Vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin that also goes by “cobalamin,” wears many health-promoting hats. First, it supports the production of cellular energy, which you can think of as an invisible engine that keeps everything humming along. It also prevents megaloblastic anemia, where your body lacks healthy red blood cells and you end up feeling tired and weak. It also helps replicate DNA for healthy new cells. Whew…what a multi-tasker! You can get this busy B from red meat, chicken, eggs, fish, and dairy, but plant-based foods contain no vitamin B12 unless they’re fortified with it. That means if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you may want to take a B12 supplement or a multivitamin to make sure you're getting enough. (That advice goes for carnivores too!) Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, cognitive difficulties, depression, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. All symptoms to have checked out!
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Breaking Down Nutrition: Will Vitamin B-12 Help Your Brain?
Why does B-12 deficiency increase with age? A couple of reasons…often as you get older, you tend to eat less, which decreases the amount of B-12 in your diet. Up to 1/3 of people who are 50+ don’t absorb B-12 from their food because they don’t produce enough stomach acid.
Dr Ben Lynch Podcast: 4 Forms of Vitamin B12
There is more than one form of Vitamin B12. What's the difference between each of them? Cyanocobalamin - synthetic B12 that is poorly utilized by the body. Throw it away! Methylcobalamin - A biochemically active form of B12 important for methylation. Many people are deficient--vegans/vegetarians, those who take antacids, or don't eat much meat. Adenosylcobalamin - The mitochondrial form of B12 that supports energy production. These patients may have high methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels. Hydroxocobalamin - Can be used to reduce nitric oxide levels if they are too high.
Food for Thought: The Joys and Benefits of Living Vegan Podcast - An Essential Vitamin - B12
Granted, this may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but understanding our basic requirements for optimum health is important. Despite what many people believe, vitamin B12 is not animal-derived. Take a listen to find out everything you've always wanted to know about this water-soluble vitamin.
Mastering Nutrition: Your MTRR Genes and Vitamin B12 | Chris Masterjohn Lite
You may have heard of MTHFR, but have you heard about MTRR? If you care about your vitamin B12 status, listen to this podcast to learn about it. MTRR is an enzyme that helps you repair your vitamin B12 once it’s been damaged. You don’t need to use it a lot most of the time, so some of us, including me, have genetic variations that make it not work very well, yet we’re fine most of the time. But when you are exposed to new health challenges that increase the damage done to your B12, suddenly you may need to use the enzyme more than usual, and if you have genetic impairments in the enzyme you may suddenly become vulnerable to vitamin B12 deficiency. I don’t recommend making a specific nutritional strategy around MTRR, but I do recommend you monitor your B12 status more proactively if you have genes that lower your MTRR activity.
- National Institutes of Health. Vitamin B12: Fact sheet for consumers. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin B12: Fact sheet for consumers.
- MedlinePlus. Vitamin B12. MedlinePlus. Vitamin B12.
- Adv Nutr. Proton pump inhibitors, H2-receptor antagonists, metformin, and vitamin B-12 deficiency: Clinical implications. Adv Nutr. Proton pump inhibitors, H2-receptor antagonists, metformin, and vitamin B-12 deficiency: Clinical implications.
- Neural Plast. Methylcobalamin: A potential vitamin of pain killer. Neural Plast. Methylcobalamin: A potential vitamin of pain killer.