Vitamin B12 deficiency and chronic inflammation appear to be directly related. The chronic inflammation associated with vitamin deficiency increases the risk of various health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
A new study involving experts from the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain examined the connection between circulating vitamin B12 and various inflammatory markers. The results can be read in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture”.
Vitamin B12 important for general health
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is involved in numerous physiological processes. If there is a deficiency of vitamin B12, it can lead to various complications, including neurological and hematological disorders.
How does vitamin B12 deficiency occur?
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can be caused by insufficient intake through the diet (particularly in vegetarian or vegan people) or by insufficient absorption in the body, the researchers explain.
Link between vitamin B12 and inflammation
Even though there is already evidence that vitamin B12 has an anti-inflammatory effect, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood.
Interleukin (IL)-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP) are recognized as key markers of inflammation in clinical practice, as elevated levels of these markers are associated with various inflammatory conditions and chronic diseases, the experts explain.
The team therefore examined the connection between circulating vitamin B12 and the inflammatory markers IL-6 and CRP in 136 people. This study was then repeated on naturally aged mice.
Correlation between vitamin B12 and inflammation
Analysis of serum levels of vitamin B12 and concentrations of inflammatory markers revealed a correlation between the two. It turned out that the higher the vitamin B12 values, the lower the examined markers for inflammation.
According to the researchers, the newly identified connection could help to better understand why, for example, neurological defects or other previously inexplicable symptoms occur with vitamin B12 deficiency
The same connection between vitamin B12 and inflammatory markers was also found in naturally aged mice. According to the researchers, mouse models therefore offer an effective opportunity to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the inverse correlation between vitamin B12 and the inflammatory markers in more detail.
“This will help us understand the biology of this relationship we observed, and it will help us determine possible future dietary and/or clinical recommendations,” reports study author Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós in a press release.
- Nutrition: Why the body needs vitamin B12
- Vitamin B12 deficiency: recognize signs and prevent irreversible damage
Prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in older people
Interestingly, the team also found that, unlike humans, mice do not tend to develop vitamin B12 deficiency as they age. According to the doctor, this suggests that studying mice could help understand how vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented in older people.
In the future, the researchers also plan to investigate the connection between vitamin B12 and inflammation in certain inflammatory conditions such as infections, obesity and irritable bowel syndrome. (as)