Monday, April 21, 2008

UPI Asia Online: Health Watch: Vitamin B12 and mental ills

(This article was of particular interest to me because, as a gastric bypass patient, I need to be sure to get B-12 shots once a month, as I'm no longer able to absorb B-12 "the regular way." Hmmm... "listlessness ... lacking interest in anything ... tired easily ...." Guess it's time to make that clinic appointment, huh?!)


HONG KONG, China, "Are you a vegetarian, Mr. Kumar?" asked Dr. Shailesh Chaugule, a psychiatrist from the Indian city of Pune. Kumar was quite perplexed by this question, as it had no apparent correlation with his primary complaints.

A senior citizen in his early seventies, Kumar was a diabetic but he did not have any other illnesses. He had been feeling low for the past several months. Recently, he lacked interest in everything, got tired easily and was awake through the nights, feeling listless and anxious for no particular reason.

Chaugule advised oral supplements of vitamin B along with some other medications, and Kumar reported feeling better within a few weeks of starting this treatment.

Another middle-aged patient came to Chaugule complaining of severe fatigue, for no obvious reasons. Yet another gentleman was very disturbed because he could not sleep peacefully at night. And an elderly person with unmistakable psychotic behavior was brought by his distressed family.

All these people shared two common factors: none of them had a family history of psychiatric illness and they were all vegetarians. Lab tests of all of them revealed decreased vitamin B12 levels.

Chaugule treated all of them with B12 supplements and their complaints resolved in no time.

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