Among the many ailments attributed to low vitamin B12, scientists are studying the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause for chronic cough. Add to that list a number of debilitating conditions already associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, such as fatigue, memory loss, and “pins and needles” sensations. If you frequently battle with cold symptoms like sneezing and sore throat, you may need to consider vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause for chronic cough, as well.
According to the Italian study conducted by the University of Turin and Mauriziano Hospital, researchers examined 302 patients suffering from chronic cough, including symptoms such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), cough reflex sensitivity, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
Based on the theory that chronic cough may be a form of sensory neuropathy, scientists prepared to prove vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause for chronic cough. About 15% of participants had no known cause for chronic cough. After submitting to vitamin B12 blood tests, 25 of the 40 sufferers of idiopathic chronic cough discovered they also had vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for many important bodily functions, not the least of which is supporting a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B12 aids in maintaining myelin, a fatty substance that coats each individual nerve cell, protecting it from harm and enhancing cellular communication in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Without enough vitamin B12, your myelin sheath diminishes, causing damaged or depleted nerve cells in the central and peripheral nervous system.
Symptoms of peripheral nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) from vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Slower reflexes
- Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Poor motor skills
- Difficulty swallowing
- Altered sense of taste
- Muscle spasms
- Sore, red tongue
Since the cough reflex is regulated by your peripheral nervous system, scientists conclude that vitamin B12 deficiency as a cause for chronic cough may be a sign of peripheral neuropathy.
The findings for this report were presented at the World Allergy Organization XXI World Allergy Congress.
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