Vitamin B12 Deficiency: A Troubling Facial Sign

As many as one-in-eight people could be low in vitamin B12.

As many as one-in-eight people could be low in vitamin B12.

Facial twitches and pain in the face can both be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, studies suggests.

The reason is that the body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.

B12 plays an important role in producing myelin, the protective sheath around nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Facial pain can be felt under an eye or in the cheekbone area.

Sometimes it is felt across the forehead and approaching the nose.

Another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency can be cold sores.

Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.

The study included 17 people with facial neuralgia who were given vitamin B12 injections for four weeks.

Dr Jitendra K. Baruah, the study’s first author, said:

“It was somewhat unexpected that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause isolated facial neuralgia.

Treatment for facial neuralgia is sometimes very difficult, and patients may often go into multimodalities treatment without much success.

Knowing that this condition is remediable with vitamin B12 therapy, it is important to identify these patients and treat them accordingly.”

Giving vitamin B12 supplements was also effective in alleviating cold sores, the researchers found.

Dr Baruah:

“It may be possible that having cold sores means there is an active herpes simplex virus located in the gasserian ganglion, indicating that there may be some compromise of that particular side and these trigeminal nerves are found to be more susceptible to deficiencies to vitamins, such as B12.”

Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

The study was published in the journal Pain (Koopman et al., 2009).

10 Dietary Ways To Stop Cognitive Decline And Memory Loss

The latest research on dietary adjustments that could help to reduce memory loss and lower dementia risk and brain age.

The latest research on dietary adjustments that could help to reduce memory loss and lower dementia risk and brain age.


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This Common Supplement Fights Cognitive Decline

This ubiquitous supplement may improve memory and abstract reasoning.

This ubiquitous supplement may improve memory and abstract reasoning.

Omega-3 fatty acids may enhance brain function in middle age, research finds.

Among over 2,000 people in the study, those with higher concentrations of omega-3 in their blood had a range of cognitive advantages:

  • Larger hippocampi: a brain structure central to learning and memory.
  • Better abstract reasoning skills: the ability to think logically.
  • Carriers of the APOE4 gene, who are at greater genetic risk of dementia, had fewer signs of small-vessel disease.

People in the study were in their 40s and 50s, explained Dr Claudia Satizabal, the study’s first author:

“Studies have looked at this association in older populations.

The new contribution here is that, even at younger ages, if you have a diet that includes some omega-3 fatty acids, you are already protecting your brain for most of the indicators of brain aging that we see at middle age.”

Omega-3 levels were calculated by adding together levels of DHA and EPA.

EPA and DHA, two of the three main fatty acids, are sometimes known as the marine omega-3s as they come mainly from fish.

What makes omega-3 fatty acids so important in the diet is that the body cannot make them but has to get them from food.

Dr Debora Melo van Lent, study co-author, said:

“Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are key micronutrients that enhance and protect the brain.

Our study is one of the first to observe this effect in a younger population.

More studies in this age group are needed.”

In the study, people were divided into groups based on their levels of omega-3 fatty acids, Dr Satizabal said:

“We saw the worst outcomes in the people who had the lowest consumption of omega-3s.

So, that is something interesting.

Although the more omega-3 the more benefits for the brain, you just need to eat some to see benefits.”

It is not yet known exactly why omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the brain.

It may be because they are important in the building of neurons and that they have anti-inflammatory properties.

Dr Satizabal said:

“It’s complex.

We don’t understand everything yet, but we show that, somehow, if you increase your consumption of omega-3s even by a little bit, you are protecting your brain.”

Fatty acids and dementia

Whether or not omega-3 fatty acids help prevent dementia continues to be controversial.

However, omega-3 has been linked to maintaining IQ levels with age and even reducing anxiety.

Other research has suggested that omega-3 needs to be combined with B vitamins to help the body deal with mental decline.

Still further studies have found:

→ The dietary change with some of the best evidence for keeping the brain healthy is the MIND diet.

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Satizabal et al., 2022).

A Facial Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.

Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.

Ulcers around the mouth can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, research suggests.

The small lesions around the mouth are sometimes known as canker sores.

They can also occur inside the mouth and may make eating painful.

Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.

The conclusions about mouth ulcers come from a study including 58 people who had recurrent mouth ulcers.

Around half of the participants were given B12 supplementation and they were compared to a control group.

The results showed that three-quarters of people were free of ulcers after taking B12 and most saw a reduction in pain.

The authors explain the results:

“The average outbreak duration and the average number of ulcers per month decreased in both groups during the first four months of the trial.

However, the duration of outbreaks, the number of ulcers, and the level of pain were reduced significantly at five and six months of treatment with vitamin B12, regardless of initial vitamin B12 levels in the blood.

During the last month of treatment a significant number of participants in the intervention group reached ‘no aphthous ulcers status’”

Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

Dr Ilia Volkov, the study’s first author, said:

“…the frequency of RAS [Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis, or mouth ulcers] is as much as 25 percent in the general population, however, until now, there has been no optimal therapeutic approach.”

The study was published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (Volkov et al., 2009).

An Obvious Sign of Vitamin D Deficiency

Levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in northern latitudes.

Levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in northern latitudes.

Depression symptoms like energy loss, concentration problems and lack of pleasure can be signs of vitamin D deficiency, research finds.

Around half of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

Most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in northern latitudes.

The study included 1,282 older people, some of whom were depressed.

The results showed that blood vitamin D levels were 14 percent lower in those with both minor and major depression.

The study’s authors write:

“Underlying causes of vitamin D deficiency such as less sun exposure as a result of decreased outdoor activity, different housing or clothing habits and decreased vitamin intake may be secondary to depression, but depression may also be the consequence of poor vitamin D status.

Moreover, poor vitamin D status causes an increase in serum parathyroid hormone levels.”

The scientists found that almost half the people in the study were deficient in vitamin D.

The authors write:

“…38.8 percent of men and 56.9 percent of women in our community-based cohort had an insufficient vitamin D status.”

Vitamin D is found in oily fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals and some margarine spreads.

Most people need around 10 micrograms per day, which can also be obtained from supplements.

The study was published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry (Hoogendijk et al., 2008).

Why People Prefer Ultra-Processed Foods — Surprisingly, It’s Not The Taste

The study challenges the assumption that ultra-processed foods are ‘hyperpalatable’ — they are not.

The study challenges the assumption that ultra-processed foods are ‘hyperpalatable’ — they are not.

Surprisingly, ultra-processed foods taste no better than unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

Instead, it is the ratio of carbohydrate-to-fat that is the key determinate of how pleasant a food tastes, a study suggests.

The researchers wanted to know if level of processing, carbohydrate-to-fat ratio, and higher energy density (calories) have any influence on the desirability and liking of a food.

Taste perceptions

The team compared the taste perception of highly processed foods with less processed foods among 224 women and men.

Images of 32 familiar foods were shown to participants and they were asked to rate the foods for sweetness, flavour intensity, saltiness, desire to eat, and pleasantness.

They found that neither level of processing nor high calorie foods scored higher on desire to eat (food reward) and liking (pleasantness).

However, foods that combined more equal amounts (in calories) of carbohydrate and fat, and foods tasting more intense were rated higher on both liking and desire to eat.

These findings back up the theory that humans are naturally designed to like foods with more equal amounts of fat and carbohydrate since fat is the highest source of energy and carbohydrate is the largest portion of our diets.

The results also show that less desirable foods were high in fibre, but foods with more intense taste — mainly due to their sweetness, saltiness, or savouriness (umami) — were rated high for pleasantness and desire to eat.

Professor Peter Rogers, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results challenge the assumption that ultra-processed foods are ‘hyperpalatable,’ and it seems odd that this has not been directly tested before.

However, while ultra-processing didn’t reliably predict liking (palatability) in our study, food carbohydrate-to-fat ratio, food fiber content, and taste intensity did—actually, together, these three characteristics accounted for more than half of the variability in liking across the foods we tested.

The results for sweetness and saltiness, are consistent with our innate liking for sweetness and saltiness.

And the results for carbohydrate-to-fat ratio and fiber might be related to another important characteristic that determines food liking.

Our suggestion is that humans are programmed to learn to like foods with more equal amounts of carbohydrate and fat, and lower amounts of fiber, because those foods are less filling per calorie.

In other words, we value calories over fullness.

In turn, this trait helps us to maximize calorie intake and build up fat reserves when food is abundant—which is adaptive in circumstances when food supplies are uncertain or fluctuate seasonally, but not when food is continuously available in excess of our immediate needs.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Appetite (Rogers et al., 2023).

Red Wine Headaches Explained: This Flavonoid Could Be To Blame

The flavonoid interferes with the metabolism of alcohol.

The flavonoid interferes with the metabolism of alcohol.

The intense hangover after drinking large amounts of alcohol is related to genetics, metabolism of alcohol (ethanol), sulphites, and congeners (compounds created by ethanol fermentation).

But wine products also contain other substances including tannins and histamine that can trigger headaches.

But when it comes to the “red wine headache” phenomena, there might be a different explanation.

Quercetin

Scientists think there must be other reasons that some people who are not heavy drinkers experience red wine headaches.

These headaches can occur 30 minutes to three hours after drinking a small glass of red wine.

Researchers came up with a theory that an antioxidant called quercetin may trigger headaches by interfering with the metabolism of alcohol.

That makes sense since quercetin levels are much higher in red wine than other alcoholic drinks, including white wine.

Professor Andrew Waterhouse, the study’s senior author, explains how this healthy flavonoid interferes with alcohol:

“When it gets in your bloodstream, your body converts it to a different form called quercetin glucuronide.

In that form, it blocks the metabolism of alcohol.”

Toxin acetaldehyde

Ethanol is converted to toxic acetaldehyde in the body and than is metabolized by the ALDH2 enzyme to acetate.

If this fails than the acetaldehyde toxin would build up in the body causing symptoms such as headache, nausea, facial flushing, and excessive sweating.

Ms Apramita Devi, the study’s first author, said:

“Acetaldehyde is a well-known toxin, irritant and inflammatory substance.

Researchers know that high levels of acetaldehyde can cause facial flushing, headache and nausea.”

Nearly half of East Asian population experience these symptoms after a drink because their enzyme doesn’t work properly and so toxins builds up in their body.

Alcoholics who take drugs such disulfiram to overcome drinking also experience similar symptoms because the medication blocks the enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde.

This study suggests that quercetin produces similar adverse effects by blocking ALDH2 which would result in accumulation of the toxin.

Professor Morris Levin, study co-author, said:

“We postulate that when susceptible people consume wine with even modest amounts of quercetin, they develop headaches, particularly if they have a preexisting migraine or another primary headache condition.”

Grapes and the sunshine

The higher the exposure to sunlight, the more flavanol in red grapes.

Normally red wines with better quality are produced from grapes that are grown with care and in sunnier climates.

Therefore, these type of grapes contain greater levels of quercetin.

The levels are also influenced by the process of wine making such as removing unwanted material known as fining, skin contact during fermentation, and aging.

Professor Waterhouse said:

“Quercetin is produced by the grapes in response to sunlight.

“If you grow grapes with the clusters exposed, such as they do in the Napa Valley for their cabernets, you get much higher levels of quercetin.

In some cases, it can be four to five times higher.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Devi et al., 2023).

2 Antioxidant Vitamins Reduce Vascular Dementia Risk By 88%

Cognitive performance is improved by taking these antioxidant vitamins regularly over the years.

Cognitive performance is improved by taking these antioxidant vitamins regularly over the years.

Antioxidants vitamin C and E may help to protect against some forms of dementia and improve cognitive performance over the lifespan, a study finds.

The research on over 3,000 Japanese-American men found that those taking vitamin C and E supplements regularly — at least once per week — were 88 percent less likely to have vascular dementia four years later.

Vascular dementia is the second most common from of dementia in the US, after Alzheimer’s disease.

The study also found that the men were 69 percent less likely to have other forms of dementia, apart from Alzheimer’s.

Dr Kamal Masaki, the study’s first author, said:

“We believe antioxidants like vitamin E and C may protect against vascular dementia by limiting the amount of brain damage that persists after a stroke.

The supplements may also play a role in providing protection against brain cell and membrane injury involved in many aging-related diseases, thus resulting in significantly higher scores on mental performance tests in later life.”

The Honolulu-based study also found that men taking the supplements had a 75 percent better chance of improved cognitive performance in later life.

However, the beneficial effect was not through the reduction in risk of stroke, Dr Masaki explained:

“We originally thought that the beneficial impact antioxidant vitamin supplements had against vascular dementia was the prevention of stroke.

However, to our surprise we found there was not a significant association between vitamin supplement use and clinically recognized stroke.”

Researchers did not find a protective effect of vitamin C and E supplementation on Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Masaki said:

“It is critically important for patients to practice preventive efforts shown to lower stroke risk and to have broad ranging beneficial effects.

More effective strategies for prevention also must be found.

Therefore, a prevention trial of both vitamin E and C to further examine the potential protective effects on both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is needed.”

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Masaki et al., 2000).

5 Foods Science Says Will Help You Live Longer

The foods that help you live longer and protect you from cancer and heart disease.

The foods that help you live longer and protect you from cancer and heart disease.

Drinking tea and eating apples, or any flavonoid-rich foods, can shield people from cancer and heart disease, research finds.

People who have a daily consumption of 500 mg of flavonoids are more likely to live longer and more healthily.

If you eat one orange, one apple, 100 g of broccoli and 100 g of blueberries and have a cup of tea per day, you are guaranteed to obtain 500 mg of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are antioxidants and part of the polyphenol class found in plants and known to have several health benefits and help prevent various diseases.

Apples, cherries, dark chocolate, pears, tea, red wine (due to grapes), cabbage, and berries, including blueberries and strawberries, are good sources of flavonoids.

The discovery of flavonoids’ protective effect on lowering risk of some diseases comes from a new study that looked into the diets of 53,048 Danes over 23 years.

Dr Nicola Bondonno, the study’s lead author, said:

“It’s important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant based food and drink.

This is easily achievable through the diet: one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries, and 100g of broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500mg of total flavonoids”.

They found that those who ate flavonoid-rich foods were protected against cardiovascular and cancer-related diseases.

They also found that daily intake of flavonoid-rich foods had the most protective effect for heavy drinkers and smokers.

These smokers or those who had two standard alcoholic drinks per day were at higher risk of chronic diseases.

The reason is that smoking and alcohol intake can harm blood vessels and cause inflammation to the cells, leading to greater risk of serious diseases.

The potential health benefits of flavonoids are related to their antioxidants having anti-inflammatory effects and their ability to improve blood vessel function.

This may explain why the smokers and drinkers benefited strongly from foods rich in flavonoids.

Dr Bondonno said:

“It’s also important to note that flavonoid consumption does not counteract all of the increased risk of death caused by smoking and high alcohol consumption.

By far the best thing to do for your health is to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol.

We know these kind of lifestyle changes can be very challenging, so encouraging flavonoid consumption might be a novel way to alleviate the increased risk, while also encouraging people to quit smoking and reduce their alcohol intake.”

The study was published in Nature Communications (Bondonnoet al., 2019).

A Strange Sensation That Could Be A Sign Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Many people experience this unusual sensation even with both feet firmly on the ground.

Many people experience this unusual sensation even with both feet firmly on the ground.

A sudden sensation of dizziness, or that your head is spinning could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.

It is a symptom of a common type of vertigo called paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as a loss of balance.

However, taking vitamin D and calcium supplements twice a day can reduce the chance of experiencing vertigo, research finds.

The people who are most deficient in vitamin D get the most benefit from it.

Technically, vertigo is the symptom of dizziness and the feeling of the world spinning — it does not have to be in response to heights.

Many people experience vertigo with both feet firmly on the ground.

The condition is rarely serious, but can be very irritating, with 86 percent of sufferers reporting that it interrupts their daily life and leads to some days off work.

Now, research finds that taking vitamin D and calcium supplements can prevent it recurring.

Dr Ji-Soo Kim, study co-author, said:

“Our study suggests that for people with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, taking a supplement of vitamin D and calcium is a simple, low-risk way to prevent vertigo from recurring.

It is especially effective if you have low vitamin D levels to begin with.”

The study included almost one thousand people, around half of whom were given vitamin D supplements and calcium.

People with low vitamin D levels took 400 IU of vitamin D and 500 mg of calcium twice a day.

The results showed that the supplements reduced the recurrence of vertigo by 24 percent.

People who were more deficient in vitamin D got greater benefit from taking the supplements, seeing a 45 percent reduction in symptoms.

Dr Kim said:

“Our results are exciting because so far, going to the doctor to have them perform head movements has been the main way we treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Our study suggests an inexpensive, low-risk treatment like vitamin D and calcium tablets may be effective at preventing this common, and commonly recurring, disorder.”

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Jeong et al., 2020).