1. Chronic illness
Suffering and long-term diseases are known to reduce serotonin and GABA, which then cause heightened sensations of pain and insomnia. Vitamin B12 has a direct influence on melatonin, your primary sleep hormone,* which is often suppressed with chronic illness.
2. Stress and Adrenal Function
The more stress you deal with, the more cortisol you produce, which then uses up all your B complex vitamins, causing multiple deficiencies. The more stress, the lower your Bs! Vitamin B5 (pantethene) helps prevent over-secretion of cortisol and Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps break down cortisol.*
Certainly the way you eat will determine the amount of B vitamins you’re consuming. That’s why vegans are often deficient in vitamin B12, which is found abundantly in meats. If you don’t like to eat leafy greens, or if you follow the Paleo diet, then it’s possible you’ll become deficient in folate. And individuals with Celiac Disease are often deficient in vitamin B12 and iron.
Drinking wine with dinner can increase your homocysteine level, and thus a greater need for vitamin B12 and folate (as 5-MTHF). Alcohol consumption also causes a well-known deficiency of vitamin B12 (thiamine), which can lead to a set of symptoms that cause you to feel and look as if you always have a hangover.
5. Your Gut
Did you know that your gut microbiome produces biotin and vitamin B12? So, if your digestive system isn’t working at its optimal level, then you’re not making as much of these two B vitamins as you should be.
6. Acid-blocking Meds
Taking acid blockers can cause a deficiency of vitamin B12 and biotin. And taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for more than two years is associated with a 65-percent increased risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. The most popular PPIs are Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec.
7. Burning Mouth Syndrome
It’s weird but true, this painful condition – also called “atrophic glossitis” – is sometimes caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12.
8. Pernicious Anemia
This is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks your gastrointestinal tract, producing antibodies to your Intrinsic Factor, a protein made in the stomach that absorbs vitamin B12. Pernicious anemia can cause a B12 deficiency.
9. Disturbing Dreams or Nightmares
These are sometimes related to a vitamin B6 deficiency because B6 reduces excitotoxic glutamate and increases calming GABA.* Another cause is a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. The more bizarre or upsetting the dream, the greater the deficiency. Rapid weight loss, alcohol use, antibiotic use, using an oral contraceptives, and taking painkillers can all deplete your stash of these B vitamins.
If you have a genetic SNP in your methylation pathway, then you may not be detoxifying properly. You can also have high homocysteine levels. Both B12 and 5-MTHF help open a blockage in that pathway to support optimal methylation (and transmethylation).*
Kynurenine is a substance naturally made in your brain that blocks the harmful effects of quinolinic acid, a compound associated with multiple cognitive deficits. Vitamin B6 is critical for the enzymes that help make kynurenine and to support neuroprotection and healthy levels of inflammatory markers.*