Eating your A,B,C’s – Vitamin B-12
by Lisa Metzgar, PhD
This month we are going to talk about the last of the B vitamins Vitamin B-12 which is also known as cobolamin. B-12 is one of the energy vitamins. It supports the immune system, helps folic acid to regulate the formation of red blood cells, helps the body to use iron. It is needed for proper digestion, food absorption, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. B-12 is necessary for normal nerve growth and development it maintains the fatty sheaths around the nerves. It aids in circulation and adrenal hormone production.
B-12 helps support healthy moods, memory, mental clarity and concentration.
Because B-12 is mainly found in animal products and isn’t easily absorbed by poor digestive function, about 1/4 of the population is deficient. Vegetarians have a hard time getting enough B-12 with just vegetable sources of diet. B-12 is produced by bacteria in animals and bound to protein. Vegetarians have a risk of less than optimal functioning nervous systems and eye health due to deficiency. The older population is also at risk for deficiency due to inadequate diet and poor digestive function. Low hydrochloric acid decreased the amount of B-12 that gets released from food.
The stomach lining can lose its ability to produce intrinsic factor which is a protein that binds to B-12 to allow it to be absorbed into the small intestine. When this happens you get a deficiency syndrome called cobalamin malabsorption or pernicious anemia. This leads to fatigue, depression, and poor memory.
Vegetarians should consider supplementing with B-12. Plant sources have analogs of B-12 that are not in the correct form that provide B-12 benefits. It is important to consult with a health practitioner when supplementing with any individual supplement because over supplementation can lead to imbalances. There are oral and injectable supplementation. Breakfast cereals, soy products, and energy bars can also be fortified to provide an adequate amount of B-12 for people who don’t eat animal products.
Lifestyle choices can lead to a B-12 deficiency. Alcohol, nicotine, oral contraceptives, and antibiotics can all lead to lower absorption of vitamin B-12.
Victor Herbert…the renowned B-12 researcher advises that multivitamins don’t provide adequate B-12. Some of the ingredients in multivitamins Vitamin C, iron, and copper when combined with the crystalline form of B-12 create analogs that can’t be utilized by the body. It is best to get your B-12 from food sources.
Best sources for B-12 are:
meat (especially liver)
Next month we will talk about Linus Paulings discovery…Vitamin C
Until then…healthy eating!
More About Nutrition:
LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.
Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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