Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Dr. David Brownstein, M.D.

What Vitamin B12 Can Do for You

Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 03:13 PM

By David Brownstein, M.D.

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Continuous exposure to toxic elements has increased our need for optimal — rather than minimal — intake of nutrients. Exposure to toxins requires increasing vitamin and mineral ingestion, including vitamin B12.
 
There are many ways to test nutrient levels, including analyzing:
 
• Red blood cells
 
• White blood cells
 
• Hair
 
• Serum
 
• Urine
 
Unfortunately, all of these methods may be inadequate to test a nutrient that works inside the cells, as vitamin B12 does. In fact, vitamin B12 performs a wide range of functions within the body, and all of them occur inside the cells.
 
Currently, there is no test to measure the B12 level inside the body’s cells. The serum test measures the vitamin B12 level in the bloodstream. The reference range is 260 to 1,100 mg/mL. My clinical experience has clearly shown that the B12 reference range is much too large.
 
Although I test every patient’s B12 level, determining whether or not a patient needs to start therapy can’t be guided by their serum level alone. It should be actually decided more on a clinical basis.
 
In other words, there are countless patients who suffer from B12 deficiency even though they test within the reference range.The most common complaint I hear from patients is that they feel fatigued. In fact, more than 80 percent of my patients suffer chronic fatigue.
 
Along with fatigue, patients may experience depression, brain fog, body aches and pains, cognitive decline, and memory loss. All of these symptoms can be related to B12 deficiency.
 
Why would vitamin B12 be associated with fatigue? Because it is an essential nutrient for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy molecule produced in the mitochondria of every cell in the body.
 
To be clear, there are many factors that can cause fatigue and the other symptoms mentioned above, including hypothyroidism, low adrenal function, and other nutritional deficiencies. But it is impossible for a person with chronic fatigue to improve their energy level if they are deficient in vitamin B12.
 
Yet vitamin B12 is one of the safest and most effective therapies for improving energy production in the cells. My patients have told me time and time again that when they started B12 therapy, the first thing that improves is their energy level.

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