Vitamin deficiency root cause of 10% of all psychiatric illness
B12 and D deficiencies often overlooked in official guidelines and medical education
Since scientists show the importance of D and B12 in neurology, the call to revisit minimal standards is getting louder: People with OCD, anxiety disorders, depression should be tested for vitamin deficiencies standard.
In October 2018 three psychiatrists of the Saint Antoine hospital in Paris wrote an alarming article (Bourla, Ferreri, Mouchabec in ‘’Psyche en Brein 2018 nr 4). No less than ten percent of psychiatric patients really only suffer from a physiological deficiency and are not really psychiatric at all.
In the article some case studies are featured: An ‘’anxiety disorder’’ patient turned out to really have heart rhythm problems. And a ‘’schizophrenic’’ living in the streets, -chronically outside of reality and talking to himself-, turned out to be B12 deficient and had a brain inflammation. None of the psychiatrists that treated him tested his blood. He was given severe antipsychotics for months. Luckily, he ended up with a psychiatrist that finally did do a complete blood test. Within 4 weeks he was healed with B12 injections and antibiotics.
I wonder how many people out there in the streets or in mental hospitals for years being treated for ‘’depression’’, ‘’anxiety disorder’’ or even ‘’psychosis’’ that could be saved with a simple blood test. Psychiatrists after all are medical doctors as well and should know better.
Deficient Vitamin D, B12 or B9 are at the top of the list of physiological problems disguised as psychiatric symptoms. But in the article also inflammation of the brain causes psychosis, a malfunction of the thyroid could cause depression, or an irregular heart rhythm could cause anxiety.
Alcoholics often have vitamin A B and D deficiency, that could cause depression. It should be standard procedure to check it if an alcoholic person with psychosis.
Also, milder mental conditions -like burnout, being down or disorganised- could improve significantly with the right vitamin levels. Even if the cause is mental, one needs enough neurotransmitters to deal with it. D and B12 and B6 are what those are made of.
Body Mind switch
Another theory occurs: since those vitamins (D, B12, foliate acid) are needed for both physical and neurological systems in the body, sometimes the body can make a switch: when there is not enough to serve both systems, it can prioritize.
Since more and more big data research occurs in health science, sometimes weird unexpected statistical correlations show up on the computer screen of the surprised researcher: Never do Schizophrenics get testicular cancer. 0%. While their live style as a group should show a much bigger percentage. Why is that? The theory now emerging is that the people who have genes that could be triggered into having psychiatric disorders, have a different prioritizing system. In times of trouble: the immune system is alarmed by something dangerous in the body: now a switch turns on: from now on all the D goes to the body, not the mind! This leads to patient with deficiencies in the brain but not in the body: body saved, mind crazy.
To be sure if a psychiatric patient has deficiency of some kind in the brain doctors can take samples of the brain’s fluids, to be sure. (If a chemical doesn’t pass the blood-brain barrier, -for instance in absence of co-enzymes – bloodtests could show less defiency than brain fluids)
To take brain fluids out of the brain for testing is an invasive procedure you only do when everything else fails. More scientists and doctors now advise higher vitamin levels in the blood just to be safe. If the levels suddenly drop due to extra immune activity the patient does not end up in a psychiatric ward or lose their job due to a weary mind.
Injections versus oral vitamin pills
Doctors of the B12 institute in Rotterdam, warn that especially B12 should be injected, not taken orally, when the B12 is very low, and the patient is having neurological symptoms, or when pregnant or wanting to become pregnant. B12 can store a three year supply in the body. This means that once depleted, it takes many years to restock orally (food and pills). When the neurological stage of B12 deficiency has already begun, pills take too long and permanent neurological damage can occur. In case of pregnancy it is a no brainer that injections should be given immediately: the child’s brain is formed in the first three months of pregnancy: it takes longer to build levels up. Just like foliate acid also B12 deficiency causes spinae bifida in the new born. Foliate acid is often tested and extra given to pregnant women, however: foliate acid given to a B12 deficient pregnant women is only increasing her B12 deficiency and thus increasing her risk of having a child with spinae bifida. Foliate acid and B12 should always be tested and treated at the same time: they are intertwined.
Neurologic symptoms start with tingling sensations (often mistaken for ‘hyperventilation’), numbness, foggy eyesight, brainfreeze and muscle spasms. In the neurologic stage one needs to see a specialist.
What the officially advised minimum B12 levels should be is now up for debate. A Petition of patients organisations was offered to the British government to ask for a higher minimum standard and injections instead of oral supplements in severe cases. Every country has very different standards. In Japan B12 levels under 700 are considered too low, others think 150 is enough.
The B12 Institute Rotterdam now collects data of their patients to prove that standards should be higher and permanent neurological damage are caused by these too low standards in the Netherlands and the guideline that says oral B12 is sufficient and injections not necessary. No special guideline exist for the pregnant and the nerve damaged. The B12 institutes in Rotterdam warns that with this guideline more babies with spinae bifida are born. ´´Doctors advice a vegan mother to just eat one egg per week extra: but that is not enough”” says mw C.H.M. Plattel of the B12 Institute: “We see the consequence of Dutch policy here every day: permanent damage that was unnecessary if only the guideline was more in line with today’s science. Doctors should be better informed about the facts”.
Patients now buy ampoules online and inject themselves or each other, many internet fora are using international higher standards and telling patients to take matters into their own hands to save themselves.
Dr. Hauwerda who started his own B12 clinic said in an interview with addhoc in 2017 that up to 20% of the 40.000 chronic fatigued in the Netherlands could be cured with B12 shots. Costs of the ampoules are about 140 euro per patient per year: often making the difference between being able to work or not.