Do you take enough vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 represents a water-soluble vitamin, which is found in certain animal-based foods, and is available as a supplement. It is a necessary nutrient for people, as it performs numerous functions in the human body. As the body does not produce, it is important to get it on a regular basis.
HOW MUCH SHOULD WE GET?
It depends on various factors, including age, medical condition, eating habits, and use of medications. According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended average dose varies depending on the age:
• Infants (0 – 6 months) – 0.4 mcg
• Babies (7 – 12 months) – 0.5 mcg
• Children (1 – 3 years) – 0.9 mcg
• Kids (4 – 8 years) – 1.2 mcg
• Children (9 – 13) – 1.8 mcg
• Teens (14 – 18 years) – 2.4 mcg
• Adults – 2.4 mcg
• Pregnant women – 2.6 mcg
• Breastfeeding women – 2.8 mcg
SOURCES OF VITAMIN B12
Animal-based foods, like eggs, dairy products, cheese, milk, fish, poultry and meat, are rich in vitamin B12. Here are top ten sources of vitamin B12:
• Chicken and beef liver: 81 mg in 3 ounces
• Salmon: 108 mg in an fillet
• Herring: 143 mg in a fillet
• Mackerel: 15.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Sardines: 13.3 mg in a cup
• Tuna: 9.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Trout: 9.1 mg in a fillet
• Organic yoghurt: 170 g in a container
• Turkey: 1.1 mg in 3 ounces
• Raw milk: 1 mg in a cup
• Beef tenderloin: 0.9 mg in 3 ounces
• Lamb: 0.8 mg in 3 ounces
SYMPTOMS OF LACK OF VITAMIN B12
Are you experiencing mood changes, fatigue, lack of motivation and brain fog? These health conditions are usually caused by the lack of vitamin B12. If you lack vitamin B12, you may get anemic. Namely, there are numerous symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Here are some of the most common:
• Weakness, lightheartedness, and tiredness
• Anemia (platelet, white blood cells and red blood cells)
• Hallucinations and paranoia
• Jaundice (yellow and pale skin)
• An inflamed and swollen tongue
• Walking difficulties (balance issues, staggering)
• Tingling, numbness and burning sensation in the legs, feet and hands.
• Brain and mental fog
• Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
• Loss of appetite, diarrhea, gas and constipation
• Vision loss
• Mental issues, like depression, behavioral changes or memory loss
• Joint pain and muscle weakness
• Inability to concentrate
It is considered that more than 40 % of the Americans lack vitamin B12. In addition, it is more common in people, who have been diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Moreover, you are more likely to develop lack of vitamin B12 if you suffer from:
• Immune system disorder, like lupus and Graves disease.
• Small intestine issues like bacterial or parasite growth, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease.
• Atrophic gastritis
• Pernicious anemia
VITAMIN B12 TEST
If you want to test vitamin B12, you can ask your doctor for an intracellular B12 teat, as serum B12 is not a good marker of the function of vitamin B12, because it takes place in the cells. Other indirect measures of vitamin B12 function are Homocyteine and Methylmalonic Acid, even though they are less accurate than the intracellular test.
CAUSES OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY
There are numerous causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. Some of the most common are:
• Heartburn medications
Heartburn is the most common symptoms of digestive disorder and gluten sensitivity. OTC and prescribed heartburn medications may obstruct the activity of the Parietal cells, which in turn lowers the stomach acid the levels of intrinsic factors. It is really essential to determine the causes of heart burn medications instead of treating the symptoms with medications.
• Pernicious anemia
Pernicious anemia is a autoimmune disease, which occurs when the immune system attacks the body cells that produce the intrinsic factor (IF) protein and stomach acid. If the Parietal cells are attacked by the immune system, they cannot produce Hydrochloric acid, which removes vitamin B12 from the dietary molecules.
The Intrinsic factor carries the vitamin B12 though the intestinal cells to the bloodstream, so if they cannot produce intrinsic factor, they also cannot absorb vitamin B12, which in turn causes cellular deficiency.
Autoimmune conditions usually begin in the gut though the leaky gut syndrome or Hyperpermeability.
• Intestinal permeability or Leaky gut syndrome
There are numerous causes for the leaky gut syndrome, including parasitic infections, dairy protein sensitivity, H. pylori, gluten sensitivity, and other intestinal bacterial infections.
These health issues produce bacteria, which destroy the gut lining walls, which allows the entrance of bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream, which overactivates the immune system. This in turn decreases the ability of the body to absorb vitamin B12 from the gut.
• Chemotherapy treatment
Chemotherapy treatment has numerous side effects. Vitamins deficiency, particularly folic acid vitamin B12 deficiency, and is one of them. Chemo medications lead to stomach and gut cell irritation, which causes numerous other negative effects.
• Poor gut microbiome
The good bacteria in the intestinal tract break down the food we consume and absorb the essential nutrients in the bloodstream. If there is an imbalance of gut bacteria, it can cause poor absorption of essential vitamins, including vitamin B12.
The microbiome population depends on the probiotic and sugar-rich foods we consume. It is really essential to avoid or reduce the sugar intake and eat more vegetables in order to be able to prevent the growth of bad bacteria.
BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B12
The lack of vitamin B12 is considered to be the leading nutrient deficiency all over the world. Vitamin B12 improves the mood, heart, skin, hair, memory, energy, digestion, etc. It also:
• Boosts up the levels of energy
Vitamin B12 is beneficial for the metabolism, because it transforms carbohydrates into useful glucose, which is used as energy. This is the reason why people, who experience vitamin B12 deficiency, suffer from fatigue.
• Reduces the risk of neurodegenerative issues and prevents memory loss
Lack of vitamin B12 may lead to numerous psychiatric and neurological disorders. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in neurotransmitter and nerve health, as well as enhances cognitive ability and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
• It enhances the function of the nervous system and improves mood
Vitamin B12 is essential for cognitive processes and concentration, so lack of vitamin B12 may lead to difficulties in focusing and high risk of attention disorders.
• It enhances heart health
Vitamin B12 enhances cardiovascular health in various ways. In fact, it lowers high Homocyteine levels, which is the main cause of heart diseases. It is an amino acid, whose levels in the blood are affected by B-complex vitamins, like vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 enhances heart health, by lowering Homocyteine levels, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes. It is considered that vitamin B12 also regulated high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
• Enhances hair and skin health
Vitamin B12 has an important role in reproduction of cells, which means it is essential for nail, skin and hair health. It is beneficial for the skin, because it reduces skin inflammation, redness, acne, blemishes, dryness, and also treats eczema and psoriasis effectively.
It also makes the nails stronger and prevents hair breakage.
• It enhances digestion
Vitamin B12 aids in the production of digestive enzymes, so it supports the healthy metabolism and breakage of food in the stomach. Vitamin B 12 enhances digestion, by increasing good bacteria in the gut. Digestive disorders, like Candida and inflammatory bowel disease, are prevented by the presence of good bacteria and the elimination of bad bacteria.
• Prevents cancer
Vitamin B12 is considered to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly if it is taken in combination with folate. According to the researches, vitamin B12 enhances the immune system so that it is able to fight against cancer, including colon, prostate and cervical cancer.
• Prevents anemia and produces red blood cells
Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of the red blood cells. It efficiently prevents all types of anemia, particularly megaloblastic anemia, which is the main cause of weakness and chronic fatigue.