B12, stomach acid, glutathione and lithium

I see B12 at the core of our other B vitamins. Once I addressed B12 with stomach acid, glutathione and lithium like I explain below, I was able to finally feel like I was able to replenish the other B’s as well. Before fixing my B12, I strongly disliked how Flushing Niacin made me feel, but now I enjoy it. I do not need to take a B-complex nearly as often in order to feel benefits now.

This graphic is not the complete story of how I use B vitamins, but it is an attempt to help others see how it may work for some of us.

I like to provide my body with tiny amounts of as many nutrients as I can while I finish learning about each. Then as I understand how my body is responding, I start playing with higher doses of each while pausing and being very careful.

Not only is the information a bit scattered for this topic, it’s also rather complex. I caught onto most of this from personal experience along my healing journey and eventually backed up bits and pieces of it with science or mentions from various doctors.

This page needs a little work still, but it will have to do for now.

Long story short, proper stomach acid allows us to absorb our B12, glutathione protects B12 so it’s not otherwise destroyed 1, and lithium helps signal B12 for activation. Glutathione also helps ‘clean’ the MTR gene which is easily oxidized degrading its ability.

There is a bit more to this, but understanding this may allow us to get more B12 working, which may have a substantial impact on our ability to balance other pieces of this puzzle, as well as a lot of other pieces of methylation/metabolism.

I cover common B12 deficiency symptoms here https://sickoftired.com/birth-control

If someone has low B12, they most likely have low stomach acid(high stomach acid is rarely the cause of stomach acid-related issues), or their diet is void of B12. 2 Read more about stomach acid here sickoftired.com/stomach-acid

Approximately 3 mg of cobalamins is secreted into bile each day with 50-60% not destined for reabsorption, which is why gastric bypass or digestive disease can cause low b12. 3

If someone has elevated B12 but is experiencing symptoms of B12 deficiency, they most likely have an issue protecting and activating B12 due to not enough active glutathione.

Another cause of poor B12 activation is consuming Folic Acid either from supplements, energy drinks, or ‘enriched’ wheat flour. More info about the issue with folic acid here sickoftired.com/folate

Stomach acid and B12 absorption

Hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. Once separated, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body.

Some people have pernicious anemia, a condition in which they cannot make intrinsic factor. As a result, they have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements. 4

The Lithium and Vitamin B12 Connection

B12 and folate transport is enhanced by lithium. We need lithium in the body to transport B12 and folate into cells. 5 Wherever B12 and folate are needed, so is lithium.

A person may be taking B12 supplements and/or injections, and their B12 level in their bloodstream may seem to be normal or even too high, but Vitamin B12 may not actually function because lithium level is too low.

What’s GABA got to do with this?

Sorry about the slightly confusing GABA/Glutamate stuff below but I want to highlight how important GABA function is. Without GABA, we can’t slow down neuronal activity. Overthinking, insomnia, tension, anxiety, that kinda stuff.

GABA is released from inhibitory presynaptic neurons into the synapse where it then acts upon the GABA receptors on the postsynaptic neuron to inhibit neuronal activity. This means GABA is calming.

Glutamate is released from excitatory presynaptic neurons into the synapse where it then acts upon the NMDA receptors on the postsynaptic neuron to increase neuronal activity.

*… an inhibitory neurotransmitter
*… modulates or helps to balance the stimulating effects of both dopamine and glutamate neurotransmission
*… patients with Bipolar Disorder generally have reduced GABAergic receptor neurotransmission. Which can sometimes benefit by supplementing lithium as Lithium Orotate 2.5 -5 mg a day. Be aware that high lithium levels can inhibit some other enzymes.

The image below contains a blue circle in the center that says “Li+”. That is a lithium-ion allowing GABA to function.

Plastic contributes to the destruction of B12

This is slightly off topic to this page, but I want to show how easy it might be for b12 to be under attack.

Styrene is a chemical used to make latex, synthetic rubber, and polystyrene resins. These resins are used to make plastic packaging, disposable cups and containers, insulation, and other products. A lot of new televisions have a warning for styrene on the side of the box. Mmm 70 inches of high definition b12 destruction off-gassing into the living room.

Styrene is also produced naturally in some plants. Styrene oxide is reactive toward cob(I)alamin, glutathione inhibits the reduction of hydroxocob(III)alamin by formation of the 1:1 complex glutathionylcobalamin. 6

Cyanocobalamin and other similar derivatives of vitamin B12 are able to catalyze reductive dechlorination reactions. Compounds dechlorinated in this way include PCBs, hexachlorobenzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, dichloromethane, and chlorinated ethanes. 7

Testing B12 and related levels

Testing B12 is not always straightforward. Our levels can look high or low, but that could be due to other situations, not our B12 level itself. If we are not methylating(metabolizing) well, we might see elevated B12 levels but only due to there not being many cells available to use B12.

This is where we get into testing MethylMalonic Acid https://www.ultawellness.com/test/methylmalonic-acid-gc-ms-ms-urine-mma?ac=6765VDM and homocysteine levels https://www.ultawellness.com/test/homocysteine?ac=6765VDM to gain a better idea if the system is actually spinning and low on B12 or just doesn’t have a use for it because nothing is spinning.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Serum Levels – https://www.ultawellness.com/shop/items/item/vitamin-b12-cobalamin?ac=6765VDM

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum Levels – https://www.ultawellness.com/shop/items/item/vitamin-b12-cobalamin-and-folate-panel-serum?ac=6765VDM

Vitamin B12 Binding Capacity, Unsaturated – https://www.ultawellness.com/shop/items/item/vitamin-b12-binding-capacity-unsaturated?ac=6765VDM

Lithium Serum Levels – https://www.ultawellness.com/shop/items/item/lithium?ac=6765VDM

Lithium RBC – https://www.ultawellness.com/shop/items/item/lithium-rbc?ac=6765VDM

Buy B12 and Lithium Orotate

Seeking Health’s non-methylated B-complex

Seeking Health’s Lithium Orotate

Seeking Health’s Liposomal Glutathione

I started with Seeking Health’s Liposomal Glutathione with cofactors to make sure I was able to get glutathione past any broken receptors for a better chance of all my cells having access to glutathione. As our cells are overwhelmed and wear out, liposomal glutathione may help pull b12 into broken cells and give the cell a chance at running again.

After getting some liposomal, I use a non-liposomal form with cofactors. But I don’t take glutathione often unless I have symptoms it might help. I take a capsule of this once a week or so.

I buy the liposomal form once or twice a year if I have the cash. Although it does last a plenty longer, it’s recommended to use it within 3 months of opening, so I end up using more to keep it from getting old.

Then I take the B-complex and lithium about once a week depending on how I feel. If it causes me to feel more energy, I keep up on it a little more. If I don’t feel anything from it, I slow down on at least the lithium and possibly the B-complex now that I have most likely restored my levels pretty well.

I do this with all nutrients, I follow the concept of Pulse Dosing, which I’ve written about here https://whyiodine.com/pulse-dosing

Bookmark my page sickoftired.com/save where you can use a monthly 10% coupon for Seeking Health


  1. A Human Vitamin B12 Trafficking Protein Uses Glutathione Transferase Activity for Processing Alkylcobalamins – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785186/
  2. Reactions involving Vit B12 – https://flipper.diff.org/app/pathways/info/260
  3. https://www.pharmacologicalsciences.us/blood-pressure/ch3.html
  4. What is vitamin B12 and what does it do? – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-%20%20Consumer/
  5. Vitamin B12 and folate levels and lithium administration in patients with affective disorders –https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9951569/
  6. A new role for glutathione: protection of vitamin B12 from depletion by xenobiotics – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15606130/
  7. Recalcitrant organic compounds – ScienceDirect – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124701007500352