The Link Between Vitamin B12 and Long-Term Mental Health
Integrative medicine is a medical specialty that is dedicated to utilizing the wisdom of all global healing traditions.. Physicians who practice integrative medicine have dedicated their careers to identifying the best possible treatments to help not only cure their patients of various diseases, but also improve their overall wellbeing to hopefully prevent these illnesses from developing in the first place.
Consider a recent study on the relationship between decreased levels of vitamin B12 in the brain and aging, autism, and schizophrenia. Previous studies have concluded that vitamin B12 is important for brain development and function, but as Mimi Guarneri, MD, a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®), explains in a newsletter from the Academy of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (AIHM), this study was the first to “attempt to identify pathologically reduced levels of (vitamin B12 enzymes) in the brains of subjects who experienced autism and schizophrenia.” The potential ramifications of studies like this one are significant, and speak to the essential role that vitamins play in a person’s health. Vitamin B12 is particularly fascinating, as it doesn’t occur naturally in the body – as Dr. Guarneri explains, it must be obtained by “animal source foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, fish, fortified foods or by nutritional supplement.”
This landmark study suggests that vitamin B12 deficits “may be a critical pathological component of (autism and schizophrenia), as well as other neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.”
For those who practice Integrative Medicine, establishing a clear relationship between a healthy diet and higher cognitive brain function has significant ramifications. This isn’t to say that a vitamin B12 deficiency is the only factor that contributes to the onset of dementia, autism, and other conditions. However, it strongly suggests that eating well, taking care of yourself, and taking vitamin supplements can benefit your long-term health.
The ABOIM was established to enable Integrative Medicine physicians with the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the core concepts and competencies that define the specialty. This community of like-minded physician leaders works together to advance the specialty, better understand the factors that contribute to healthy living, and improve the quality of healthcare overall. To learn more about the ABOIM, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties® today at 813-433-2277.