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Supplementation of Vitamin B 12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body. It is an essential nutrient that keeps the body functioning properly.

Vitamin B-12 plays a vital role in the production of blood cells. Many of the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency arise because it causes a lack of healthy red blood cell(anaemia) which means that the body does not get enough oxygen. The body's oxygen supply is crucial for many aspects of health.

The human body does not create vitamin B-12, so people must get this nutrient from their diet and it is important to consume foods that contain it on a regular basis. Inn most healthy adults the human liver stores several years' worth of vitamin B-12.

Even if a person gets enough vitamin B-12 in their diet, some underlying health conditions can affect the absorption of vitamin B-12 in the gut and lead to a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

The most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in developed countries is impaired absorption due to a loss of gastric intrinsic factor, which must be bound to food-source B12 in order for absorption to occur.

The following factors make a person more likely to have a vitamin B-12 deficiency:

  • Alcohol abuse

  • Smoking

  • Certain medications, including antacids

  • Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet

  • Certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn's disease& Celiac disease

  • People with gastrointestinal issues where the gastrointestinal tract that does not function normally may inhibit vitamin B-12 release or absorption.

  • Weight loss surgery or other stomach surgery/gastric bypass or the removal of parts of the stomach, which can affect how the digestive system absorbs vitamin B-12

  • Aging- because a person becomes less able to absorb B-12 as they age. They can be affected by conditions that are linked to a decrease in stomach acid production, including inflammation in the stomach (atrophic gastritis).

  • Person having an endocrine-related autoimmune disorder, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder.

  • Both diabetes and some medications for type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

  • These can decrease the production of acidand occasionally the digestive system can become overpopulated with bacteria that actually consume B12, which essentially steal B12 before it can be absorbed by the body. That condition is known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

  • Vitamin C and potassium can also damage the structure of Vitamin B12, so taking large doses of Vitamin C along with a source of B12 can conceivably prevent its absorption which happens we consume multivitamin tablets.

  • Irradiation of fruits and vegetables

  • Pesticides used in farming

  • Chlorine or other forms of sanitizing drinking water

  • Washing fruits and vegetables too well

  • Preservatives used in packaged food

  • Modern day toothpastes with Triclosan which destroy oral bacteria

  • Use of the microwave

The health benefits of the vitamin include:

  • The formation and division of red blood cells

  • Protecting the nervous system

  • Synthesizing a person's DNA

  • Providing the body with energy

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of B-12 depends on a person's age:

  • Adults and teenagers: 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day

  • Children between 9 and 13 years old: 1.8 mcg per day

  • Children between 4 and 8 years old: 1.2 mcg per day

  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old: 0.9 mcg per day

  • Infants between 7 and 12 months old require 0.5 mcg of B-12 per day

  • Babies less than 6 months old only need 0.4 mcg per day

  • Pregnant women require 2.6 mcg, while breast-feeding women need 2.8 mcg per day

A vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to both physical and psychological problems and impact a person's mental health.

As vitamin B-12 deficiency shares many symptoms with other nutritional deficiencies and health conditions, it is possible that people may neither notice it nor get a diagnosis.

Common symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency include

  • Nerve damage

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Tingling in the hands and feet

  • Numbness

  • Blurred vision

  • Fever

  • Sweating

  • Difficulty walking

  • Problems with the digestive system

  • A sore tongue or mouth ulcers,swollen tongue, which may be pale yellow or very red

  • Breathlessness

  • Feeling faint or dizzy

  • Depression

  • Mood swings

  • Pale skin

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears)

  • Decreased cognitive function, such as issues with memory, judgement or understanding

  • Lethargy

  • Constipation

  • Irritability

  • Headache

  • Difficulty maintaining balance

  • Heart palpitations

  • Vision changes

Treatment and prevention:

B12 is thought to be easier to absorb from whole foods than it is from pills or powders, so it is probably best to get B12 from whole foods whenever possible. It is assumed that about 50% of the B12 in food is absorbed by the body, whereas it has been shown that only about 1% of the B12 in high-dose supplement form is absorbed.

People can take B-12 supplements in the form of oral tablets, sublingual tablets that dissolve under the tongue, or injections.

People who have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12 may need shots of the vitamin to treat their deficiency.Vitamin B-12 shots, rather than oral supplements, may be particularly helpful for people who have gastrointestinal issues because injections tend to bypass these areas.

The amounts in vegan foods may be small, but remember, the body only needs a very small amount and is quite good at storing it for many years. So a few servings a day of B12 rich foods easily provide you with more than 100% of the RDA for B12.

Serum B12 - The normal range is 200 to 900 pg/ml.

It has been shown that plants such as spinach, barley and certain types of radish can absorb B12 from the soil in which they are grown. All root vegetables are good. Best to not over wash them and eat them with their skin.Important to buy organic produce.

Fermented soybeans and soy-based products, such as soybean milk, are the primary source of vitamin B12 coming from plant sources. Soy dishes include tempeh, tamari, tofu, miso and shoyu. Shiitake mushrooms also provide vitamin B12. The amount of vitamin B12 in these foods depends on factors that include bacterium present during fermentation, the region where the plants grow and the richness of microorganisms in the soil.

B12 is produced by bacteria, not animals, and those bacteria can be found in many fermented food. Certain strains of the lactic acid bacteria used during the fermentation process, but not all strains, can produce certain B vitamins, including vitamin B-12.

Fermented Foods to Eat: Water Kefir, Plant- based yogurt, tempeh, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut are all examples of foods made with the lactic acid bacteria that can produce vitamin B-12 if made on your own using traditional methods and not packaged ones with preservatives and excess salt.

Some foods that can be fortified with vitamin B-12 include: fortified non-dairy milk, meat substitutes, breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast vegan spreads, such as Marmite.

It is essential to read the labels on all of these foods, as some may not be fortified with vitamin B-12.

Other Foods Sources are all animal sources and today the quality and the toxins coming in through them are questionable. seafood - particularly clams, trout, salmon and tuna, beef, milk, yogurt and cheese.

'The most ethical diet so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest - Micheal Mc. Gregor M.D.'