Vitamin B12 is a unique vitamin in that it is produced by bacteria! B12 is actually called cobalamin and is essential for healthy cells to thrive and divide. There are four (4) forms of B12; cynocabalomin, hydroxocobalamin, meythlcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. The B12 most often used in supplement form are methylcobalamin hydroxocobalamin and cynocabalmin. Cynocabalmin is the hardest B12 to absorb and is a cheaper form of B12. Because it is cheaper it is the form most often used in supplements. Methylcobalamin and hydroxocobalmin are the most easily absorbed forms of B12.
Vitamin B12 is critical for brain health, nerve health, the healthy formation of red blood cells, DNA, bone marrow and to make energy from carbohydrates and fats. Our body can store many months of B12 in our liver and we only need a small amount of B12 for bodily functions however certain medications can deplete our bodies stores.
These are types of medications that can interfere with the body’s absorption or use of vitamin B12:
- Proton pump inhibitors that are used to treat acid reflux and peptic ulcer disease.
- Antibiotics used to treat infections.
- Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid®), and ranitidine (Zantac®), that are used to treat peptic ulcer disease.
- Metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes.
B12 Deficiency Symptoms and Who is at Risk?
Although in today’s world it is rare to have a B12 deficiency it still happens. Those at highest risk are the elderly, those with digestive disorders like low stomach acid, Celiac and Crohns disease, alcoholics, and people that have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. In infants, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, problems with movement, delays in reaching the typical developmental milestones, and megaloblastic anemia.
Large amounts of folic acid can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting megaloblastic anemia, a hallmark of vitamin B12 deficiency. But folic acid does not correct the progressive damage to the nervous system that vitamin B12 deficiency also causes. For this reason, healthy adults should not get more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid a day.
How is B12 Used In Our Body?
- It is needed to convert carbohydrates into glucose in the body, thus leading to energy production and a decrease in fatigue and lethargy in the body.
- It helps in healthy regulation of the nervous system, reducing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage.
- It helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Vitamin B12 also protects against heart disease by curbing and improving unhealthy cholesterol levels, protecting against stroke, and high blood pressure.
- It is essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps in cell reproduction and constant renewal of the skin.
B12 and our methylation processes
Methylation is a key biochemical process that is essential for the proper function of almost all of your body’s systems. It occurs billions of times every second; it helps repair your DNA; it controls homocysteine (an unhealthy compound that can damage blood vessels); it helps recycle molecules needed for detoxification; and it helps keep inflammation in check. Vitamins B6, B12, folate, and betaine are very important to keep our methylation process functioning optimally.
Homocysteine is a protein formed during methylation in our bodies. Without adequate B12. B6 and Folate, homocysteine levels can increase. These B vitamins turn homocystiene into very powerful cellular protectors called Sam-e (S-Adenosyl methionine) and glutathione (GSH). Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant of the body and protects each cell. As you can see, higher homocysteine means lower Sam-e and lower glutathione. Higher levels of homocysteine are associated with a higher risk of heart disease and cancers.
Can Vitamin B12 be Harmful?
Vitamin B12 has not been shown to cause any harm.
Best Food Sources of B12
- Algae (very rich source)
- Grass fed beef
If you are eating a primarily vegetative diet it is important to supplement with B12. Make sure you get high quality B12 in the most absorbable forms. Most high quality B12 supplements also include B6 and Folate as part of the supplement ingredients because they work so closely together.
Vive!™ is loaded with B12 as methylcobalamin the active form in your body and is the easiest to absorb. Vive!™ contains 1667% of your daily B12 requirement in each serving!
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.
- High Levels of Homocysteine May be Associated with Increased Cognitive Decline According to Recent Study (prweb.com)
- Kids of mums who lack Vit B12 at risk of diabetes: KEM study (mynutritionalneeds.wordpress.com)
- Everything you need to know about B12 deficiency (sott.net)