B12 Deficiency and Depression
There are many reasons that any given person with depression might be depressed. Like all illness, depression can have many contributing causes, from past traumas and grief, to chronic illness, toxic exposures, and many others. Unfortunately, in the conventional medical world most cases of depression – no matter what the cause – are treated the same way: medication.
A growing amount or research, though, is finding that deficiency of a single nutrient, vitamin B12, can play a major role in causing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Numerous studies have now shown that individuals diagnosed with depression have a much higher probability of being deficient in B12 than non-depressed individuals, about 30% higher. However, it is very likely that the association is even stronger than these studies are finding.
Vitamin B12 is rarely tested by conventional physicians. When it is tested, though, it is done with a serum B12 test. However, this is not a reliable test for B12 deficiency. The serum B12 test will rise and fall due to recent dietary intake of vitamin B12. However, it does not tell the adequacy of overall body storage of B12.
A combination of tests are needed to assess the adequacy of B12 in the body. Only by looking at all these tests and the symptom presentation is it possible to determine if vitamin B12 supplementation is appropriate. Individuals found to be significantly deficient will often respond quickly and dramatically to a series of B12 injections. It is not uncommon for someone to say, “I got my life back,” once B12 is replaced.
Everyone with persistent symptoms of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks should have the testing done to determine if a B12 deficiency could be a contributing factor in those symptoms. If it exists, the symptoms are not likely to resolve until the deficiency is corrected.
People interested in a consultation with a naturopathic physician with extensive experience in this kind of testing and evaluation can contact the clinic to request a consultation. You can email Nature Cures Clinic or call 503-287-4970. ,
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