-bound vitamin B12 absorption is commonly impaired in individuals over 60 years of age, placing them at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency,” reports the Linus Pauling Institute.

And as mentioned, it appears that just being over 50 can put you at a greater risk for this nutrient deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of a B12 deficiency, which may be mistaken for other health issues, may include:

  • Memory issues and issues with general thinking skills (may even cause brain shrinkage, according to the American Academy of Neurology)

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Constipation

  • Tingling and numbness in the feet and/or hands

  • Disorientation

  • Paranoia

  • Irritability

“Doctors don’t always have B12 at the front of their minds when a patient is having symptoms like these, according to Joshua Miller, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University,” according to one source.

“But if not caught in time, some of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may be irreversible.”

Also know that the recent research found that smokers are also at a high risk for B12 deficiency and so are people with Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, the evidence showed that one in seven older adults (50 and over) are also low in folate(another B vitamin), according to this report. Folate is also necessary for nerve function, brain health and the production of red blood cells.

How can we be proactive?

“If you are over age 50, the Institute of Medicine recommends that you get extra B12 from a supplement, since you may not be able to absorb enough of the vitamin through foods. A standard multivitamin should do the trick,” according to  Harvard Health.

Supplements can be great at alleviating nutritional deficiencies, however, you must supplement with the advice of a competent healthcare professional. It is not safe to blindly take supplements if you do not know the status of your nutrient levels (which you can find out through a comprehensive nutrient test). In addition to this, there are many poor quality supplements that just do not work, so you want to get recommended brands from your doctor.

And if you’re like me, you may even have issues absorbing certain nutrients from supplements.

Don’t worry. There is a solution.

I utilize pH IV Vitamin Drips on a monthly basis to address my inevitable nutrient absorption issues. They provide vitamins (and hydration) directly into the bloodstream to help boost my nutritional status and help with energy levels. I believe this has successfully boosted my immunity, energy and good health.

If you’re squeamish about needles, please don’t let that deter you. It is really worth it, and I feel confident in saying that it will improve your quality of life as it has improved mine. You can read more about these health “cocktails,” here.

Enjoy your healthy life!

*For the month of August take 50% off B12! Book your appointment today!

The Nutrient All ALS Patients May Need


Originally published on phlabs.org

There are some diseases which disproportionately affect certain racial groups. For example, diabetes and hypertension are especially prevalent in the African-American communities. And amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, appears to be most common among Caucasians - especially males. According to the ALS CARE Database, 60% of the people with ALS in the Database are men and 93% of patients are Caucasian.

ALS is a rare but devastating disease and reportedly affects about 3.9 people per 100,000 in the U.S. population. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Essentially, this disease causes you to lose control of your brain. And if you don’t have control of your brain, you don’t have control of your body. ALS also causes loss of muscle control. The leading cause of death from ALS is respiratory failure.

Former New Orleans Saint NFL player Steve Gleason is currently battling ALS. Reportedly, he was diagnosed at just 34-years-old (ALS is more commonly found in people between the ages of 55 and 75). There is no cure or known cause of ALS, however, some sources say repeated head trauma from playing football could be the possible culprit behind Gleason developing ALS.

“There are several other young football players who have suffered from ALS, such as Tim Shawand Kevin Turner, who died of the disease in March [2016] at 46,” according to one source.

“The head trauma hypothesis is bolstered by the fact that veterans appear to be more likely to develop ALS, as are soccer players. (With that sport, head-butting might be the culprit.) Other studies have found simply that concussions seem to be a risk factor for ALS, regardless of whether one is a professional athlete.”

Another case of ALS we previously discussed involved Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard, who died of ALS at the age of 73.

And then there was the incredible story of Stephen Hawking and his battle with ALS that lasted around five decades! Hawking, who died last March at the age of 76 due to ALS, was diagnosed with the disease at just 21-years-old. After being diagnosed, doctors told him he would only live two years. Hawking proved them wrong by living another 55 years and achieving incredible things in his career as a physicist.

These stories of ALS all involve Caucasian men. At the end of the day, irrespective of our backgrounds, anyone may become a victim of this devastating disease. But the good news is that we can learn as much as we can about this disease and identify ways to be proactive.

One of the best preventative strategies may be following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that fights oxidative stress and inflammation.

But in addition to this, recent research shows that high doses of vitamin B12 supplementation may be able to slow down the progression of ALS if you already have it. The key is that you start supplementation before or during early onset (within the first year) of having ALS symptoms.

The research involved treating people with ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin, the physiologically active form of vitamin B12, according to one report discussing the study.

“Vitamin B12 is particularly important in the development and function of the central nervous system (CNS) — the spinal cord and the brain. It is also involved in the maturation of red blood cells and the production of DNA, the genetic material inside all cells.”

(Main sources of vitamin B12 are found in animal products, like meat and eggs. So if you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need to incorporate a B12 supplement into your diet).

According to the report, methylcobalamin is a form of B12 that can be used as a dietary supplement to treat megaloblastic anemia.

“Due to its important role in the CNS, the vitamin is also used to help treat peripheral neuropathy, a disorder of the nerves that send information from the CNS to the rest of the body. In some countries like Japan, it is seen as a potential treatment for ALS.”

One body of research suggests that methylcobalamin was able to decrease homocysteine levels.

“Homocysteine (Hcy) exerts multiple neurotoxic mechanisms that have also been shown to be relevant in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Another study showed that ALS patients who received ultra-high-doses of B12 injections directly into their muscles showed improvement in muscle electrical activity only after just two weeks.

One study in Japan conducted with ALS patients showed that administering ultra-high-dose methylcobalamin therapy may improve the prognosis of patients. But, again, this appeared to only be evident in patients who started this therapy during early onset of symptoms.

Be Smart & Safe About Supplementation

This does not mean that you should be trying to get as much B12 into your body as possible in order to prevent or better manage ALS. If supplementation, especially when it’s used to treat a serious disease, is not administered by a competent healthcare professional, you may not end up receiving the benefits.

On top of this, when you supplement, you have to consider all of the other nutrients your body needs. And overdoing it on one nutrient may ‘knockout’ other essential nutrients that help keep you healthy. So you need to be mindful of all supplements you may be taking.

For example, taking potassium supplements may deplete B12 from the body. Furthermore, vitamin C supplements may affect the ability of your body being able to efficiently absorb B12 from foods. Vitamin C supplements may break down vitamin B12 in the digestive tract and increase the absorption of iron in the gastrointestinal tract.

These are all reasons why routine nutrient tests are highly recommended. And remember to seek medical advice from a competent healthcare professional before you supplement, especially if you are battling a disease like ALS.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.  

B12 Cure-All or Waste of Money?


Originally published on phlabs.org

Are B12 injections worth the hype?

“B12 injections given here!” Doctor’s offices, chiropractic centers and other wellness-focused operations love to advertise B12. And why not? Patients swear it gives them an “energy boost.”  

Animal sources like meat and eggs are the primary sources of B12 in the U.S.  A simple blood test can tell you your level — numbers between 500 and 1,000 pg/ml are desirable.

However, vegans, vegetarians, women, alcoholics, people with bowel diseases like colitis or Crohn’s, and people who have had gut surgery (like gastric bypass surgery) are the most likely to be deficient. Additionally, absorption of food-bound vitamin B12 decreases as we age. It is generally recommended that adults 51 years and older take a supplement containing vitamin B12.

What is vitamin B12?

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it dissolves in water. In general, after the body uses water-soluble vitamins, leftover amounts leave the body through the urine. B12 is different in that it can be stored for years in the liver. It is actually the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body.

What are the risks of B12 deficiency?

The risks of B12 deficiency include anemia, numbness, impaired senses and nerve damage.

If you do have a deficiency, evidence shows that a simple oral tablet is just as effective in restoring levels as injected B12. A 2011 study in the journal Clinical Therapeutics showed that people were able to attain 100% of desired B12 levels simply by taking a daily oral supplement.

What about taking supplements even when you don’t have a deficiency?

It seems to depend on what you want to take it for. In 1978, researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition measured exercise performance before and after B12 injections (or placebo injections) and found no difference in performance.  

But another study looked at young people with hearing loss due to too much noise exposure. This study found some benefit in hearing in the participants who took extra B12. This makes some sense, since B12 is critical to nerve health. The B12 you don’t need will be excreted in the urine, unless you have liver disease.

There is a small subset of people who truly cannot absorb vitamin B12 well from food or from oral supplements. There is a test called CobaSorb that will tell you if you are one of them. Potassium supplements can reduce absorption of vitamin B12.  There is also some evidence that vitamin C in supplements can interfere with obtaining the vitamin B12 found in foods. But note that if you’ve had weight loss surgery, your doctor should guide you in deciding what supplements should be taken.  

Although taking vitamin B12 has almost no side effects, your dollars should be spent on supplements you actually need. If you have low B12, opt for a less expensive pill form; if your B12 level is normal, take a multivitamin to boost all your vitamin levels.

Who may be at risk for B12 deficiency?

Do you have pernicious anemia? Are you on long-term antibiotics? Do you gave gastritis? Are you a smoker or a vegetarian or vegan? Do you drink a lot of alcohol? If you answered yes to any of these, you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and should consider a supplement.

How much B12 can I take?

If your kidneys and liver are healthy, you can probably take 1,000 micrograms daily without adverse effects (which may include itching, numbness and tingling, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea and swelling). Some doctors say there are absolutely no side effects to massive B12 doses. However, the recommended daily intake of B12 is less than 3 micrograms. Taking over 3,000 micrograms, which is significantly higher than the recommended daily intake, is known to cause adverse effects.

At pH Labs, we help you find out what your body really needs through a personalized health assessment, advanced lab testing and can assist you with boosting b12 through our pH Drip Lab. This way, you’re not left to trial and error to find out what supplements to take or lifestyle adjustments to make. Our doctors will work with you to address any deficiencies in your body, including vitamin B12. Visit our website or call us at 855-PHLABS1 to schedule an appointment.

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.