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Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Novel idea/hypothesis

I've been reading with interest how nitrous oxide can deactivate b12. I've also read that b12 doesn't actually get used up by the body, rather it acts as a catalyst in various processes, changing somewhat/becoming deactivated but then in healthy people is recycled/reactivated via an enetro-hepatic pathway mechanism.

So my question is. If nitrous oxide is known to deactivate b12, has anything been done to see if other things that can be taken/inhaled can reactivate/recycle inactive/unusable b12?

I'm making an educated assumption that somehow the body expels too much deactivated b12 as it has no use for it in excessive amounts.

Hope that doesn't seem too far fetched but I know we have some very well read people on here.

6 Replies

Nitrous oxide reacts chemically with the B12 molecule to irreversibly convert it into an unusable form. Once it's been converted there's no way of changing it back without using some pretty potent chemicals that you really wouldn't want inside your body (I'm guess that lithium aluminium hydride might work).


I thought you might know a bit more than most people on here with your background.

Reading the FAQ's on the b12d site got me thinking last night about recycling problems.


Does NO deactivate the B12 stored in the liver? (non-chemist here!)

Also, while I'm here, do you build up supplies in the liver by having B12 injections even if you can't process B12 in the normal way? If you do build up supplies, can your body make use of them?


Nitrous oxide will deactivate any B12 it comes across. But it's really only a problem if you are already depleted in B12. It can cause a sudden drop from low (but just about OK) to very low (and definitely not OK).

If you don't have an absorption problem then any intact B12 in the liver can be recycled in the normal way, rapidly getting levels back up to normal. If you do have an absorption problem then no recycling can happen.


I wonder if nitrous oxide contributes to post natal depression.

That'd be an interesting study


Interesting idea. And not just for post natal depression, perhaps breast feeding issues, and baby failure to thrive stuff too. They could be run together. My first major health issues followed a C-section delivery, a few years later was in big trouble. I had many hours of gas and air and full anaesthesia from which they found it very hard to rouse me. I have parkinsons symptoms that are responsive to parkinsons meds, but they only ever helped with movement and autonymous nervous system stuff, had no effect on fatigue and between that and sudden downhill slide five years ago (Parkinsons develops very very slowly) I have wondered whether the cause of it all was that unexpectedly complicated delivery.


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