Are you one of those people that are always diagnosed with a B12 deficiency or hover over the normal range when you get blood work down?
Sitting in your doctor's office, them telling you that it could just be "genetic" or you're "just one of those people" can be frustrating because at the end of the day, you're not getting any answers on as to WHY. There are a slew of reasons on as to why someone may have trouble maintaining adequate levels of B12 such as...
- A poor diet devoid of B12
- Low stomach acidity
- Pathogenic bacteria
- Minerals imbalances, specifically cobalt
This is the thing, most people, when initially diagnosed with low B12, will usually supplement or start eating more animal rich foods thinking it will help. If that doesn't work, people may start looking at other factors like is it a supplement or medication they're taking, or possibly they're sick and can't absorb their nutrients properly? Typically, the later case would follow with other nutrient deficiencies. As for genetics, we'd usually see a pattern in doing one's family medical history. However, if all of these are ran through and there are no signs on as to what is wrong, mineral imbalances, specifically cobalt issues, stick out, and believe it or not, it's actually quite common.
So what is cobalt and what does it do?
Cobalt is a metal that is required for the formation of vitamin B12. At high levels it can be toxic, but low levels could lead to many issues such as having an inability to produce stomach acidity, synthesize B12 and other b vitamins, and other enzymes. We have a blog all on chronic bloating mentioning cobalt here if you wanted to read. Here is a low down of the many functions of this metal:
- It's important for the circulatory system by increasing glycogen for the heart to use
- It helps stimulate erythropoietin in the kidneys which is a glycoprotein that acts on red blood cells to protect them and stimulates stem cells of the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells
- Helps with the maintenance of the mucosa in the gut
- Supports the myelin sheath on top of nerves
- Important for the maintenance of vision and coordination
- Is vital for preventing congenital abnormalities and gametogenesis
- Helps with the release of glucagon, erythropoietin and T4 from the thyroid and inhibition of insulin
- Supports the maintenance of muscles
- Plays a role in nucleic acid, protein and lipid synthesis
- Important for methylation and sulfhydryl reactions
That's a lot.
But how would you know if you're deficient? The best way to check is via Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), but there are key symptoms one can pick up on such as
- Pernicious anemia
- Megaloblastic anemia that causes central nervous system damage
- Glossitis (inflammation of the tongue)
- Sprue which could show up as malabsorption, loose stool, fatigue, and digestive issues
- Mood issues
Question now is, well, if it's low, and you're constantly low in B12, what do you do about it if too much can be toxic? Answer is to look to the synergists.
Synergistic nutrients that help increase cobalt levels are copper, zinc, iodine, molybdenum, vitamin C and folate. This makes sense, particularly if we were to go back up on top and look to the "reasons" on as to why one may struggle with B12 deficiency for many of these minerals and vitamins support digestion, stomach acid production and immune health.
Cobalt deficiency is usually due to not having adequate levels of the synergistic nutrients mentioned, or having higher levels of antagonistic nutrients which are iron, manganese, or gut issues that hinder one's ability to synthesize protein properly.
Or you can just order an HTMA with us here and check to see what are your levels are like and get a personalized review as well as recommendation for you!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach