All You Need to Know about Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which is a part of the vitamin B family. Vitamin B12 is also known as cyanocobalamin. The Vitamins from the vitamin B family help support the adrenalin function, they also maintain a healthy nervous system, they are necessary for the proper functioning of the metabolic process and play a vital role in the DNA synthesis.

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient; it plays an important role in the development and maintenance of the red blood cells, nerve cells and normal myelination (covering) of nerve cells. It helps in the production of RNA, DNA neurotransmitters.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness, heart palpitations, bleeding gums, mouth sores, poor appetite, and diarrhea. Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to pernicious anemia, which could further result in memory loss, confusion, and even dementia.

Vitamin B12 is generally derived from animal sources, and hence vegetarian diets are deficient in this vitamin. Deficiencies tend to develop especially in vegan children, who consume no source of the animal product. Elderly individuals, those who are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract, pregnant women, people who suffer from hemorrhage or intestinal disorders are all at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.

Daily Requirements

  • People who are 14 years and older require 2.4mcg.
  • Adult and adolescent pregnant females require 2.6mcg
  • Adult and adolescent lactating females require 2.8mcg

Individuals who are above 50years should consume vitamin B12 fortified food or take vitamin B12 supplements.

Vegans and vegetarians are all recommended to include vitamin B12 supplements. Even meat eaters would need to take vitamin B12 supplements, if they aren’t absorbing nutrients from their food properly or have other health issues, which are affecting their body, and in turn interfering with the vitamin absorption.

Vitamin supplements can be helpful
Different bodies absorb vitamins and minerals, from food and supplements, at different efficiency rates. Factors such as food pairings, genetics, malabsorption, digestive health can affect how our bodies break down food nutrients. The same is the case with supplements.

There are 5 things to look for while purchasing vitamin B12 supplement:

Buy a supplement, and not a fortified processed food
Fortified food often claims that they contain a good amount of vitamin B12 on the label, but such might not be the case in reality. Consuming vitamin B12 through fortified nondairy milk or through a box of cereal may seem safe and some may even prove effective, however, this isn’t the smartest option that is available for optimal reliance. These are synthetic food sources and may contain added sugars, oils, food additives. This, in turn, may hinder the absorption process of the vitamin B12 nutrient. This vitamin comes from living bacteria species present in the soil; hence it is always better to go for a high-quality supplement rather than a fortified /processed option.

Check that it is vegan
Vitamin B12 should not be taken from any animal source. Taking supplements from the animal source isn’t a good option, and hence one should read the label carefully and make sure it is vegan. Most vegan brands are non-GMO, and some may even be organic and allergen free.

Buy methylcobalamin forms
There are two types of supplements present in the market, methylcobalamin, and cyanocobalamin. This is because; methyl vitaminB12 is easily absorbed by the body than the other form. The methylcobalamin form also stays in the body for a longer period and hence, you may not have to take it often. If you find a whole food based in vegan form, also make sure that it has significant amounts of vitamin B12 in methyl form.

Choose a sublingual, sprays or liquids
Vitamin B12 supplements taken in the form of sublingual, sprays or liquid forms mean that the vitamin doesn’t need to be digested before being used. Taking supplements in the tablet form would mean that, the vitamin would have to go through the digestion process. Sublingual supplements are just like tablets; the only difference is that they melt under the tongue that is when they enter the bloodstream. The same goes for sprays and liquids. This ensures that they can be put to use quickly, rather than going through the digestive process. You should select sublingual or liquid forms of vitamin B12 that do not add sugars, food colorings, or other harmful flavoring agents.

Choose the right dosage for you
There are different dosage varieties when it comes to vitamin B12 or its supplements. The ranges of 500 mcg to 500mcg are safely sold over the counter. Higher doses are given in the form of shots or injections (only given on the physician`s approval).

If you are a vegan, there is no need to take a high dose, out of fear, just because you aren’t consuming animal products. Taking a higher dose isn’t always a great idea, especially, in case of supplements. If you are taking vitamin B12 and still suffering from extreme fatigue, anemia, nervous health disorders, and then you may take a higher dosage of supplements after consulting the doctor. Notice the difference resulting from a higher dose. You could start out with 1000mcg and then gradually go to 2000mcg and then 5000mcg if needed.

Vitamin B12 supplements are very safe. They are quite affordable and easy to find. You should choose a good brand of supplements, and this would eventually add to your overall good health.

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