Metformin is Big Pharma’s pride and joy when it comes to diabetes. Over 86 million Americans use the drug to try to control their blood sugar.Weight-loss drug. This pill is being touted as a “wonder drug” by doctors in the anti-aging community. My colleagues seem surprised when I say I don’t prescribe it. Short-term, drugs can be a lifesaver. But long-term, the track record is not so good. Long term, like so many of Big Pharma’s “cures,” metformin creates more problems than it solves. Patients often stay on this drug for 10 years… 20 years… and more. That’s a long time to be on any drug. And over the long haul, it takes a real toll on people and their health. For one thing, metformin interferes with your body’s ability to absOrb vitamin B12. In fact, a recent study reported that up to 30% of metformin users are deficient in this life-saving nutrient.1 Further studies show that the longer you take it and the higher your dose, the lower your B12 levels are.2But it’s not just diabetics who take metformin. The pill is prescribed off-label for those with prediabetes and fertility issues caused by ovary cysts. Some doctors even recommend it as a
That’s tragic because B12 is critical to your health and plays numerous roles in the body. Here are just some of them:
- Improves heart health by lowering homocysteine and high blood pressure3
- Increases energy levels and reduces fatigue4
- Prevents memory loss and slows the rate of cognitive decline5
- Supports bone health and lowers the risk of osteoporosis6
- Protects vision loss from macular degeneration7
- Slashes risk of depression by 50%8
- Maintain nervous system and relieves neuropathic pain9
- Boosts red blood cell count to prevent anemia10
- Improves the health of hair, skin, and nail
With such incredible health benefits, you see why keeping your B12 levels high is important.N if you’re not taking metformin, there’s a good chance your B12 levels are not up to par. Here’s why… As you age, your digestive tract no longer produces an enzyme called “intrinsic factor.” And you need that enzyme to absorb vitamin B12 from your gut. That’s why studies show as many as 50% of people over 65 have low B12.11 Sadly, mainstream doctors don’t pay enough attention to vitamins. They rarely check your B12 levels. But in my practice, I recommend a simple B12 blood test for most patients. Testing labs say normal B12 levels are between 150 and 350 pg/mL. But I find patients at that level have clear symptoms of a deficiency. I recommenD keeping your level above 450 pg/mL.But eve
3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Vitamin B12
Not getting enough B12 can lead to serious health consequences. Here’s how I help my patients improve their levels easily:
1. Eat a primal diet.
The highest levels of B12 are found almost Exclusively in foods like beef, lamb, salmon, sardines, shrimp, poultry, and eggs. But the best source is beef liver. One serving contains 70 mcg.
While you can get B12 from grain-fed animals, there are a million other reasons to choose grass-fed meats. Grain-fed animals lack dozens of important nutrients your body needs. They’re also pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that your body doesn’t need.
2. Take a B12 supplement.
It’s hard to get what you need from food. I find most of my patients need to supplement.
Most nutritionists say adults only need 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day. That’s way too low. I recommend at least 1,000 mcg per day
I don’t suggest taking B12 capsules. Your body won’t absorb it. Look for drops, sprays, or lozenges. These allow the capillaries and small blood vessels in your mouth to quickly absorb the B12. Then they deliver it to your circulatory system, tissues, and cells. It bypasses the gut where your B12 absorption is low.
3. Get the shot.
Here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I offer intravenous B12 injections. The shots are a good option if you have trouble absorbing B12. They bypass the gut and go diRectly into the bloodstream.
If you’d like more information about B12 injections, just call my staff at 561-784-7852 to get the details. They’re happy to answer any questions.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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1. Kim J, et al. “Association between metformin dose and vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with type 2 diabetes.” Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Nov; 98(46): e17918.2. Sato Y, et al. “Relationship between metformin use, vitamin B12 deficiency, hyperhomocysteinemia and vascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.” Endocr J 2013;60:1275–80. 3. Elias M, Brown C. “New Evidence for Homocysteine Lowering for Management of Treatment-Resistant Hypertension.” Am J Hyperten. 2022;35(4):303-305. 4. Huijts M, et al.“Association of vitamin B12 deficiency with fatigue and depression after lacunar stroke.” PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30519. 5. Ueno A, et al. “Influences of Vitamin B12 Supplementation on Cognition and Homocysteine in Patients with Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Cognitive Impairment.” Nutrients. 2022 Apr; 14(7): 1494. 6. Stone K, et al. “Low serum vitamin B-12 levels are associated with increased hip bone loss in older women: a prospective study.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;89(3):1217-21. 7. Christen W, et al .” Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 in Combination and Age-related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Women.” Arch Intern Med. 2009 Feb 23; 169(4): 335–341. 8. Pennix B, et al. “Vitamin B(12) deficiency and depression in physically disabled older women: epidemiologic evidence from the Women’s Health and Aging Study.” Am J Psychiatry. 2000 May;157(5):715-21. 9. Julien T, et al. “B12 as a Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathic Pain: A Systematic Review.” Nutrients. 2020 Aug; 12(8): 2221. 10. Langan R, Goodbred A. “Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Recognition and Management.” Am Fam Physician. 2017 Sep 15;96(6):384-389. 11. Andres E, et al. “Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients.” CMAJ. 2004 Aug 3; 171(3): 251–259.