Vitamin B12

An Important Part of the Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) is a critical component needed for maintaining optimal health.

B12 is responsible for brain and nervous system functions. It is also needed to help in the formation of red blood cells. But the place where you probably notice it missing from your diet would be in your daily energy level.

The B vitamins (known as B complex) are all very important for your body's metabolism and energy. Vitamin B12 Is specifically involved in the metabolism process that takes place in each and every cell; it is especially important for DNA synthesis and regulation as well as the generation of fatty acid and energy production.

How does my body get Vitamin B12?

B12 is water soluble so if it is not tied up with proteins in food it will start to get absorbed right away in your mouth. The stomach will then up break any bonds that have the vitamin attached to proteins so it can finish being absorbed in your small intestine.

Be careful if you use antacid or other heartburn medications that can reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. This can keep the food from being completely digested and not allow the B12 vitamin to get released and absorbed completely.

This could lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Getting enough vitamin B12 is important because at levels even slightly below normal you might experience symptoms such as fatigue, depression, lack of energy and even poor memory.

Folic acid (vitamin B9) can do much of the same work as B12 so if you have enough folic acid it can make up for slight deficiencies.

Where do I get B12 from?

There are many foods that contain the B vitamins and vitamin B12 specifically. Meats are usually one of the best sources with shellfish and other fish like salmon topping the list.

Vegetarians and especially Vegans will sometimes have a higher rate of B12 deficiency because of the fact that it is meat that has the highest concentrations.

However, there are plenty of foods for both of these groups to choose from that will allow them to get the B12 required.

For Vegetarians, foods like milk, eggs and other dairy products have decent amounts of the vitamin.

Vegans on the other hand are going to have a more difficult time getting B12. Vegans are very susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency. The vitamin is only naturally found from animal sources so Vegan's will need to supplement their diet in order to get what they need.

There are food products that are adding B vitamins into the food to help with this. I would caution you to look at what else is in those products and if the B vitamin is a synthetic version. Things like the vitamin drinks add so much sugar or toxic artificial sweeteners that you are doing as much harm as good when you drink them.

For anyone looking to take a B12 supplement it is important to note that the B vitamins work together and should be taken as a complex form. Taking any one of the B vitamins individually can result in an imbalance within your body.

Who needs it?

Most people who eat a well balanced diet every day get all the B12 they need. The elderly and those that consume excessive alcohol or smoke may be at risk for deficiency due to their diet and how their organs function.

The key words from the previous paragraph are well balanced diet every day. With the reduction in food quality at the local grocery stores and the large amount of processing done on our food supply, even if you are eating what you think is balanced it may be lacking in one or a bunch of the nutrients you need every day.

Even the medical establishment is now recommending that most people include at least the addition of a multivitamin on a daily basis.

So in my way of thinking, it is better to be safe than sorry. I supplement my diet everyday and one of those supplements is a timed release B vitamin. My personal experience has shown me that I have more energy and less "sickness' than most people my age or even younger. I also have 6 kids 12 years old and younger so my days are always FULL!

Personally, I think pretty much everyone would feel better and be healthier if they added supplements to their diet as well. But it really comes to what you think and your choices. I urge you to do your research and you will see that the right company and the right vitamins and supplements can benefit your life too!

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Michael Tomberlin


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