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Topic: vitamin B12 deficiency and breast cancer

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Apr 5, 2010 03:22AM

Hindsfeet wrote:

Vitamin B12 deficiency and breast cancer    http://www.b12patch.com/research.html

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University report that women with breast cancer tend to have lower vitamin B12 levels in their blood serum than do women without breast cancer. The researchers determined vitamin B12 concentrations in blood samples obtained in 1974 and in 1989 and compared the levels found in 195 women who later developed breast cancer with the levels found in 195 women free of cancer. They found that postmenopausal women with the lowest serum levels of vitamin B12 had a 2.5-4.0 times greater likelihood of being in the breast cancer group than did women with the highest levels. The researchers found no correlation between breast cancer risk and serum levels of folic acid, vitamin B6, and homocysteine.

In a subsequent review of the findings Dr. Sang-Woon Choi, MD of Tufts University points out that serum levels of folate are a poor indicator of levels in tissues and that it may well be that there is a correlation between folate levels in breast tissue and breast cancer risk. Dr. Choi speculates that a vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to breast cancer because it could result in less folate being available to ensure proper DNA replication and repair.

Wu, K., et al. A prospective study of folate, B12, and pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (B6) and breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., Vol. 8, March 1999, pp. 209-17
Choi, Sang-Woon. Vitamin B12 deficiency: a new risk factor for breast cancer? Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 57, August 1999, pp. 250-60 Log in to post a reply

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Apr 5, 2010 10:30AM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

That is interesting... I'm wondering if that's part of the reason that some vegetarians get breast cancer?? (not that there is any one cause... we all know that... but it's interesting food for thought)

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food.

Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 5, 2010 12:07PM Sassa wrote:

 I found this very interesting.  I was placed on Prevacid in June 2005 because of severe GERD.  A side effect of proton pump inhibitors is a B12 deficiency because the lower stomach acid interferes with B12 absorption.  I was diagnosed with BC in November 2006, still have low B12 levels (still on Prevacid) and take Vitamin B complex IM to overcome  the deficiency. 

Dx 11/6/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Apr 5, 2010 01:00PM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

Sassa - wow - that is VERY good to know. My husband has been on Prevacid for many years. He has also been COMPLETELY exhausted, constantly, for the last few years, and we couldn't figure out why. Isn't exhaustion one of the symptoms of B12 deficiency?? Wow.... amazing how even "miracle drugs" have their side effects.... my husband swears Prevacid changed his life but chemical drugs always have their consequences.

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food.

Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 5, 2010 01:20PM Sassa wrote:

CrunchyPoodle Mama,

I only recently became aware of the Vit B side effect of Prevacid.

After I had chemo and my hair came back in, I knew it was thinner than before and had one area (front right hairline) where no hair came back.  I put it down to hair thinning because of finally going through menopause. 

Last August, in an attempt to loose my last 20 lbs of a weight loss I had been working on for several years, I started a weight loss program that my primary care physician offers.  The Vitamin B shots actually started out as a part of the diet program.

After 2 months, I noticed that new hair was growing around the edges of my hairline and that bald spot on my forehead was filling in.  My hairdresser confirmed I had new hair coming in throughout my entire head.

About 1 1/2 months after that, I had some pre surgery blood work done before having tissue expanders placed for reconstruction.  One value, MCV (indication of blood cell size) had been high since my chemotherapy.  That value was within normal range; my cell size had decreased.

Curious, I started doing some research and found that both the hair thinning and MCV value were indications of Vitamin B deficiency and that Vitamin B deficiency was a side effect of Prevacid.

I bought the hair growth and MCV value to both my PCP and oncologist's attention.  Both ordered some other blood work to rule out some other possibilities (all results normal) so both pretty much agree that the Prevacid was probably the culprit.  Looks like I will continue with the B supplements as long as I am on Prevacid.

Dx 11/6/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Apr 6, 2010 01:35AM Hindsfeet wrote:

by Mary J. Shomon

October, 2002 -- A study that came out of Tufts University last year found that as many as 40 percent of healthy men and women have low levels of B-12 -- and those levels were deficient even though the people were eating diets tht has amuch as three times the recommended daily intake of this critical vitamin.

Vitamin B-12, which is also known as cyanocobalamine or cobalmin, is an essential nutrient in our diet. It is required for development of red blood cells, and is used to make the protective coating surrounding nerves.

Vitamin B-12 is found mainly in animal foods such as meat, poultry, milk products, eggs, and fish.
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Apr 6, 2010 02:07AM Hindsfeet wrote:

I first learned that I had a B-12 deficiency in my 30's. The only symptom I had at that time was numbness. The doctors of course gave me the standard diebties test which proved neg. After taking B-12 supplements the numbness disappeared. In my 50's I was told that my red blood cells were large. I didn't know if it was good or bad. Last year, I was told my red blood cells are large. I sense learned that large blood cells are due to a lack of B-12. Megaloblastic anemia is a type of anemia characterized by very large red blood cells. In addition to the cells being large, the inner contents of each cell are not completely developed.

I am taking weekly vitamin B-12 shots. I still have a B-12 shortage. I have read that B-12 deficiency in the body may be one of the culprets for cell and DNA deformation. I suspect that I have Pernicious anemia. Right now I am putting pieces of the puzzle together in a effort to see what I can do to correct one problem that may help correct other problems, such as my now autoimune disease. Did the lack of B-12 for years caused my cells to break down, allowing cancer to happen? Don't know yet. This is all very interesting to me right now.

Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the body cannot properly absorb vitamin B12 from the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper development of red blood cells.

The disease begins slowly and may take decades to fully establish. Although the congenital form occurs in children, pernicious anemia usually does not appear before age 30 in adults. The average age at diagnosis is 60.

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Apr 6, 2010 04:02AM makingway wrote:

Good topic! An additional note; although in the report it does not show any correlation with folic acid and breast cancer, I believe it is significant. I read somewhere that it was not a good idea to get too much folic acid, but couldn't find it anywhere in my 'library' of articles. So, I made sure I didn't get more than the RDA of folic acid daily. I saw last month on televison, an oncologist in Orange, CA-Dr.Tisman I believe his name was. He has been studying vitamins and cancer for over 20 years. He said not to supplement with folic acid. We get way too much of it. It's in everything! And the usual amount on the product is 100% of the RDA. I think he said that the folic acid bumps the B vitamin. Similar to what happens with D3 when taking too much vitamin A.

Visit my website for helpful tips when using cold caps:penguincoldcap.wix.com/help

Dx 3/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 6, 2010 06:01AM Yazmin wrote:

Interesting topic! What brand of B12 vitamins do you all supplement with?

Please question more. And then more.

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Apr 6, 2010 05:38PM Hindsfeet wrote:

We get tested for vitamin D deficiency but not vitamin B-12. If we do have a vitamin B-12 shortage due to Pernicious anemia, we may not absorb B-12 in pill form in the intestents. It maybe necessary to purchase the B-12 drops that you put under your tongue or take B-12 shots. I did purchase liquid form of high potency vitamin B-12 that you drink. It is a little sweet. Check with your naturalpathic doctor or health store.

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Apr 6, 2010 05:41PM jpann39 wrote:

Im glad I found this thread...

I was dx'd with Pernicious anemia in May of 2006 and started weekly shots of b12 as treatment, in Nov 2006 I was dx'd with Stage 2 breast cancer.

I also have the heartburn issue so take prescription prilosec. I asked my dr about the b12 absorbtion and she directed me to change from the daily pill form to a B Complex liquid. I will have a blood draw for counts in a couple of weeks but I feel that the liquid is actually working better than the pill form. I only take a shot every 3 months or so now that I have finally gotten the levels elevated.

I will see if I can find some of the research I did back then reguarding bc and b12. It was very interesting to me.

I cant say that I think B12 caused my breast cancer, but I do believe it made it grow fast enough that I found it easily. I found it very hard to believe at 2 cm lump could show up in the breast that I wash every day of my life over night. It just seemed to appear out of no where one day.

Take care all


'Gain strength by the positive and don't be sapped by the negative"

Dx 11/4/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 7, 2010 01:27AM, edited Apr 7, 2010 01:27AM by Hindsfeet

jpann39...please share your research info with us. Why are you taking prilosec?

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Apr 18, 2010 09:19PM, edited Apr 18, 2010 09:21PM by ebarry

I wonder how this works..?

A new procedure being done at Mayo Clinic using vitamin B12 that helps doctors locate hard to find tumors. During the processes a patient is injected with radioactive vitamin B12. After three hours a gamma camera takes pictures of the body. Dr. Collins treated a patient with breast cancer and he says that, "The cancer stands out as a bright spot in the breast. It's very easy to detect." This is especially important in women with dense breasts whose cancer isn't always visible in a mammogram, "because we can't see through the breast with mammograms as well as in women with fatty replaced breasts," says Dr. Collins. Dr. Collins says the B12 test has only been used on a small group of patients, and more studies are needed. He adds the treatment could be helpful in other cancer patients including those with thyroid, brain, lung, colon, bone and prostate cancers, and also lymphoma.



Dx 10/11/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 17, 2010 09:55PM ebarry wrote:

I had my yearly mammo, plus a ultra sound. Although I have fat lumps and cycts, there was nothing suspecious. I wasn't for sure the results would be good because my throid has been on the low side all year and I wasn't absorbing iodine. The only other change I've made in my life is weekly vitamin b-12 shots and vitamin D gel supplements. After more study on vitamin b-12, I am convinced that my low vitamin b-12 was the main culpret to being susceptable to cancer, and a low thyroid. I contribute my cancer free year to vitamin b-12 and vitamin D. The thyroid med's and I'm sure iodine helped.


Dx 10/11/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 18, 2010 02:03AM CrunchyPoodleMama wrote:

ebarry, I am SOOOOOO HAPPY for you that you got the "all clear" today! YAHOOOO!!!!!!!! I'm sure I was low in B12 too, after my stint as a vegan... thankfully I'm getting plenty of B12 now in grass-fed animal products!

Julia ~ Dear friends, do what you can to help your body fight/prevent cancer. 1. Supplement with iodine and vitamin D. 2. STOP taking hormonal birth control/HRT. 3. Eat organic real food, not chemical or fake food.

Dx 11/13/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 18, 2010 12:38PM AuroraL wrote:

hmmm, interesting.  I'm in the hypothyroid//low ferritin/low b12 camp.  In addition to the BC I also have had carcinoid tumors in my stomach (small) that have been surgically removed.  I'm trying to stabilize all my levels.  I get monthly B12 shots, and have been for almost a year.  My B12 level is still pretty low, 279 at my last blood draw.  I'm wondering if I should also be taking that B12 liquid.  My doctor is pretty nonchalant about this.

Dx 10/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
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May 18, 2010 04:33PM, edited May 18, 2010 04:35PM by ebarry

I came accross a few interesting articles that helped me that might also help others who are struggling with Pernicious Anemia - b-12 anemia 

  •  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172774.php
  • Causes of pernicious anemia - pernicious anemia is caused by an autoimmune disease; the person's own immune system attacks good parts of the body, as if they were bacteria or viruses.

    The immune system of patients with pernicious anemia creates antibodies which attack the lining of the stomach, damaging cells that produce intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a substance that is secreted by the gastric mucous membrane (lining of the stomach) and is vital for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines. If the production of intrinsic factor is undermined, vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed into the body properly.
    • Blood test - to determine whether the red blood cell count is low. The appearance of the red blood cells is also checked, because they may have an unusual shape. A blood test can also determine what the level of B12 is.

      The GP may also want to check the patient's blood intrinsic factor antibody levels, in order to determine whether the person has pernicious anemia.
    • Bone marrow biopsy - the aim here is to rule out other possible causes of red cell abnormalities or anemia.
    B12 deficiency anemia may also be caused by a lack of intrinsic factor - pernicious anemia. The patient's digestive system cannot absorb B12 properly. Signs and symptoms of pernicious anemia may include:
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Palpitations
    Anemia may also have the following signs and symptoms:
    • A sore mouth and/or tongue
    • Weight loss
    • Pale or yellowish skin
    • Diarrhea (sporadic)
    • Menstrual problems
    • Higher susceptibility to infections
    • If the deficiency continues untreated the patient may have the following neurological signs and symptoms:
      • Tingling or numbness of the fingers
      • Tingling or numbness of the toes
      • General muscle weakness
      • Difficulty walking properly (staggering)
      • Irritability
      • Confusion
      • Forgetfulness
      • Tender calves
    Dx 10/11/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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    May 26, 2010 11:06PM ebarry wrote:

    This is a really good website. Very helpful. http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=513&Title=Vitamin%20B-12 

    So Why the Fuss with Cancer?

    A number of research studies covering cancers such as colon, stomach or breast have linked the disease to lowered B-12 levels. (For example - Cho, Sang-Woon;Nutrition Review 57 - women with breast cancer have lowered B-12 levels). As part of their treatment some of these women adopt vegetarian diets without added B-12 supplementation

     (Journal of American Geriatric Society, Vol 44). Whilst early symptoms are fatigue, memory loss and mental confusion, vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked to Alzheimer's and dementia (Age and Ageing Vol 23 pg 334).

    Dx 10/11/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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    May 26, 2010 11:36PM althea wrote:

    ebarry, I was thinking of you the other day when I read this article:
    BPA plastics chemical damages intestines

    "More than 130 studies have linked the hormone-mimicking chemical to a wide variety of health problems, including cancers, birth and reproductive defects, obesity, early puberty onset, behavior disorders and brain damage. "

    I had a tumbler I really liked made by tervis, but I set it aside when I learned it contains bpa (bisphenol A).  Many canned goods contain a lining with bpa in it.  

    Listen with a questioning ear. quote from George Ohsawa, founder of macrobiotics

    Dx 12/22/2004, ILC, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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    Oct 3, 2010 12:42AM, edited Aug 20, 2013 05:51AM by Hindsfeet

    Since my bc dx, I feel as though I've been pealing an onion. When I feel as if I've understand what went wrong, I find there are more layers, more to know about why my body turned on me.

    This week, through a blood test, I discovered that I'm positive for Helicobacter pylori. H pylori can cause a b-12 deficency. It can cause a autoimmune problem. (h pylori is a horrible bacteria that is found in your stomach, but can also be found in all of your digestive track, from your mouth to the other end).


    H pylori and Autoimmune Conditions

    An autoimmune condition is characterised by the immune system attacking its own tissues. Example include multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis, colitis, crohn's disease, type I diabetes and fibromyalgia.

    H pylori has been linked with all these diseases but the links are quite tenuous at this stage. It is believed that the proteins on the surface of H pylori are very similar to the proteins found in the body's own tissues. The immune system may confuse these proteins and instead of attacking H pylori, mount an attack against its own tissues instead.

    The research seems to indicate that the thyroid gland is the most likely target of this autoimmune complication

    I'm on triple therapy right now, two different anitbiotics, plus stomach acid med... I'm wondering if once the H pyloi is eradicated if my b-12 levels will go up, and my thyroid be normal, or at least solve the Hashminto autoimmune problem I have.

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    Oct 3, 2010 06:39AM BarbaraA wrote:

    Imagine that. My B12 at diagnosis was dangerously low.

    Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield.

    Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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    Oct 6, 2010 11:46PM Hindsfeet wrote:

    I am about a week into triple therapy for H Pylori. My naturalpath thought that perhaps the H Pylori bacteria kept me from absorbing all my thyroid meds, and possible other nutrients. I heard that most of our problems begin in the gut.

    I've heard that about 50% of people over 50 have H Pylori. I am so glad I was checked for it. I will be interested in seeing the results of my next blood workup.