Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in foods such as poultry, meat, and fish. Additionally, it is located in every cell of the human body and is required for proper red blood cell formation, cellular metabolism, energy production, DNA synthesis, and the generation and control of the DNA for neurological functions. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 can lead to weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and loss of appetite.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A deficiency in B12 is a medical condition prompted by low levels of the vitamin in the blood. Although most individuals include enough vitamin B12 in their diets, a deficiency can still result if the vitamin is not absorbed significantly into the blood. The body stores between two and five mg of vitamin B12. Half is stored in the liver and about one-tenth of a percent is lost on a daily basis. This creates a need for continuous supplementation. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause the following:
Severe and permanent damage to the cardiovascular and nervous system
Ataxia, poor reflexes, and impaired sensory perception
Mania and psychosis
Mild symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include memory impairment, depression, and fatigue caused by low neurotransmitter levels and nerve damage.
The critical role of the thyroid is calcium balance and regulation of your metabolism. The thyroid tissues secrete two iodine-containing hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Hypothyroidism happens when T3 and T4 are not produced in sufficient quantities, which in turn upsets the balance of hormones in your body. Signs and symptoms are rarely noticed at the onset of the disease, but if left untreated hypothyroidism can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, infertility, obesity, and joint pain. Symptoms to be aware of include depression, unintentional weight gain, weakness, and constipation. Also, women over 60 are at higher risk for hypothyroidism. The good news is that tests can diagnose hypothyroidism accurately in the early stages, allowing you choose a safe and effective treatment option.
The Relationship Between Vitamin B12 and Hypothyroidism
Physicians commonly treat hypothyroidism with a prescription medication. However, considering the relationship between vitamin B12 and hypothyroidism, other types of treatment may be recommended. For instance, your diet is a significant determinant of the absorption of vitamin B12 and your medication. Vegetarians are more inclined to experience vitamin B12 deficiency because their diet lacks foods that contain vitamin B12 and they typically consume higher amounts of soy. You should speak with your doctor if you consume larger amounts of high fiber foods or soy and have hypothyroidism.
Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Hypothyroidism
Vitamin B12 deficiency exacerbates hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, both can be overlooked and challenging to diagnose. Some of the symptoms shared by both deficiencies include lethargy, depression, disturbed sleep patterns, memory impairment, and fatigue. Vitamin B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism affect the same person at the same time very frequently. The top four ways that adequate amounts of vitamin B12 are beneficial to hypothyroidism include:
1. Metabolism slows as much as 40 percent when thyroid function is low. Vitamin B12 is central to boosting the functions of thyroid hormones.
2. Vitamin B12 supplementation paired with thyroid hormone replacement or drugs can fully resolve symptoms when both deficiencies are present.
3. Improving a severe vitamin B12 deficiency is possible with daily high-dose B12 pills or weekly shots of vitamin B12. Remedying mild B12 deficiency is achievable with a standard multivitamin.
4. For vegetarians or vegans, it’s important to eat cereals, breads, or other grains fortified with vitamin B12 or take a daily supplement to make up for the lack of B12 in their diet.
Many people experiencing hypothyroidism take thyroid hormone replacement or other thyroid drugs along with vitamin B12.
Extra Vitamin B12 to Boost Your Health
Individuals with low vitamin B12 levels have elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood. High levels of homocysteine are typically found in the following conditions which Vitamin B12 is touted for its ability to help:
In addition, a combination of folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 can help lower homocysteine levels.
The Importance of Correct Levels of Vitamin B12 for Hypothyroidism
Decreased levels of vitamin B12 are regularly associated with overall health issues while abnormally elevated levels of vitamin B12 in the blood may indicate a cancer risk. However, there is a low risk of overdose by taking vitamin B12 supplements because they are water-soluble. Because of the high prevalence of B12 deficiency in individuals with hypothyroidism, supplementing the deficiency with vitamins and foods rich in B12 can improve symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, vitamin B12 supplements are an excellent treatment choice. To improve low levels of B12, some people take B12 supplementation in liquid or pill form or apply cream B12 directly to their body. It’s also recommended to increase your consumption of meat and dairy products because they are rich in B12.