What you need to know about vitamin B12

What you need to know about vitamin B12

What Vitamin B12 Is Good For

Vitamin B12 (or cyancobalamin) is required for red blood cell formation, neuronal development and DNA synthesis. Deficiency can lead to accumulation of homocysteine (a neurotoxic compound), anemia, balance problems, numbness in the extremities, fatigue and memory problems.

Vitamin B12 as an energy supplier

Vitamin B12 is involved in a number of intracellular processes and ensures that the cells are healthy and produce enough energy.

The normal functioning of the nervous system

Vitamin B12 with folic acid is essential for the synthesis of myelin. Myelin is the substance that surrounds nerve fibers, protecting them and ensuring rapid signal transmission between nerve cells. When the myelin is damaged, impulse transmission is impaired. Therefore, vitamin B12 is essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Prevention of Anemia

Good blood circulation is often associated with high iron levels, but in fact folic acid and vitamin B12 play a similar role. That is why they are also called hematopoietic vitamins. B12 helps divide red blood cells, which are needed to keep oxygen circulating throughout our bodies. The constant circulation of oxygen ensures that all important processes in the body work. Therefore, a lack of B12 and folic acid is often the cause of anemia.

Homocysteine Deficiency

Vitamin B12 also helps the body get rid of excessive amounts of homocysteine or toxins. These are produced by metabolism and are toxic to cells. It is therefore important that homocysteine is flushed out of the body. Vitamin B12 helps to protect the blood vessel walls and prevent cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

DNA/RNA Synthesis – Methylation

Vitamin B12 is involved in the process of methylation, where the “methyl group” is sacrificed to other molecules, thus maintaining the chemical balance of the body and its various functions. This seemingly simple process occurs billions of times per second. It is important for mood, brain function, energy production, body cleansing, the immune system, and many other functions. Methylation is attacked when we are under stress.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs in old age, after stomach reduction surgery, when the acidity of the stomach is reduced or when taking medication to reduce the acidity, when taking medication for heartburn, with diseases of the Gastrointestinal tract (Crohn’s disease) and the hardest with a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver. Normally the human body has a supply of it for several years, but then it can run out. So people who switch to veganism or raw food feel good at first, especially if they ate a lot of meat before. Most people return to eating meat after a few years and do not have time to develop symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 level

The daily requirement for vitamin B12 depends on age. It is 2.4 µg per day for adults and slightly more for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Vitamin B12 has traditionally been prescribed as an injection, but an oral dose of 1000 mcg per day has now been shown to be effective, even in people with poor absorption and low acidity. In the case of gastrointestinal problems, vitamin B12 from food is poorly absorbed. But if you take it in high doses, the problem will be solved. This vitamin can accumulate and is non-toxic, so it is advisable not to drink or inject it continuously but rather in spurts. B vitamins interact, so sometimes it is important not to take vitamin complexes but those that are lacking. This interaction exists, for example, with vitamin B9. Its excess can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency. For example, a person eats a lot of vegetables and does not eat meat. If a person does not consume B12 for a long period of time (several years) and then takes a homocysteine test, the value may well be normal. This is because B9 and B12 are involved in the same metabolic pathway. But that doesn’t mean you can do without B12. Another reason to consume vitamin B12 separately is that the cobalt ion it contains can destroy other vitamins. B12 has interactions with certain medications. So be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re taking medication, especially for heartburn, ulcers, and diabetes.

If there is a vitamin B12 deficiency

A B12 deficiency can be suspected by testing for homocysteine, which has been shown to be elevated in vitamin B12 deficiency. However, this test is not entirely reliable. If you consume plenty of folic acid, for example through a vegan diet, your homocysteine level is normal. Another indicator of B12 deficiency is megaloblastic anemia. It is diagnosed by a blood test. Anemia caused by B12 deficiency successfully resolves, but the neurodegenerative processes caused by cyancobalamin deficiency are irreversible. A number of studies have shown that people with various forms of dementia are often deficient in vitamins B12 and B9.

Where is vitamin B12 found?

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, especially red meat, liver, kidneys and fish, but also in eggs and milk.