Vitamin B12 its arguably one of the most important micronutrients and is related with our physical and psychological health. Long term deficiency of vitamin B12 is crucial because it can cause irreversible damages and can be a threat to our health. Vegans should get enough of this vitamin through food supplements, but don’t rest assured if you are following a carnivore diet though because you can show a deficiency in vitamin B12 too.
Vitamin B12 plays a decisive role in our metabolism, in the composition of our DNA and red blood vessels production, in the proper function of the central nervous system as well as other functions in our body. It cannot be composed in our body, so it can solely consumed by food or by food supplements if it’s necessary.
Sources of B12
Main sources of vitamin B12 can be: meat, animal products (eggs, milk, yogurt) and seafood.
In smaller quantities vitamin B12 can be found: in tempeh and in some species of algae (nori seaweed), in fortified foods (such as: nutritional yeast, soy and products of soy (soy milk or soy yogurts) and in some cereals.
Attention! Spirulina contains pseudovitamin B12 which is not absorbed from human organism. So, it’s not a viable source of B12.
Benefits of B12
Prevention of Anemia:
B12 is one of the most important vitamins on the process of our body to compose red blood vessels. Adequate amounts of B12 seems to help in anemia.
Another benefit of its adequacy in the body is during the pregnancy, as lack of this vitamin during that time can increase the danger of poor fetal development (brain and neural system) as well as complications during pregnancy.
Homocysteine is an amino acid which increases the danger of cardiovascular diseases. Adequate quantities of B12 vitamin, seems through studies, that helps lower the amount of homocysteine in blood and as a result the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
One of the most common symptoms of the lack of vitamin B12 in our body is fatigue and reduced energy. Thus, B12 administration in people with serious lack of energy probably influence its levels.
B12 seems to have beneficial effect in our brain as it protects the neurons of the brain. In a study where it was held to people with early stages of dementia seemed that B12 combined with Omega 3 fatty acids slowed down mental decline.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease, which affects vision. Homocysteine in addition to its action on the cardiovascular system, affects vision too.
Prevention of osteoporosis:
Many studies have correlate high levels of homocysteine in blood and therefore low levels of vitamin B12 with osteoporosis.
For sure more studies and research must be conduct for vitamin’s B12 beneficial effects in our health as a supplement.
- people with chronic diseases and medications
- people older than 65 years of age
Symptoms due to lack of vitamin B12:
Lack of appetite, fatigue, memory problems, pain in your tongue and numbness are some of the most common symptoms. Extreme deficiency can cause anemia, neurological problems and dementia.
Did you know:
- B12 is not produced by animals, but from certain microorganisms that can be found on the ground. Use of antibiotics in farm animals is quite increased, a fact that makes production of B12 in animals almost impossible. Its consumption by animals is achieved by the form of supplements (poor quality mainly).
- Pasteurization and evaporation procedures in milk are destroying this vitamin
Types of B12:
There are 4 types of vitamin B12: cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
- cyanocobalamin: is a more stable type. Our body discards cyan and cobalamin is converted in our body in methylocobalamin (which get absorbed).
- methylocobalamin: is more suitable for smokers and people in medication as well as others with renal failure or bowel problems.
Types of supplements:
Sublingual tablets, spay as well as drops can be used in order to cover our daily needs in that vitamin.
The recommended daily intake or AI (Adequate intake) for most of the people is 2.4 μg (mcg) per day, while 2.6 μg (mcg) per day are for women during pregnancy and 2.8 μg (mcg) per day for breastfeeding woman.
Ways of B12 intake:
Food: 2 – 3,5 μg (2 meals / day of fortified foods with a 2 hour difference in-between meals for better absorption)
Supplements: 25-100 μg daily
1000 μg 2 times /week
1. B12 is one of the most important vitamins, because it’s related with our neural system and its inadequacy can cause anemia or other neurological problems as well as fetal complications (in case of mother’s inadequacy).
2. Both vegan and omnivore diet can show lack of this vitamin. So, it’s good to check the levels of B12 with blood tests.
3.Combination of fortified foods with this vitamin and food supplements seems to help especially vegans.