VITAMIN B12: WHAT IS IT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

September 18, 2015

Vitamin B12 is one of our super vitamins that has a lot of important roles in our body. 

Parietal cells in the stomach secrete intrinsic factor which is then used to absorb B12 from our food.  

 

Vitamin B12 is then used in many areas of our bodies, including a key role in how our brains work, production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, circadian rhythms (sleep quality), and detoxification. 

What are the symptoms of Low B12?:

  • neurological disorders (neuritis, sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, numbness)

  • poor mental functioning: poor memory, anxiety, depression, paranoia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, FATIGUE

  • hyper pigmentation of the skin

  • orthostatic hypotension (get lightheaded when you slowly stand up from laying down?)


The most common symptom that tips me off to low B12 status is fatigue. When people come in and they are tired of being tired, I always look into B12 levels. 

Low B12 causes:

  • Low stomach acid (proton-pump inhibitor, anyone?)

  • Chronic stress as this damages parietal cells, and therefore you can't absorb B12 well

  • Medications: oral contraceptive pills, proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers, long term aspirin use, long term colchicine use, metformin use

  • Vegetarians and vegans, as they have poor sources of B12 in their diets

  • Congenital absorption defect


How can you boost B12?

  • Increase sources of B12 from your diet. The best sources of B12 come from animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs - the highest being red and organ meats like liver. 

  • Supplementation: for those under chronic stress, on certain medications, or with genetic changes there is the possibility that they have a decreased ability to absorb B12 from the diet. Oral supplementation or intramuscular injections are a great way to boost B12 without needing the parietal cells. Particularly injections, as these bypass the whole digestive tract and goes right into your system and is ready to be used. The best form of B12 is called “Methylcobalamin” as this is the form naturally found in our bodies and is the most active. 


Who can benefit from B12 supplementation? 
This is a long list, and by no means is it extensive! It has such broad applications because it's used in so many different processes. It's such a simple way to get lots of people to start feeling better. 

  • Nerve damage

  • Chronic Stress

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Anyone taking proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers

  • Anyone taking birth control pills (though all B vitamins should be used during this therapy)

  • Autism and ASD

  • Fertility and Pregnancy

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Long term psyllium usage

  • H. Pylori infection

  • Long term aspirin use


Do you know anyone who has taken B12 and had success with it? Curious about whether it's applicable to your health? Comment below or call in for a free 15 minute consult!

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