Ve­gan not sure about B-12 dose

Los Angeles Times - - Health - Joe Grae­don and Theresa Grae­don Joe Grae­don is a phar­ma­col­o­gist. Teresa Grae­don is an ex­pert in med­i­cal an­thro­pol­ogy and nutrition. www.peo­ple­sphar­

I cur­rently fol­low a strict veg­e­tar­ian diet and con­sume no an­i­mal prod­ucts at all. Since vi­ta­min B-12 is missing from the ve­gan diet, I won­der how many mi­cro­grams of it I should take. I’ve seen B-12 pills of up to 1,500 mi­cro­grams each in my food co-op, but the daily re­quire­ment is just 3 mi­cro­grams.

Vi­ta­min B-12 de­fi­ciency is far more com­mon than most peo­ple re­al­ize. Ve­gans (who eat no eggs, dairy or other an­i­mal prod­ucts) are fre­quently lack­ing in this es­sen­tial nutri­ent. Older peo­ple and those who take pow­er­ful acid-sup­press­ing drugs also may be low.

Symp­toms of a de­fi­ciency in­clude numb­ness or tin­gling in legs and arms, trou­ble walk­ing, sore tongue, loss of ap­petite, con­sti­pa­tion, me­mory loss and dis­ori­en­ta­tion. You will need to ask your physi­cian for a blood test. She should be able to rec­om­mend the best B-12 dose based on your blood lev­els.

Be­cause vi­ta­min B-12 is not well-ab­sorbed from pills, you may need a higher dose than the RDA. A 2005 study of older peo­ple with B-12 de­fi­ciency found daily doses of roughly 600 to 1,000 mi­cro­grams (0.6 to 1 mg) were needed to re­verse de­fi­ciency.

Re­cently I had shin­gles and was pre­scribed Val­trex for 10 days. Be­sides cur­ing my shin­gles, Val­trex cured my plan­tar warts. Are there any stud­ies about this?

Al­though there are no con­trolled stud­ies of this treat­ment for plan­tar warts, we found a re­port of two cases in med­i­cal lit­er­a­ture re­in­forc­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence.

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