Originally published December 29 2009
Vitamin B12 Deficiency is a Common Cause for Chronic Coughing
by Dr. David Jockers
(NaturalNews) A recent study done by the University of Turin and Mauriziano Hospital in Italy showed a significant correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and unexplained chronic cough. This study, which was presented at the World Allergy Organization XXI World Allergy Congress, discussed the impact of this new finding in the world of allergies and immunology.
This study examined 302 patients with chronic cough at the Italian hospital. The most common diagnosed cases of chronic cough included adverse drug events, cough reflex sensitivity, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and allergic rhinitis. 15% (40) of the population had no known origin for their chronic cough.
The research group, led by Dr. Guiseppe Guida, hypothesized the possible connection to sensory neuropathy and B12 deficiency. Out of the 40 individuals with chronic unexplained cough, 25 had a B12 deficiency (serum levels <300 pg/ml), while 15 did not.
Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin with a key role in the formation of blood cells and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. A common side effect of B12 deficiency is a peripheral sensory neuropathy, causing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning, and complete lack of sensation.
This study showed that a sensory neuropathy due to a B12 deficiency is a possible factor in unexplained chronic cough and dysfunction of the pharynx and larynx. Biopsies showed elevated levels of nerve growth factor in the oropharyngeal epithelial cells. Increased NGF is thought to increase neurogenic inflammation that would disrupt the airway and cause chronic discomfort and coughing. Through this mechanism, B12 deficiency may cause neurogenic inflammation of the airway, due to elevated levels of nerve growth factor (NGF).
This process also reduces cellular metabolism in the epithelia, disrupting cellular polarity and creating a relatively unstable electrochemical state. Histamine, a biogenic amine and neurotransmitter, is associated with increased inflammatory processes. Individuals with b12 deficiency showed lowered histamine thresholds and cough thresholds that significantly improved with supplementation.
Research reveals that 39% of the population is B12 deficient. Those most at risk for B12 deficiencies include older populations, individuals with gastric reflux, previous or current H Pylori infections and diets deficient in b12 (vegans), and those who are taking prescription medications. In addition, those who have trouble sleeping are commonly deficient in b12, which is needed to produce melatonin, the sleeping hormone.
Increase Your B12 Naturally:
1.Eat Healthy Animal Products: Grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, & free-range eggs are nature's best sources of highly absorbable B12.
2.Seek Supplementation: Individuals who choose not to eat meat should seek supplementation since vegetation sources such as algae actually contain a B12 analog that is active in the blood and shows up on tests but does not perform the same biological activities within the body. This is especially dangerous for vegans because they may be severely deficient yet have normal values on the standard immunoassay, which has become the normal medical method for testing for B12 deficiency.
The best delivery of B12 supplementation is through sublingual tablets or low dose sprays. Tablets are not as effective. The most bio-available form of cobalamin appears to be methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin, the most common form of supplemental b12, is derived through chemical synthesis or through isolation from animal products or waste. Although it is popular, cyanocobalamin does not have effective uptake in the body. Methylcobalamin appears to be taken up by the body and used more efficiently.
3.Use Probiotics: H Pylori infections of the stomach have been shown to cause B12 deficiencies. Probiotic supplementation helps the body fight the infection and reduces chances of recurrence later in life. Aim for 50-100 billion organisms of diverse cultures.
2.World Allergy Organization XXI World Allergy Congress (WAC): Abstract 290. Presented December 8, 2009.
5.Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Mass.
6.(Ann Pharmacother 1999 May;33:641-3
About the authorDr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com
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