June 3, 2009

4 signs that you’re becoming frail — and how one vitamin
can keep you strong

Have you noticed your walking speed isn't quite as fast as it used to be? Is your endurance waning? Has your physical activity dropped off in recent years? And is your ability to grip losing strength? If you answer yes to any of these problems, it's possible you're seeing the first signs of frailty.

Fortunately, there's one vitamin that could stop the progression. And it's easy to become deficient in this vitamin, especially as you age.

The vitamin is none other than vitamin B12. A new study says elderly women with low B12 have a much higher risk of being "frail" than those with plenty of B12 activity.

The cross-sectional study followed 703 elderly women between the ages of 70 and 79 years. The researchers measured their levels of methylmalonic acid (MMA) to determine their vitamin B12 levels. MMA is a marker of vitamin B12 deficiency. If MMA is high, vitamin B12 action is low. (Your doctor can test for this marker with a normal blood test.)

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Those participants with increasing serum levels of MMA had 40-60% greater odds of being "pre-frail" and a 1.66-2.33 times greater odds of being frail.

What can you do if your levels vitamin B12 is low?

First, stop taking acid-blocking drugs. Stomach acid is an absolute requirement for good B12 absorption. It's the hardest vitamin for your body to absorb. Another study showed that even if you are taking B12 by supplement, acid-blocking drugs will gradually lower your stores of B12. As we age, our stomach acid falls naturally. Taking these drugs only makes it worse.

Second, you can try taking B12 supplements (as cyanocobalamin - 1,000 mcg daily). They do work. But your results will vary depending on your stomach acid levels.

I recommend most people over 50 take B12 by periodic injections. I've seen awesome results even in people with normal MMA levels. My wife My wife and I take these injections regularly. They have improved our levels, which were within the lower quartile of "normal." They are definitely the most effective way to raise your vitamin B12 levels and prevent frailty

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: J Nutr Health Aging, 2008; 12(5); J Am Med Dir Assoc, 2008; 9(3).

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