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Ask The Doctors – Q & A’s B12 Deficiency and About Antibiotics

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Q & A'sRich TravisStaff Writer
Thyroid Nation

We would like to thank Dr. Wazny and Dr. Swartz from Health Matters for answering questions each week. This week features antibiotic and vitamin B12 deficiency questions from YOU, the Thyroid Nation Thrivers!

You can find out more information about these fine healthcare providers at

 Q & A’s~

From: Melissa M.

Would you recommend that we try oregano oil before trying antibiotics when on thyroid medication?

There are many reasons folks are started on antibiotics, so without knowing the specific reason, it’s difficult to say for sure that oil of oregano is a good alternative.  What we do know is that there is convincing evidence that the popular antibiotic, Cipro (ciprofloxacin), interacts with all types of thyroid medicine, rendering the thyroid medication “inactive.”  When possible, an alternative to ciprofloxacin should be used (or taken at least 6-8 hours away from thyroid medicine) or, when clinically indicated, oil of oregano, garlic (or it’s active ingredient, allicin), Pau D’Arco or even Manuka honey topically, can all be effective alternatives to traditional antibiotics, but be sure to discuss with your health care provider.

From: Brooke W.

I’m hypothyroid, and I’ve read about how vitamin B12 deficiency can mirror thyroid symptoms. If I’m still feeling awful while taking my thyroid meds, Could it be that I’m B12 deficient? Should I be getting tested for this? I don’t remember ever seeing this in my blood test results.

Great question, Brooke.  There have been a number of studies making the connection between hypothyroidism and low vitamin B12; and, you’re correct that a B12 deficiency can, in many ways, mimic hypothyroid symptoms.  So yes, you should have your B12 levels measured and I ALWAYS check vitamin B12 status with my patients by one of two ways.  The first (and cheapest, but not always the most accurate) is with a standard CBC (complete blood count) test and looking at MCV (mean corpuscular volume) values.  An elevated value can indicate a B12 deficiency.  Unfortunately, it can also indicate folate deficiency, liver disease, excessive alcohol intake and even, you guessed it, hypothyroidism!  So, what to do?  A better, more accurate blood test is methylmalonic acid (MMA), which will also elevate in cases of low B12.  Measuring serum cobalamin levels, study after study has shown, is NOT an accurate way to determine vitamin B12 status.

About the Author

Rich Travis is a staff writer for Living with his wife and 2 children, he has a front row seat to the devastation thyroid disease can cause and offers an in-depth, up close and personal view of his experience.  His wife of 17 years suffers from Hypothyroidism and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in 2012. Seeking help, compassion and cures for those that suffer please follow him on TwitterTumblr and read more of his articles here.

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