Even when your vitamin B12 levels have not fallen below normal, you can be at risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and also has an effect on neurological functioning and DNA. These processes in the body can affect the regulation of blood pressure. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in some foods and added to other processed foods.
Elevated Homocysteine Levels
Individuals who experience even slightly reduced levels of vitamin B12 also tend to have elevated homocysteine levels. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, plasma homocysteine has been associated with high blood pressure in large community studies. In evidence taken from the Framingham Heart Study and published in 2003, researchers found that individuals with hypertension had elevated homocysteine levels. You can reduce your potential for increased homocysteine levels by getting enough vitamin B12.
In a study published in 2006 in "Current Atherosclerosis Reports," researchers evaluated the role of increased levels of homocysteine in the blood with the promotion of atherosclerosis, commonly caused by a vitamin B deficiency. Elevated levels of homocysteine increased the risk of cardiovascular disease and cerebral vascular disease. Treatment of this disorder is primarily through the supplementation of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Atherosclerosis causes hardening of the arteries and an increase in blood pressure. Supplementation with vitamin B12 can help to reduce both.
Supplementation with vitamin B12 occurs in weight-loss clinics and among individuals who believe that they may be deficient because of poor diet or self-diagnosis. According to MayoClinic.com, while some clinics offer vitamin B12 as part of their programs, unless you have a deficiency, it is not likely to help. However, according to Acu-Cell Nutrition, when you receive an overabundance of vitamin B12, it can result in a severe calcium deficiency. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people whose calcium is low are at higher risk for developing hypertension. This means when vitamin B12 is taken to excess, you risk decreasing your calcium level and increasing your risk of hypertension.
- VeganHealth.org: Mild B12 Deficiency – Elevated Homocysteine
- American Heart Association: Plasma Homocysteine, Hypertension Incidence, Blood Pressure Tracking
- Current Atherosclerosis Reports; “Homocysteine: Role and Implications in Atherosclerosis”; S Guthikonda; March 2006
- MayoClinic.com: Are Vitamin B12 Injections Helpful for Weight Loss?
- Acu-Cell Nutrition: B-Complex Vitamins
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Calcium