Why People With Hashimoto’s should Have their B12 levels Checked

People affected by Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism must check their B12 levels

thyroid diseaseDo you know that Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common and as many as two-fifths of the population may suffer from this deficiency or have lower than normal ranges of this vitamin? This can be significant since B12 deficiency has similar symptoms as more serious diseases and may manifest as memory loss, anemia, cardiovascular disease and even autism. This important vitamin is crucial for brain and nervous system health and deficiency often occurs not only due to diet but also due to the vitamin not being absorbed during digestion.

Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease and the same factors that trigger this disease also cause a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism patients should be careful about a Vitamin B12 deficiency and take precautions against it. So should those with elevated Homocysteine and MTHFR mutation.

Those vague symptoms could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency

Patients of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and those who suffer from a Vitamin B12 deficiency may show some common symptoms. These include:

  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Shaky feelings
  • Depression
  • Occasional memory loss
  • Loss of cognitive function

As people grow older, they may not be able to absorb this all important vitamin and many of these symptoms can simply be put down to increasing age or even dementia. As a matter of fact, when older people have high levels of Vitamin B12, their brains don’t shrink as much and they do not suffer from as much cognitive decline as those who do have a Vitamin B12 deficiency.  People with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism should check for deficiency and treat it.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also show up as anemia

Vitamin B 12 deficiency can be a factor in minor and major problems like:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Autism
  • Infertility
  • Other autoimmune diseases

B12 deficiency may be responsible for anemia or even pernicious anemia, a more serious disease because it is an autoimmune disease. Just like Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, other autoimmune diseases have various triggers that cause flare ups. About 25 percent of people who have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are at greater risk of developing various autoimmune diseases including pernicious anemia.

The causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency

While diet has a role to play in Vitamin B12 deficiency, it is not the only cause. Among the main causes are various digestive disorders that result in the vitamin being poorly absorbed in the digestive tract. Apart from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, some people suffer from unknown or undiagnosed autoimmune diseases that hinder or prevent the absorption of this important vitamin. Others may produce antibodies against the parietal cells or the protein intrinsic factor, again causing deficiency of this vitamin.

A diet that is high in refined, fast and junk foods leads to inflammation, stress and food intolerances. As such, it becomes difficult for many nutrients including Vitamin B12 to be absorbed.  Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases may also cause inflammation and damage in the intestinal tract, which becomes another causative factor in Vitamin B12 deficiency.  Among other causes of this deficiency are:

  • Low levels or stomach acid
  • Use of antacids
  • Use of proton pump inhibitors
  • Use of metformin
  • Certain prescription drugs like anticonvulsants, neomycin and others
  • Alcoholism
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Vegan or vegetarian diet
  • Digestive diseases or disorders like IBS, Crohn’s disease, ileal resection, chronic  tropical sprue and anything affecting the digestive system
  • HIV
  • Gastritis or H. pylori infection

Unfortunately, impaired absorption of Vitamin B12 can lead to pernicious anemia that is responsible for 80 percent of the cases of megaloblastic anemia.

Vegans and vegetarians at risk for B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common not only among the high risk population but more specifically in vegans and vegetarians. That is because Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal sources in the diet. Among the plants that have some Vitamin B12 are spirulina, algae, seaweed and some grasses, but even if these are edible, the vitamins in these are not absorbed very well.

Poor gut health is also responsible for lower absorption of this vitamin. If the gut is also damaged or inflamed, then the risk of pernicious anemia in Hashimoto’s patients who are also vegan or vegetarian further increases.

Kinds of Vitamin B12

Different kinds of Vitamin B12 are available, but all are not created equal. Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form of this vitamin, but this is not well absorbed. Methylcobalamin also called Methyl B12 is better absorbed and more bioavailable. It also helps in the liver detoxification process, reducing inflammation and it is more neurologically active.

While excess of this vitamin can easily be excreted and does not usually cause any side effects, it is better to find the right dose of the vitamin for your requirements by working with a qualified health practitioner, especially if you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

MTHFR and B12 Learn More Here

This Is a 3 part video series that will help you understand so much more. You can watch all three videos here

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