Along with my folate supplement I have been looking into B12 and finding out what this vitamin does for us. Turns out it is rather vital to our everyday function.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin needed for
maintaining the nervous system and
forming red blood cells.
The half life of B12 is 6 days but it can hang around in the liver for up to 400 days. Excess B12 is excreted in urine. Many people show a B12 deficiency. Vegetarians cannot get B12 from their food unless it is fortified in cereals or soy products. Supplements are the other choice unless you eat meat, fish or dairy.
Foods with high levels of B12:
Shellfish: Clams, Oysters, Mussels
Liver: Beef, Chicken (pate)
Fish: Mackerel, Smoked Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Tinned Sardines
Crustaceans: Crab, Shrimp, Lobster
Fortified* Soy Products: Tofu, Soy milk
Red Meat: Beef, Lamb
Cheese: Swiss, etc…
Eggs: Chicken, Goose, Duck
Dairy: Nonfat yoghurt, Skim milk
*Fortified with B12
Low levels of B12 can cause:
Loss of balance
Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
Diarrhea or constipation
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Stomach upset and weight loss
Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums
How to check your B12 level?
The vitamin B12 level(serum levels) is a blood test that measures how much vitamin B12 is in your blood.
Normal values are 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL)in the US. Yet in Japan and Europe 500 – 550 pg/mL is considered a low B12 level. In Australia 150–221 picomoles per litre (pmol/L) or (200–300 pg/mL) is considered low.
Nicotine and alcohol don’t help absorption of B12 into the body. Excessive Vitamin C intake, Antacid tablets, insulin enhancers for Type 2 diabetics, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), antidepressants, anti-hypertension drugs also zap B12 levels. Think you may be showing signs of being Vitamin B12 deficiency? To read more visit b12d.org
How much B12 do I need?
“Recommended dietary amounts (RDAs) are 2.4 micrograms daily for ages 14 years and older, 2.6 micrograms daily for pregnant females, and 2.8 micrograms daily for breastfeeding females. Those over 50 years of age should meet the RDA by eating foods reinforced with B12 or by taking a vitamin B12 supplement. Supplementation of 25-100 micrograms daily has been used to maintain vitamin B12 levels in older people.” (Mayo Clinic)
Cobalamin or Vitamin B12 come in these forms: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.
For B12 supplements Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 or Sublingual(under the tongue) Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 are suitable for vegetarians and are Kosher. I prefer to steer clear of the Cyanocobalamin form of B12 to avoid the chance of cyanide poisoning. Check your labels.
B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious consequences by Chris Kresser LAc, a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner.
For article READ MORE
BBC Documentary about B12 and Dr Joseph Chandy
(aired 2006) (length: 9min45sec)
Note: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for information purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Aretha Franklin – Think