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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder


A form of Vitamin B12, it offers some hope of treating my sleep disorder.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

April 24, 2007

Copyright © 2006 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

Over the last few days there was some discussion of Methylcobalamin on the Niteowl mailing list. There have been some studies that suggest that it may be effective in treating Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which I think I may have.

It's a form of vitamin B12. It's most commonly consumed as Cyanocobalamin and converted to the Methyl form by the liver. It's the Methyl form that is the essential nutrient.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 can wreak all kinds of havoc, the worst being pernicious anemia.

I decided to give it a try - after sleeping through the weekend I was ready to try anything. I couldn't find it listed on London Drugs' website, where I get my medicines, so I did some Google searches. Searching for "Vancouver pharmacy" turned up all kinds of spammy links aimed at selling low-cost drugs to Americans.

But I figured that there would be a place to get it at the Metropolis at Metrotown, a huge mall a couple Skytrain stations down from where I live. A shop called Your Vitamin Store seemed like it might have it. I eagerly called them on my cell phone.

"Yes, we have Methylcobalamin," the man said. "Not the Cyanocobalamin - they Methyl kind." "Yes, Methyl".

The studies generally found that Cyanocobalamin was ineffective for sleep disorders - there had been some studies comparing the two different kinds. Just now I read that only one percent of the Cyano kind is converted to the active Methyl kind.

I got a bottle of 1 mg tablets (listed as 1000 mcg, I imagine so it sounds like you're getting more). The recommended dose is 3 mg.

I put the bottle on my nightstand, and when my alarm rang I popped three tablets in my mouth. And went back to sleep.

I wrestled with the alarm clock all morning, and didn't get out of bed until noon. So much for that idea.

Some Google searching just now turned up that it takes a month for it to take effect, so I'll keep taking it for a month to see what happens.

Oh, yeah, I have a referral to the Sleep Clinic at the UBC, but the doctor there told my shrink that the best they can do for DSPS is to have one get up fifteen minutes earlier each day until one is on a daytime schedule. I've tried that so many times, and it never lasts very long.

The sleep doctor I saw in Maine didn't seem to know anything about circadian rhythm disorders.

A couple people posted a bunch of medical journal abstracts on the Niteowl list. Early studies with small numbers of patients seemed very hopeful, but much larger double-blind studies produced negative results, so I'm not that hopeful.

However, I think Methylcobalamin's effectiveness would depend on just why one has a sleep disorder; if it's not because of a nutrient deficiency, it wouldn't be likely to help.

Sometime soon I'll go to the library at the UBC to look up the full journal articles.

I'll keep taking the stuff for at least a month; it's not expensive and I understand it's not toxic in large doses as some vitamins can be.

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