Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin; this means the body does not store it. B12 is an essential vitamin, and like other B vitamins, helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose energy and metabolize fats and protein. B12 binds to intrinsic factor made by parietal cells of the stomach and is absorbed in the small intestine.
Our body requires the B complex of vitamins, as they contribute to healthy skin, eyes, hair, and liver. They also help the brain function normally and promote healthy nerve conduction. B12 is critical to help form DNA/RNA, works with folate to form red blood cells and utilize iron in the body, and contributes to immune activity and mood. B12 assists with the regulation of homocysteine levels.
Reasons to Take Vitamin B12
• Suspected deficiency, as evidenced by lab value, fatigue, weakness, diarrhea, nervousness, numbness and tingling in the extremities, shortness of breath, loss of balance, confusion, memory loss, and, if severe, nerve damage.
• Vegan diet
• History of chronic ulcer disease
• Pernicious anemia
• Post stomach surgery/illness/bariatrics with loss of intrinsic factor
• To reduce elevated homocysteine levels
• To decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
0-6 months: 0.4mcg (adequate intake)
6 months-1 year: 0.5mcg (adequate intake)
Children (all RDA):
1-3 years: 0.9mcg
4-8 years: 1.2mcg
9-13 years: 1.8mcg
14-18 years: 2.4mcg
Adult (all RDA):
19 years and older: 2.4mcg
Breast Feeding: 2.8mcg
What If I Take Too Much?
B12 is thought to be safe in recommended doses and is nontoxic.
B12 has many interactions with medications, and many reduce B12 levels (i.e. anti-seizure medication, some cholesterol medications, antacid medications, chemotherapy agents, etc.). Due to the long list of interactions, you should talk to your doctor before using B12 supplements.
Long-term supplementation will cause the other B vitamins to be imbalanced. All B vitamins should be supplemented if one is supplemented. The best way to do so is with a B complex vitamin or multivitamin daily.
Who Is at Risk for Deficiency?
The causes of deficiency are due to stomach issues, lack of intrinsic factor, etc.
B12 deficiency happens in people with:
• A vegan diet without any animal products
• A vegetarian diet with little eggs or dairy
• Partial or complete stomach removal, or classic pernicious anemia, with lack of intrinsic factor and inability to absorb B12
• Atrophic gastritis or thinning of the stomach lining
• Diseases of small intestine
• Chronic exposure to antacids, which cause less breakdown of animal protein
• Advanced age
Natural Food Sources of B12
B12 is only found in animal derived food sources and is plentiful in:
• Organ Meats (liver and kidney)
B12 is plentiful in a general diet; any needed supplement should be taken with water after eating.
Best Ways to Take This Supplement
B12 is found in B complex vitamins, multivitamins, and in separate supplements alone. It comes in tablets, soft gels, intranasal forms, and sublingual dissolving lozenges. B12 used to be given by injection on a monthly basis, however sublingual and intranasal forms are leaving injections by the wayside.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your medical provider. Filtur is happy to help with any of your supplement needs.Filtur is the UKs leading price comparison website for health foods, sports supplements and vitamins.