Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient, and works in tandem with folic acid. Technically, the B12 level is normal if it is over 208 pg/dL on your blood test. However, studies have shown that people can suffer severe and sometimes long term nerve and brain damage from B12 deficiency even if their levels are as high as 300 pg/dL.
Many studies suggest that many people need significantly higher B12 levels than what is currently considered normal. It is no surprise then that many people respond dramatically to B12 injections. If a patient's vitamin B12 level is under 540 pg/mL, and they have unexplained fatigue, nerve pain, or confusion, I treat that person with a 1 cc (1,000-3,000 microgram) injection one to five times a week for fifteen injections. These shots are very safe and fairly inexpensive. Usually, if a patient is going to benefit from the shots, I see improvement by ten weeks. I usually stop after ten to fifteen shots. If a patient feels worse when the injections are stopped, I resume giving the shots, usually every one to five weeks (but as often as three to four times a week in some cases) for an extended period of time. Most people, however, can maintain their B12 level after fifteen injections by taking the high amount in the Energy Revitalization System.
Treating patients with vitamin B12, even if their levels are technically normal, often results in marked improvement. This is good, as vitamin B12 is both very safe and cheap — even in high doses.
In addition to helping energy and mental clarity, B12 helps in many other ways. For example, in a study of people being treated for depression, participants with higher levels of vitamin B12 tended to get a greater benefit from antidepressants. Clinical trials are currently assessing the effects of high doses of oral B12 on mental function and depression. If such trials can demonstrate that the reported associations of vitamin B12 deficiency with cognitive impairment or depression are causal and reversible by B12 treatment, the benefit of treating vitamin B12 deficiency in older people could be substantial. Instead of waiting 10 years for those studies, I recommend people get 500 mcg/day of B12 now.
In addition, low B12 levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis and also increase the risk of stroke. High intakes of folate and vitamin B12 are also associated with decreased breast cancer risk, particularly among postmenopausal women.