B12 deficiency is known to cause central and peripheral nervous system damage. It is implicated in sensory neuropathy and autonomic nervous system dysfunction- which can have a role in chronic, unexplained coughs. A recent study showed a Vitamin B12 supplement improved patients symptoms where laryngeal, bronchial and cough threshold improved when cough triggers cannot be identified. Ulcers can also cause a mysterious cough- this may be associated with a B12 deficiency as the cause of peptic ulcers and GERD is associated with H.pylori bacteria- the bacteria interferes with the stomach producing intrinsic factor (essential to get B12 from the food you eat) So a mystery cough may be a result of bacterial infection in your stomach that is causing a deficiency of B12 and possibly GERD.
In general, the signs of a B12 deficiency include
- Fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness, tingling in your extremities.
- Mental fogginess or problems with your memory, trouble sleeping.
- Mood swings, especially feelings of apathy or lack of motivation.
Even though vitamin B12 is water-soluble, it doesn’t exit your body quickly like other water-soluble vitamins. B12 is stored in your liver, kidneys and other body tissues, and as a result, a deficiency may not show itself for a number of years until you finally run out of this naturally stored internal source of the vitamin.
Other symptoms of long-term, chronic B12 deficiency can include:
- dementia and Alzheimer’s
- neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions
- female fertility and childbearing problems
- heart disease and cancer
Dr. Andrew Arnold says, ‘B12 is available in its natural form only in animal food sources. These include seafood, beef, chicken, milk, eggs.’
If you aren’t getting sufficient B12 in your diet, or you suspect your body isn’t able to efficiently absorb the vitamin, Naturopaths recommend beginning supplementation immediately because, after about seven years of deficiency, irreversible brain damage can result.
About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Ctr.