By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk
|Vitamin B for MSers|
The most important B’s are B12, 9, 6, 3 and 2. The others are not less important, but these are essential for my MS-body. Studies have reported a significantly higher rate of vitamin B12 deficiency in people with MS than in people without MS, which is suspected to be due to problems with binding and transport of vitamin B12 (meaning that the body does not process vitamin B12 efficiently, which makes it difficult to maintain normal levels without supplementation or the right diet).
B12: (Cobalamin) - A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products.
What Does Vitamin B12 Do in Your Body?
- Helps to form myelin, which is a fatty cover that insulates your nerves.
- Helps to produce energy from metabolism of fat and protein.
- Helps to produce hemoglobin, which is the component of your red blood cells that carrys oxygen to your cells. This is why a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue.
- Reduces your homocysteine level, which lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, and many degenerative diseases.
- Regulates growth, maintenance, and reproduction of all of your cells
Veggies such as spinach, beetroot, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, bananas and peaches are also rich in folic acid and good food to maintain the vitamin B levels in your body. Vegetarians may need to take vitamin supplements to get the recommended daily allowance of B12. Look for other foods rich in vitamin B12, such as seafood, milk and yogurt. (Vitamin B12 is usually fairly well-tolerated, but can cause itching, rashes and diarrhea.)
B9: (Folic Acid) - Vitamin B9, is required for cell growth and maintenance. Folate is important in the development of red blood cells or erythrocytes. A lack of this compound can make the body susceptible to cancer. In addition, the body’s defense mechanism, the white blood cells, are also manufactured in the presence of folate supplements. A folate deficiency may cause an increased risk of depression and dementia. Adequate folate levels are necessary for proper brain functioning.
Many foods are rich in folic acid, including beans, peas, broccoli, beets, asparagus, turnip greens, spinach, mushrooms, cantaloupe, wheat bread and fortified juices.