Jeanette Sousa

How Hot Are You?

What can your Basal Body Temperature tell you about your thyroid health?

Knowing just how hot or cold you are running and how your body thermo-regulates itself can give you some key indicators about your state of health. Putting faith in modern medicine and technology while listening less to the intuitive signals of our own bodies has diminished the use of this cheap, easy, self diagnostic tool. But if you are reading this, you are in luck. The Basal Body Temperature (BBT) test helps us further understand thermogenesis, i.e., how our bodies regulates temperature properly.  We all know how terrible we feel when we have a fever, but being too cold may even be worse. It is absolutely critical that you don’t run too cold.  If your body temperature drops even a degree below where it should be then more than half of the enzymatic processes in the body will become dysfunctional.

As far as self diagnosis, this test is so simple, you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your own bed. It is a great way to connect with your body first thing upon rising to get grounded for your day.

BBT has also been used for many decades to helps detect ovulation. A spike in temperature is a confirmatory marker of ovulation. Learn more about charting your fertility cycle here.

Allow me to share why a BBT is the simplest way to tell you if your thyroid is functioning correctly.  The thyroid is known as the master gland and is part of the endocrine system.  It’s a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck just below the adam’s apple. It’s the big boss of our metabolism and also governs other organs in the endocrine system. It is also a major contributor to how energetic or tired you may be.  It also plays a big part in hormone function and a properly functioning thyroid enhances our cognitive ability.

Thyroid disorders as reported by some medical research organizations affect a shocking 13 million people in the United States alone. Statistics are also showing that 1 in 8 women between the ages of 35 and 65 and 1 in 5 over the age of 65 will have some form of thyroid dis-ease.

The thyroid gland is your body’s source of iodine, and is itself ruled by the pituitary. The pituitary gland produces Thyrotropin (TSH), that tells the thyroid to make Thyroxine T4.  Thyroxine (T4) is used throughout the body to deliver iodine, which is used for many cellular processes.  Iodine deficiency is a large contributing factor to thyroid issues.

The thyroid also produces calcitonin that regulates calcium uptake, regulating the parathyroid gland, which takes calcium from your bones when you don’t have enough, but it can’t take excess calcium out of your blood if it is not working. Excess calcification wreaks all kinds of havoc on us, especially reducing our cellular bio-conductivity. Calcium, as we know, is not a good conductor of electricity, so too much weakens our biofield and destroys the delicate pH balance of intra and extra cellular membranes.  

The thyroid also makes Triiodothyronine (T3), which is five times more potent than T4, but the thyroid produces 17 times more T4 than T3. T3 is the primary hormone that helps your body regulate its’ temperature.

Overall, our thyroid is quite complex and puts on quite a coordinated orchestral performance affecting the overall chemistry of the entire whole body.

How Does the BBT Work?

So what will your BBT tell you that blood test won’t? Blood panels test your hormone levels, while measuring your BBT will be able to tell you if your thyroid is actually working and producing T3.

Blood work is also open to interpretation which can often be off the mark.

The normal range of TSH is somewhat controversial. In labs the normal can run as high as 4-5mU/L, with other experts using 2.5-3 mU/L and then you have integrative medicine with an upper limit of 1.5-2 mU/L.

This coupled with an over reliance on prescription drugs leaves many people continuously suffering the inequities of treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause. Remember, a band aid does not heal anything.

Another reason the BBT can come in handy over bloodwork is due to all the different variables that can contribute to your TSH levels being off.  A high TSH could be due to an overcompensation of the pituitary gland to get the thyroid to produce T3 and T4, if the thyroid is not responding. You have to find out why. Stress could also play a big role in suppressing the pituitary gland from producing enough TSH which would show up as low thyroid hormone production (T3 and T4). These results can be confusing and undermine a true determination of the actual state of your thyroid gland and whether it is properly functioning or not.

As I pointed out, your body temperature directly affects your enzymatic functioning. So if your BBT is low then enzymatic activity will be severely reduced and and your cellular function will be compromised which in turn will perpetuate a low body temperature. This is a vicious circle that if undiagnosed will eventually lead to the manifestation of dis-ease.  If you suffer from extreme fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, mood swings and weight loss or gain, do yourself a favor and test your BBT. Do it before you get misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants for hypothyroidism, which is plain wrong. This study addresses this specific problem in the medical industry today of doctors misdiagnosing a weak thyroid as a mental condition.

Your ideal BBT is 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit). Anything under 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit) is a indication that your thyroid is dangerously sluggish and not functioning correctly. This seemingly small drop in temperature, even by half a degree, considerably hinders every cell in the body.

How to Take the Test

Step one: Purchase a glass basal temperature thermometer. Pharmacies also sell specific thermometers for BBT.

Step two: Get comfortable with reading your thermometer and create a routine of rising out of bed slowly, and being more present. Have a place to properly keep a diary to chart your tests because you are going to have to take it every morning before getting out of bed for a week to get an accurate picture.  Find a system that will work for you, there are many smartphone app options for charting your BBT as well.  The key is to take it the same way, same time,  every day.  After you are done, reset the thermometer by shaking it back to zero so it is primed for the next morning.

Step 3: Choose to start on the second day (skip the first day) of your monthly period. Take your armpit temperature for ten minutes as soon as you awake and before you gotten out of bed.  It must be the first thing you do even before speaking.Taking your temperature under the tongue will not work for this. A minimum of three consecutive days is encouraged to have a chart that tells you if you have hypothyroidism. But like I said, a week of measuring BBT is better.



Massoudi, M. S., et al. (1995). Prevalence of thyroid antibodies among healthy middle-aged women. Findings from the thyroid study in healthy women. Annals of Epidemiology, 5 (3), 229–233.

The Astonishing Power of Violet Light on Your Food

With a growing concern over the use of plastics in our modern convenience driven world, more and more people are choosing to ask for glass. However, when purchasing glass items did you know the color of the bottle has a lot to do with the quality of what’s inside.

Understanding that the sunlight that enables our food to grow also accelerates the decaying process after it has been harvested and bottled, makes us aware to choose a darker bottle over clear glass, a better choice for conserving the bio-energy of any living food or liquid.

Beyond dark glass there is even something better, and that is violet glass, its a breakthrough in natural preservation, the glass filters and blocks damaging light waves while enhancing beneficial ones. This extraordinary protective qualities of violet glass were recognized as far back as the ancient Egyptian times and throughout the middles ages by alchemists, specimens can be seen throughout the museums of Europe.  Prized treasures and substances were stored in violet and gold and stood the test of time.

From this violet glass theory, Swiss scientist Yves Kraushaar developed Miron Vitality Glass from his years of research which is what is being used today.

Processed with MOLDIV

So what exactly is it about this violet miron glass that makes it so special?

Well, it contains a combination of three frequencies that permanently activates and energizes the molecular structure of any substance. It’s like a “violet light radiation” explaining it’s super ability to preserve its bio-energy and prevent deterioration and degradation.

This trio of frequencies consists of visible violet light, far infrared and ultraviolet A (UVa). The human eye can see the rainbow spectrum, with violet on one end and red at the other end.

Beyond this spectrum and invisible to the human eye, is ultraviolet A (UVa), which is used in commercial food production to slow down the growth of molds, bacteria and pathogens.

Lastly, and also invisible to the human eye is far-infrared light, its function is to sustain the molecular viability and structure of organic substances.

How Violet Glass Can Preserve Your Food

Studies were conducted by Dr. Hugo Niggli using biophotonics, studying how light affects food production. When he used the narrow violet spectrum, he found astonishing results.

One of his now famous studies was the case of the seven month old cherry tomatoes.  He stored one cherry tomato in violet glass that stayed completely intact and had not dried out while the other one stored in the regular clear glass was a microbial fungus mess after the seven months.

This extraordinary research and facts about violet glass will make you think twice about storing your high quality food item and perishable products in anything other than violet miron glass, especially volatile substances like oils, tonics and tinctures. There are many people consuming rancid oils without even knowing it, a topic for another article.

Here’s one company that goes the extra mile with miron violet glass for their organically sourced five star seeds oils.



Is Your Thyroid On?

Thyroid imbalances affect millions of people. Some people have too little thyroid hormone, while others have too much. While thyroid issues have been well understood in terms of symptoms and treatments for some time, the way that the gland itself turns on (i.e. releases hormone) has been a mystery.

If your thyroid is under- or overactive, you may experience symptoms like weight gain or loss, mood changes, infertility or sleep issues.

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry revealed the answer to the question, “what turns the thyroid on?”. To learn more about this fascinating discovery, check out the Science Daily article, here.

If you suspect that you may have a thyroid imbalance, it may be caused by cortisol, a stress hormone. You can find out if your cortisol levels are normal by doing a simple saliva test. If you do have an issue with your cortisol levels, you should talk to your doctor about having your thyroid tested.

There are natural ways to support your thyroid, especially through your diet. In some cases medication may be necessary, but by catching any issues early, you may be able to avoid that potential outcome.

Find out if cortisol is causing your weight, sleep or mood issues.

Pet Power: Living Longer with Animals

As far back as 1789 Frederick II, King of Prussia coined the phrase, “dog is man’s best friend”, but did you know that having animals around can actually help you live longer? It’s true, pets can not only increase your lifespan, but also improve your quality of life.

The secret is out: the fountain of youth is alive, running around on four legs and wants you to go throw the frisbee.


Maybe that’s why we live longer with animals in our lives… we’re so busy playing, we forget to age.

Children eventually grow up, stop playing and may even become your biggest source of stress (just ask my mother), but dogs always want to play and maintain a youthful spirit well into their senior years.

Anyone who has ever taken a walk in nature with a dog can attest to the fact that dogs help you enjoy the great outdoors on a whole new level. Who is as excited to run amok in the wild, smelling every flower and rolling around in the dirt as gleefully as our faithful canine companions?

Dog-owners have been found to spend considerably more time outside. Spending more time in the outdoors means more active time, which is obviously great for your overall health; from reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer to strengthening your bones. Just being outside more has other health benefits too, like reduced stress levels, lower risk of respiratory allergies and a boost for your brain (due to an increased sense of novelty and excitement).

Man playing with cat


After a long day at the office, who on Earth is as happy to see you as your dog?

Your cat.

Okay, maybe not, but a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, following more than 4000 cat owners for 10 years, showed that having a cat can significantly decrease the risk of dying from heart disease.

Research has repeatedly shown the long-term benefits of having a pet include protection for your heart. During a 20 year study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had a cat. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.

But why leave your pet at home when you can bring them with you to work?

A 2012 study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that office workers who brought their dogs to work had lower levels of stress than employees who did not have pets and employees who left their dogs at home.

Woman playing with a cat in the office


Having animals in your life helps decrease your stress levels, lowers blood pressure, supports your cholesterol levels, improves your mood and boosts your immune system.

A recent study even found that people who have animals in their homes recover faster from surgery!

The benefits of having a pet or animal in your life are too numerous to count, but we can have fun trying. Some of the main advantages:

  • lower risk of depression and anxiety,
  • increased levels of serotonin, a chemical associated with feelings of well-being
  • decreased levels of cortisol, a hormone caused by stress and associated with higher risk of heart disease and larger waistlines
  • increased heart rate for over 20 minutes a day while on walks
  • lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides compared to people who do not own pets

Having an animal around helps to keep you active even on those cold and gloomy days when you would prefer to sit in bed and eat ice cream. Your dog will get you outside to see the rainbow you would have otherwise missed, and you’ll even have a buddy to snuggle with under the covers when you return from your walk. The love a pet adds to your life cannot be measured.

The jury is in and the verdict is unanimous:

Having a pet doesn’t just add years to your life, it adds life to your years.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
                                                                                               -Anatole France


Kerry Emerson is a proud pet owner and a writer based in Hawaii.  Taking his cue from his famous relative, Ralph Waldo Emerson, he has a passion for the outdoors, natural living and the art of the written word.

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Gut Bacteria are Shaking Up Cancer Research

Big Pharma is starting to recognize the role of our gut bacteria as the body’s ally in preventing and treating cancer. They have found that the microbiome has an innate intelligence that actually helps our immune systems. Considering we have more bacteria in our bodies than any other kinds of cells, this is good news! Read about the research into creating cancer immunotherapies made from certain strains of bacteria.


Socializing for Longevity: With a Little Help from Your Friends.

Humans are social creatures. Whether or not we like to admit it, we literally need other humans to survive. From the moment we’re born, our survival is linked to our connections with others. The way we grow, develop and learn are all filtered through the values and influences of our family, friends and the social world around us.

Even those of us who tend to lean towards being more independent or introverted still need a helping hand sometimes, a kind word now and then and some affection here and there. It’s not just for basic survival; your need for others is directly linked to your quality and length of life as well.



If you want proof that humans are wired for social connection, ironically, all you have to do is look to your computer. The Internet’s most popular websites are social networks that allow us to connect with family and friends all over the globe. Services like Skype take networking to the next level by allowing us to have face-to-face conversations with people half a world away.

Out in the physical world, the importance of socializing for our health, happiness and longevity has been studied for decades. In what has been called The Roseto Effect, researchers have kept tabs on a close-knit community of Italian-Americans in Roseto, Pennsylvania who seem to defy the odds by living longer, healthier lives than average Americans.

It was more than thirty years ago when researchers first became baffled by a phenomenon that defied all medical logic. The citizens of Roseto had half the heart attack death rate compared to the rest of the United States. Scientists were fascinated and began decades of research into the phenomenon.

It wasn’t a diet or an overly active lifestyle that was creating this effect. The researchers found that the eating habits and exercise practices of Roseto residents were no different from any other blue-collar American town. The men of Roseto smoked like chimneys and drank wine freely. Their diets were full of modernized Italian cuisine, eaten in large quantities. So, what was different about the people of Roseto, Pennsylvania?

Socialization, networking and a neighborly atmosphere on a scale that would even impress Mr. Rogers.

Roseto was an incredibly close-knit community. They dined together, celebrated together and came together to help out when a neighbor was in need. The elderly weren’t sent away, but taken care of and kept close. Nearly every home had three generations living under the same roof. As a group they enjoyed many communal rituals, such as social clubs, evening strolls and church festivals. These all somehow combined to bring good health, happiness and longevity to the people of Roseto.

A group of friends having dinner outdoors in the sunshine


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The Power of the Clan is a report on the Roseto Effect by physician Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn. Their study covered the period of 1935 to 1984. The report highlights the fact that when a community bonds together, it actually contributes to the health and wellness of the people in that community. On the flip side, a lack of concern and disconnection between residents can have the opposite effect.

“We looked at the social structure of healthy communities,” Wolf said, “and found that they are characterized by stability and predictability. In those communities, each person has a clearly defined role in the social scheme.”

There’s no doubt that socializing makes us feel good. Whether it’s chatting with the person next to you in line at the store, making new contacts at work or being with family and friends, we are stimulated in ways that make us happy when we connect with others. In fact, it’s instrumental to our emotional well-being.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Happiness-Stress Index study, we are at our happiest when we spend time socializing. Over 140,000 Americans were surveyed and it was found that those with the lowest scores on the Happiness-Stress index tended to be at home all day and had zero hours of social time. The opposite was true for those who devoted spending large amounts of time with others, the ratio rising with each hour of socialization.


If you’re wondering how this works, it all begins with stress. When your stress levels are high, your levels of the hormone cortisol rise. That can lead to a rise in blood pressure and a destabilization of your immune system. Constant stress leads to all kinds of issues, from heart disease to other illnesses that find their way in due to a compromised system.

According to Shelley Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, there is a cure for high-stress levels that can ultimately lead you to a longer, healthier life. “(Social contact with others) has effects on the body that are more powerful than cigarette smoking and your cholesterol level,” said Taylor. “The magnitude is very strong.”

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This is the answer that surprised researchers many decades ago in Roseto. Socialization is key to your ultimate health. It cuts down on the amount of stress you carry around in your body, which has a direct impact on your overall health. If increased socialization impacts your health with the same as magnitude smoking, it’s no wonder the people of Roseto had fewer heart attack deaths than the rest of the country.

We all know that exercise and a proper diet are important for our health, but the evidence here reveals that having an active social life can offer equivalent results for your well-being. While times have changed and gadgets can make it hard to feel like actively socializing, you can take steps to become more connected. Put away the cellphone at dinner. Have more family time; plan game nights for example. Invite the neighbors over. Eat lunch with a coworker instead of at your desk, staring at a screen. Expand your network. Soon, you might just find yourself living a longer, more fulfilled life.

An active social life isn’t the only thing that can help you live longer with less stress… Sleep is fundamental to good health, happy living and longevity. Check our new book Sleeping Without Pills to discover more about the importance of natural, restorative sleep.

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Insomnia Help: Sweet Dreams are Made of Zzzzzs

Good quality sleep is a must. It’s as important as food, oxygen and water. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than a third of our lives are spent sleeping. Typically, a person with great sleeping habits is in excellent health. Does good health lead to better sleep or does good sleep lead to better health? It can be tough to tell which comes first, but if you have insomnia, working on fixing that issue is a good place to start.

Insomnia is a terrible condition to live with. If you’ve got insomnia, you’re probably waking up feeling exhausted. Makes it hard to get through a normal day, right? It’s probably not only complicating your ability to get things done, but it might be impacting your mood, health and overall quality of life too.



Insomnia is a tricky thing to diagnose, but if you regularly suffer from these symptoms, you probably have it:

  • waking up frequently during the night
  • having trouble falling asleep (more than 30 minutes on average)
  • waking too early (getting less than 6 hours a night, despite making time for more)
  • not feeling rested after waking

If you do have insomnia, you’re probably also dealing with other unpleasant symptoms like:

  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • struggling to concentrate or focus
  • feeling exhausted during the day
  • depression or irritability
  • distraction
  • feeling clumsy or like you’re making a lot of mistakes

With insomnia, these conditions get progressively worse as time goes on. If you believe that you have insomnia, you should see a doctor to be properly diagnosed, especially because insomnia can sometimes be a sign of a deeper problem. A qualified medical professional can determine the right path and schedule you in at a sleep center for testing.



Stress and anxiety are major causes of insomnia. Worries related to work, school, money and family issues can keep your mind active at night, even if you don’t normally suffer from insomnia. A death in the family, illness or struggles relating to lack of work, divorce and other difficult situations can make insomnia worse, leading to a chronic condition.

Beyond the day-to-day struggles that nearly everyone faces at one time or another, insomnia is also often linked with illness and disease. Cancer, heart disease, acid reflux, GERD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and arthritis have all been known to cause bouts of insomnia, as have many types of medication. Discuss with your doctor before starting any regimen if you know it will cause you to lose sleep, as a proper good night’s rest is a great start to fighting off any ailment.

Woman writing in a notebook


You may not need to see a doctor. Initially you may want to treat your insomnia by making simple adjustments to your home life and your diet. For starters, figure out how many hours of sleep you need each night and set out a plan and schedule. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks to nail it down, as you see how you respond to different amounts of sleep. Track your mood, energy levels and overall health on good nights versus bad nights.

By sticking with a sleep schedule, and tracking how you feel the next day, you will learn what works best for you. Keep to it even on the weekends. Set up a time each night when you will put away all distractions and start a nice, relaxing bedtime ritual. 

We’ve created the ultimate sleep routine to get you started. Check it out here.



According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies have revealed that a regular exercise regimen can help sufferers of chronic insomnia. In one study, there was significant improvement in sleep quality after moderate aerobic exercise (at any time of day) like walking or swimming laps. Insomnia sufferers found themselves able to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.

There is still a lot to learn about insomnia and exercise. There seems to be a lot of variety from person to person when it comes to the impact of exercise on sleep, especially where time of day is concerned. Some people find that working out right before bed is the key to great sleep, while others find it keeps them up. Studies show that exercise does help, it’s just not easy to know what kind of exercise to do or when to do it. Keeping a sleep journal with notes on your exercise routine will help you determine what works best for you.

Foods high in tryptophan


A great way to combat insomnia is by eating the right foods, at the right times and avoiding certain other foods. Several natural components in food can work as sedatives and help to inspire sleep.

For example, we all hear about tryptophan around Thanksgiving. When you eat turkey or other foods with tryptophan in them, it creates a neurotransmitter in the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is the ‘happy hormone’. It also helps to calm the body and makes it easier for us to fall asleep. Tryptophan is in tofu, cheese, eggs, red meat, beans and lentils, among other foods.

A 2005 study found that patients who suffered from chronic insomnia found improvements in their sleep when they ate a tryptophan-heavy diet or took dietary supplements with tryptophan as the main ingredient.

Tryptophan needs a little bit of help to get into the brain, though. Studies have shown that eating carbohydrates triggers a release of insulin and that insulin helps the tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier. So consider this your free pass to enjoy some carbs before you hit the hay!

Whether you suffer from occasional insomnia or deal with it every day, hopefully, these tips have given you a place to start. Insomnia is a big deal, unchecked it can affect every aspect of your life and can put you in danger of serious health risks. Always check with your doctor before starting any program or regimen.

We’ve got lots more info on insomnia and other sleep issues, as well as tips for getting better rest in our new book. Download your copy of Sleeping Without Pills.


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Birth and the Microbiome

Midwives, doctors and doulas have known for a long time that the transfer of beneficial microbes from the mother to the newborn is essential for jumpstarting a healthy immune system for the baby.

But what about babies born by C-section? In recent years a flurry of new research has shown that these babies are at increased risk for certain health issues and there is widespread speculation that the lack of bacteria (normally transferred from mom to baby during vaginal birth) is the culprit.

A really exciting new pilot study has shown that even babies born surgically can have the mother’s microbiome transferred to them easily, giving them the same bacterial benefit as a natural birth.

Our bodies are 1-2% bacteria by mass. By comparison, your brain is also about 2% of your total weight. Bacteria cells actually outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1 in our own bodies. Having a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in and on your body is fundamental to good health… and that begins at birth.

Visit Science Daily to learn more about how surgeons are transferring mothers’ beneficial bacteria to their babies at birth.


Natural Perfumes, Botanical Beauty

People have traveled far and wide to capture the scents of flowers, trees, earth, rain and mist. Finding an alluring scent to anoint the skin, freshen the home or entice a mate has been a popular goal across cultures throughout human history. Along the way, the modern perfume industry (one of the least regulated industries in North America) began synthesizing scent compounds, forever changing the aroma experience. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals involved in this process can cause sensitivities, allergies, organ system toxicity, hormone disruption and even cancer.

Wildflowers in Mountain Meadow


If you want to smell like a freshly cut flower or a mountain meadow without the health risks, you need to choose pure, organic scents. In addition to the pleasure of deliciously scented oils, the aromatherapeutic benefits can be great too. The beautiful people at Living Libations cultivate luxurious essential oils using organic and wild botanicals from far-flung locales like the Valley of Roses in Bulgaria and the fir forests of Canada. Learn more about their process and products. Indulge in clean, fresh aromatic products for body and home.


B12 and the Aging Brain

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy, yet it is often overlooked.  B12 works by keeping your nerves and blood cells in top shape, as well as aiding in the production of DNA.  It also helps the body absorb folic acid and prevents megaloblastic anemia (a condition in which red blood cell counts are low), which makes sufferers tired and weak. Our bodies absorb B12 from food as stomach acid separates it from dietary proteins and combines it with a glycoprotein secreted by the stomach walls called intrinsic factor (or gastric intrinsic factor).



Without intrinsic factor, no vitamin B12 can be absorbed regardless of intake. Some people develop pernicious anemia because their body doesn’t produce intrinsic factor, making it impossible to absorb B12 from food and oral supplements. B12 is mostly found in animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese and shellfish. Vegans can get their B12 from supplements and from fortified foods. Specific bacterial cultures are used to fortify these foods. Non-dairy milk, breakfast cereals, meat substitutes and nutritional yeast often include this vital nutrient. 

If a person is lacking intrinsic factor to bind and absorb B12, B12 supplements are available that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue), as a spray or via injection. Regular oral B12 supplements won’t be absorbed if your body is not producing intrinsic factor. The US Recommended Dietary Allowance of B12 for adults 14 years and older is 2.4 mcg.  It’s recommended that pregnant and lactating women get between 2.6 and 2.8 mcg per day.  For children 9-13 years old, the number drops to 1.8 mcg.



New research has shown that B12 levels decrease significantly with age and low B12 levels are also connected to other neurological conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia. Richard Deth, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Pharmacy, led a team of international researchers who discovered that B12 levels in the brain decreased significantly in the elderly and were much lower in people with autism and schizophrenia. “These are particularly significant findings because the differences we found in brain B12 with aging, autism and schizophrenia are not seen in the blood, which is where B12 levels are usually measured.” said Dr. Deth. “The large deficits of brain B12 from individuals with autism and schizophrenia could help explain why patients suffering from these disorders experience neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms.” A form of B12, Methylcobalamin, known as Methyl B12, is a necessary nutrient needed for proper brain development.  As a result of this study, it was found that otherwise healthy elderly adults have 10 times less Methyl B12 than younger people.  

That’s not all.  Lower levels of Methyl B12 in young people seem to be connected to neurological problems later in life. Scientists at the Rush University Medical Center reported in Neurology magazine that the elderly people with low vitamin B12 levels tend to suffer from cognitive decline and even brain shrinkage. They tested 121 seniors aged 65 or older, taking blood samples as well as testing their memory and cognitive abilities. 52 months later, they did MRI scans to see if any brain damage had occurred during that time. It was found that those tested who had at least four out of five markers for B12 deficiency were much more likely to have lower test scores and even smaller brain volumes than in the first round of testing.

This connection appears to be due to the oxidative stress that is often associated with autism and schizophrenia.  The same oxidative stress is evident with aging and could be the cause for the lower B12 levels in the brain.  The researchers concluded that more study was needed to see if Methyl B12 supplements would actually help to fight oxidative stress and potentially treat those issues. To learn more about this exciting new research, check out the article in Science Daily.

 Female scientist looking through a microscope


The best way to check your vitamin B12 levels is through B12 testing.  This is a blood test used to find deficiencies and to help diagnose any potential anemias that may result. This test may also be used, along with other tests, to evaluate those who are demonstrating behavioral changes or altered mental states, especially in the elderly. If you believe you might be anemic and/or deficient in B12, your B12 test may be accompanied by folate testing and other screenings like a complete blood count (CBC) and a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), among others.  

It is important, especially as we age, to make sure our bodies and brains remain in optimum shape.  Test early and test often to get ahead of any neurological symptoms that may develop later in life.



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