'Auto emissions from catalytic converters produce nitrous oxide which may be causing a growing, societal/world-wide vitamin B12 deficiency
David W. Gregg, Ph.D.
There have been a number of publications reporting studies showing that breathing nitrous oxide may destroy a person's vitamin B12. This has been reported not only in journal articles, but has finally been incorporated in the latest books on nutritional supplements as well as books on biochemistry. What first came to my mind was the use of this gas by dentists. Nitrous oxide, often called "laughing gas", is commonly used by dentists to help mitigate pain. This could present a risk to patients, but probably more often it presents a risk to people working in the office who would be exposed every day. However, a far greater potential concern came to mind when I recently read a news article that stated that the catalytic converters in automobiles are creating enough nitrous oxide emissions to contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect. It is also known to be a very stable molecule that has a lifetime in the atmosphere of approximately 150 years. With cars continuing to produce it, one would expect the concentration in the atmosphere, world wide, to be increasing every year, and it appears to be doing so. Is this already producing B12 deficiencies world wide, which will increase with time? This would not be surprising because we require (and absorb) only a few micrograms vitamin B12 per day and our livers store only a few micrograms in reserve. It would take only a very low concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere to destroy this if the destruction process is efficient, and the individual's dietary absorption process is inefficient. What are the potential health consequences and what can we as individuals do to protect against this potential problem?
I have had some personal experience which I will discuss below that makes me believe that I have discovered a significant fraction of the population is B12 deficient. It is a far greater fraction that I would have expected, since it even exists in young people who should have healthy B12 absorption systems. Is this the effect of the atmospheric nitrous oxide emissions already showing up? I believe it is a definite possibility which deserves some serious attention.'
Health Consequences of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
It is widely recognized that vitamin B12 in combination with folic acid is essential for your body to synthesize hemoglobin. A deficiency can result in a particular form of anemia called pernicious anemia. However, as we continually expand our knowledge of biochemistry, it is being recognizing that these vitamins fill far more broad ranging requirements. It is doubtful that all their functions been identified, but it is reasonable to conclude that a deficiency could result in or contribute to a broad range of degenerative processes. Cancer is one of these processes as discussed in the "Cancer" health note.
The absorption of vitamin B12 requires a highly specialized process which tends to become less effective with age. For this reason it is common for doctors to give elderly people B12 shots which result in them feeling much better and more energetic. It is also common for the elderly to develop numerous degenerative diseases. (They don't all get shots.) Does a B12 (and folic acid) deficiency contribute to the development of many degenerative diseases that we commonly associate with aging?. It would not surprise me at all if it does. It doesn't appear to be so common to give vitamin B12 shots to young people, so we may have not discovered a deficiency that may exist. Is there a similar deficiency in younger people resulting in a different set of medical problems? I have reason to believe there might be, and my only explanation for such a surprising and unnatural development is the growing nitrous oxide concentration in the atmosphere.
The individual solutions and my evidence that the problem might be broad ranging over all age groups
If a serious vitamin B12 deficiency is being caused by automobile emissions, we certainly want to change that process. However, this will require changes in cars that are beyond our individual control. So, what can we do individually?'