Vitamin deficiency: Autoimmune condition is leading cause of B12 deficiency in UK

Coronavirus: Dr Nighat Arif discusses benefits of vitamins

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

A B12 deficiency can have a number of causes; however, one condition above all others is the leading cause in the UK says the NHS.

Pernicious anaemia is a type of autoimmune condition, one where the immune system attacks health cells that affects the stomach.

When vitamin B12 is present in the stomach it combines with a protein known as intrinsic factor that helps the body to absorb vitamin B12.

Subsequently pernicious anaemia attacks the healthy cells in the stomach that produce the intrinsic factor, as a result the body cannot absorb the B12.

The cause of pernicious anaemia is not known but several factors can contribute to increasing an individual’s risk of the condition.

Pernicious anaemia is more common in women over the age of 60, in those with a family history of the condition, or those living with another autoimmune disease.

Although the cause of pernicious anaemia is unknown, there is a way around the problem it causes through injections of vitamin B12, a deficiency that can be caused by other factors.

In some cases B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of it in an individual’s diet; a solution that can be remedied, say the NHS, through the consumption of meat, fish, and dairy products that traditionally provide sufficiently healthy doses.

As a result, vegans could be at risk of a B12 deficiency, but this can be worked around through supplements that can reduce the risk of autoimmune disease.

Especially if they’re vitamin D supplements.

During the months of September to April, the government recommends the consumption of vitamin D supplements in order to boost levels.

However, scientists have been investigating to what degree vitamin D could be used to prevent autoimmune conditions.

A new study conducted by the University of Boston has found that vitamin D supplements could act as a preventative treatment for autoimmune conditions in the over-50s.

Tracking participants over five years they discovered that 2000IU, or 50 micrograms, of vitamin D reduced an individual’s risk of developing autoimmune disease by 22 percent compared to the placebo group.

While the scientists behind the study do not yet know why vitamin D reduces the risk of autoimmune disease development the results are nevertheless promising.

Dr Karen Costenbader said of the results: “There are tons of potential mechanisms…It could be that vitamin D helps the immune system to distinguish between self [normal body tissue] and non-self [disease causing microbes], or that it helps to decrease responses to self.”

The study also highlighted the benefits of omega-3 supplementation with the data showing “omega 3 fatty acid supplementation with or without vitamin D reduced the autoimmune disease rate by 15 percent”.

While this was notable it was not considered in the report to be “statistically significant”.

Following the positive results from the study, published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers hope to be able to conduct another study on younger participants.

More information about the benefits of vitamin D and other supplements are available through the NHS.

Source: Read Full Article