Vitamin B12 Deficiency is a Common Cause for Chronic Coughing
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 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
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
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,
6.(Ann Pharmacother 1999 May;33:641-3
About the author
Dr. 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
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