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Rotator Cuff Tears and Vitamin B12

Hello everyone and welcome to 2023! The first two weeks of the new year already feel like a fresh start and a shake-off of any remainders from 2022 that weren’t serving us. I’m happy to enjoy another year learning with you guys and am going to start January off with an article sent to me by my wonderful colleague and friend, Connie.

The study published by Kim et al. in 2021 (see link below) is taking me back to my days of orthopedic physical therapy; theraband exercises were plentiful, post-op protocols abound, and rotator cuff tears were trending. Seriously guys, rotator cuff injuries are orthopedic PT’s equivalent to what big hair was to the 80’s; super common and painful to think about. But, this new article might help shed some light on how we can prevent rotator cuff tears (RCT).

This study highlights the importance of getting our vitamins, specifically B12. Study subjects without RCT had vitamin B12 levels that were almost 100 pg/ml higher than subjects with RCT (on average 528 pg/ml for those with RCT versus 627 pg/ml in those without). This study was also able to support the research by other previous authors that male sex, increased age, history of diabetes, and low vitamin D levels are linked to incidence of RCT.

So how can you ensure optimal B12? It’s readily available on your dinner plate. I’m a huge believer that we can get our nutrients from food as long as we eat whole food that is sourced from good soil and good living conditions. B12 is created by bacteria in the soil (all the more reason for healthy, pesticide and herbicide free soil), we can not make it in our own bodies. The most readily available source of B12 is in meat, fish, dairy, and eggs and is ingested by animals when they munch on green things and end up eating some of that dirt in the process. This creates some issues for our vegan friends, but taking a B12 supplement is also an option. Please note that there are more bioavailable forms of B12 such as methylcobalamin which your body will digest and use more easily. And remember, B vitamins have synergistic effects and work best when taken together, so a full B supplement is often better than B12 alone.

If you have any questions about these supplements you can talk to your doctor or pharmacist and they will probably have oodles of answers for you. You can also have blood work done to see what your B12 levels are. If you want to do more research on your own, there is a great book written by a pharmacist, Suzy Cohen, called Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients - - and Natural Ways to Restore Them. She gives very simple information and instructions on medicines/supplements and how to get the most bang for your buck if you have to take them. Note that I am not affiliated, sponsored, or receive compensation in any way for recommending this book. I wish! 😉

Take home message: Having low B12 appears to increase the risk of rotator cuff tears (along with a myriad of other issues we won’t go into in this month’s article). Make sure you treat your body like the fine machine it is and give it the fuel it needs to stay healthy and strong. And if you still end up with shoulder issues, go see a physical therapist.

I’ll see you in February. Stay smart my friends!

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