Importance of B12 for Energy and Health
B12 is one of many important and vital nutrients used by the body to
foster optimal health. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin which encourages peak
function of blood cells while also maintaining the health of the
vitamin also has another function central to human life: it is one of
the necessary materials for the construction of DNA molecules, which
store all of the data which contribute to human development. This
nutrient also helps keep the body energized and strong, and Vitamin
B12 Deficiency can lead to a condition known as Megaloblastic Anemia.
Does the Body Absorb B12?
B12 is drawn directly from the food that we eat. It is absorbed
through a relatively simple process. The first step takes place
within the stomach. The stomach contains powerful hydrochloric acid
which has the ability to break down the foods we eat and render them
into simpler parts.
consumed as part of a meal, Vitamin B12 is connected to proteins in
the food that we eat, and hydrochloric acid breaks the bonds which
connect Vitamin B12 to the protein. After the Vitamin B12 Molecule
has been freed, it then reacts with another molecule known as
Factor is a protein which bonds with B12, allowing the nutrient to be
taken in by the body. There are some people that actually lack the
ability to make Intrinsic Factor, which causes them to absorb very
low levels of B12. This condition is known as Pernicious Anemia.
Much B12 Does the Body Need?
body requires Vitamin B12 at all stages of life, but the requirements
vary dependent upon age. Children need an amount which slowly grows
from 0.4 micrograms in the first six months of life, to 1.8
micrograms per day at 13 years. From 14 years old through adulthood,
the body has a relatively steady requirement for B12 which is around
are pregnant need a little more in order to promote healthy fetal
development, around 2.6 micrograms. Women that are breastfeeding need
the highest levels, around 2.8 micrograms. This makes sense, because
early in life, the child is completely dependent upon breast milk for
nutrition, so the mother must increase her own production to
Are the best Sources of Vitamin B12?
B12 is one of a number of nutrients that are only available to human
beings through either animal or synthetic sources. Below are a number
of sources of Vitamin B12:
two suggestions, Liver and Clams, contain the most significant levels
of B12. B12 is processed by the liver in animals that cannot produce
it naturally, and it is synthesized in herbivores that do have the
capability to make their own Vitamin B12 from plant material. As a
result, aside from clams, liver is the single best source for Vitamin
Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
deficiency of Vitamin B12 brings about a rather particular set of
symptoms, among which are:
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
be noted right away that a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause
neurological symptoms, even if the physical symptoms do not manifest
themselves. Some of the neurological damage resulting from B12
Deficiency is also irreversible, so it is incredibly important to
diagnose and treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency as soon as possible.
the overall need for B12 is lower for children than adults, severe
issues can occur as a result of prolonged Vitamin B12 Deficiency
early in life. B12 Deficiency can cause many problems for infant
Symptoms of Childhood B12 Deficiency include:
notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment
with a pediatrician as soon as possible. The symptoms of Vitamin B12
Deficiency share similarities to other developmental disorders, and
it is important to get an appropriate diagnosis as soon as possible.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cured?
Generally, the way to resolve B12 Deficiency is through direct
intervention with Injections of Vitamin B12. B12 Injections allow for
maximum absorption, because B12 is delivered directly to the body,
bypassing more limited digestive absorption. If an immediate
injection is not deemed necessary, a physician may recommend taking
Vitamin B12 Orally in high doses in order to resolve the Deficiency.
One study compared the effectiveness of Oral B12 versus B12
Injections. Researchers found that oral Vitamin B12 was able to
replicate the effectiveness of injections over time. The optimal way
to restore B12 through oral supplementation was to take high doses of
B12 (2000 micrograms) every day initially, then cutting the dose in
half. After cutting down to half doses, it was eventually possible to
cut down to weekly, and finally monthly, doses, before simply
allowing the patient to proactively make steps to maintain healthy
levels of Vitamin B12.
Although both forms of supplementation are effective, the ability of
the patient to absorb the nutrient through the digestive tract, and
the severity of the deficiency will be the most significant factors
which lead the physician to take the appropriate course of action.
B12 Shots Injected?
Like Testosterone Injections, B12 Injections are Delivered
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Connected?
that consume a high level of Folic Acid in their diet can make the
dangerous symptoms of severe Vitamin B12 Deficiency less apparent.
Folic acid has the ability to resolve Megaoloblastic Anemia without
resolving the underlying neurological complications of the condition.
even studies which provide evidence that high levels of folate in the
blood stream can eventually make anemia worse and amplify the
neurological issues related to B12 Deficiency, increasing the risk of
combination of Folic Acid Overload and B12 Deficiency can lead to
permanent nerve damage. Because of this significant risk, healthy men
and women should take no more than 1,000 micrograms of Folic Acid per
at Greatest Risk of B12 Deficiency?
a number of issues which can lead directly to Vitamin B12 Deficiency.
These causes include:
these are the four leading causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency, there
are many cases in which the cause of B12 Deficiency is unclear.
is Most at Risk of B12 Deficiency?
As men and
women grow older, the odds of developing Vitamin B12 Deficiency grow.
There is a condition known as Atrophic Gastritis, which causes the
stomach to produce abnormally low levels of Hydrochloric Acid. As a
direct result of this, B12 Absorption drops.
condition affects ten to thirty percent of older men and women. This
change in hydrochloric acid production can also change the
composition of gut flora, leading to the formation of bacteria which
consume Vitamin B12 to propagate, reducing the amount available to
the body itself.
this disorder reduces the body's ability to break down food sources
of Vitamin B12, it can be easily treated through direct
supplementation. In addition to this, foods fortified with B12 are
also a useful source, because the synthetic form of B12 present in
most fortified foods is easier to absorb than natural B12 for these
the risk of Atrophic Gastritis, physicians recommend getting B12 from
either fortified foods or supplements after the age of fifty. It
should also be noted that elderly men and women that have this
disorder should intake more Vitamin B12 than Recommended Daily Values
with Pernicious Anemia
Anemia is a medical issue which afflicts between one and two percent
of adults over fifty. The main issue with regard to these patients is
they either produce no or little Intrinsic Factor, which is necessary
in order for the digestive system to properly absorb B12.
effective way to treat this medical condition is through the use of
Vitamin B12 Injections. Injections bypass the need for Intrinsic
Factor and supply usable Vitamin B12 directly to the body. It may
also be possible for some patients to use high doses of oral B12 in
lieu of Vitamin B12, because around one percent of orally ingested
Vitamin B12 can be absorbed even without the agency of Intrinsic
with General Gastrointestinal Problems
certain diseases of the small intestine and stomach which complicate
Vitamin B12 Absorption, including Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease.
These complications can prevent patients from getting the Vitamin B12
that they need from a normal diet.
this inherent deficiency, some individuals with diseases such as
these can experience very subtly decreased cognitive ability as a
direct result of childhood Vitamin B12 Deficiency. In addition to
this, they can also eventually suffer from dementia or Megaloblastic
Anemia. For this reason, it is undeniably important for anyone with
gastrointestinal disorders to evaluate their B12 Levels on a regular
basis as a preventative measure against these conditions.
that Have Undergone Surgery of the Stomach or Small Intestine
surgeries can impact the digestive system's ability to absorb healthy
levels of Vitamin B12. Individuals that undergo gastric bypass
surgery or other weight loss surgeries often find that their ability
to absorb Vitamin B12 Decreases as a result of less Intrinsic Factor
and Hydrochloric Acid release by the stomach.
surgery which removes part or all of the stomach also leads to this
issue. This has particular effect upon the body's ability to absorb
natural forms of B12. Removal of the end of the small intestine,
known as the distal ileum, can also inhibit or stop B12 Absorption.
Anyone that goes under the knife for gastrointestinal surgery of any
kind should be regularly monitored for any nutritional complications.
vegetarians are at a high risk of developing B12 Deficiency if they
are not conscientious about their diet. The only natural sources of
B12 for human beings are derived from animal products, and, unless
vegetarians look to supplemental sources of B12, it will be
impossible to get the necessary Vitamin B12 for optimal health.
that still use milk products or eat eggs do not have this same levels
of risk, and pescatarians can easily get the B12 they need from fish
sources. Luckily for vegetarians, there are now a number of fortified
sources of B12, the most common of which is contained within many
and Pregnant Vegetarians, as well as their Infants
pregnancy, the fetus receives necessary Vitamin B12 through the
placenta. After being born, B12 is received through the breast milk.
If infants are breastfed by vegetarian mothers, they often receive
abnormally low levels of B12, which can hinder their optimal
development. If B12 Deficiency is not caught very early, it can cause
very serious and potentially life-long problems.
Dieticians very strongly suggest that both lacto-ovo vegetarians and
vegans take ample supplemental B12 during pregnancy in order to
ensure the health of the infant. They should also ask their doctors
about providing their young children with B12 Supplements to
eliminate all potential risk.
Between Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Negative Cardiovascular Outcomes
first world countries, heart disease is usually the number one cause
of death. In developing countries, the threat of Heart Disease
continues to increase as other easily preventable causes of death are
eliminated, and changes in diet and lifestyle promote increased odds
of the condition. Some major risk factors of Heart Disease are:
B12 and Homocysteine
levels are strongly associated with Vitamin B12 Consumption.
Homocysteine is an amino acid compound that is necessary for a
healthy cardiovascular system, the problem is that a lot of
individuals produce way too much of it.
high Homocysteine production causes a number of issues which reduce
the function of the heart and increase the risk of heart
complications. It encourages the formulation of clots, prevents
proper vasodilation, and changes the muscular composition of veins
and arteries. It also causes the breakdown of fat in the blood
stream, releasing dangerous free radicals into the body.
B6, Folate, and Vitamin B12 are vitally important in the metabolism
of Homocysteine. In the result of B12 Deficiency, Homocysteine
production can rise in a dangerous manner. Vitamin B12
Supplementation in combination with Folate Supplementation has been
shown to have an ameliorative effect on Homocysteine Production,
encouraging a reduced risk of stroke.
point, the evidence is incomplete in regard to whether providing B12
Supplementation improves other aspects of Cardiovascular Health in
at-risk patients. This does not, however, diminish the importance of
maintaining healthy B12 consumption throughout the lifespan, because,
although Vitamin B12 may be limited in its ability to treat heart
problems, proper use of B12 throughout the lifespan can help reduce
the risk of developing these complications in the first place.
B12 and the Brain
Protect the Brains of the Elderly
recent study conducted by scientists at Oxford, a strong correlation
was found between the overall volume of the brain, and healthy
Vitamin B12 consumption. In this study, researchers collected data
from 107 participants. These participants ranged in age from sixty
one to eighty seven. None of the subjects displayed any signs of
cognitive decline or issues with memory. The median age of the
subjects was seventy three, and 46% of the participants were men.
scientists then proceeded to draw blood in order to assess the
Vitamin B12 levels of each patient. Vitamin B12 is found in highest
concentrations in milk, fish, and meat. In addition to blood testing,
each subject also underwent annual MRI brain scans in order to
visually assess the condition of the brain. They also received a
yearly physical and memory evaluation.
107 men and women, none of them were found to have a Vitamin B12
Deficiency. Researchers took the data that they compiled from this
study and compared it to studies of patients which suffered from
Vitamin B12 Deficiency. They discovered that men and women with
Vitamin B12 Deficiency were six times more likely to have smaller
brain volumes than patients that had healthy levels of B12.
they were able to establish this link, the scientists were not able
to provide evidence regarding the impact of brain size on cognitive
Healthy Vitamin B12 Levels Helps Prevent Cognitive Issues Later in
project leader, Anna Vogiatzoglou, explains that there are a lot of
different factors which contribute to adverse changes in the
condition of the brain, but her study shows that there is a powerful
connection between Vitamin B12 and the preserving the size of our
her study did not have the ability to establish psychological and
cognitive changes related to changes in brain size with age, she
hypothesizes that making sure that we get enough Vitamin B12
throughout our lives is a thoughtful and productive step in
preserving proper and healthy brain function later in life. By taking
this healthy and conscientious step, there is a significant chance
that we can preserve our memory more effectively with age.
the study provides a positive link in regard to Vitamin B12 Levels
and Brain Shrinkage, the study did not analyze the effect of Vitamin
B12 Supplementation as a preventative treatment for elderly patients.
that, like the connection between Cardiovascular Health and Vitamin
B12, there is a limited ability for Vitamin B12 to be a treatment for
conditions related to untreated Vitamin B12 Deficiency, but
maintaining healthy Vitamin B12 Levels throughout the lifespan can
help prevent significant issues later in life.
Excessive B12 Supplementation Lead to any Health Risks?
B12 has an extremely low capacity for toxicity. Because of this,
there is little to no risk of complications resulting from the
over-consumption of the nutrient. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and
nutrients of this type are generally absorbed by the body as needed,
then released into the urine. Fat soluble Vitamins generally carry a
certain risk of overdose (Vitamin A being one particular example).
B12 Final Thoughts
As you can see, it is vitally important to make sure that your body
gets a healthy dose of Vitamin B12. If you are conscientious, this is
one of the best ways to preserve your cognitive health deep into old
There is really no reason to experience Vitamin B12 Deficiency,
unless your body is beginning to have trouble processing the
nutrient. If you have a feeling you aren't getting enough Vitamin B12
in your diet, we actively encourage you to seek out a supplement.
There is absolutely no downside, and it can have a tremendously
positive impact upon your cardiovascular system, neurological system
and general energy levels.