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Information on Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, but unlike other water-soluble nutrients, it is stored in the liver, kidney and

other body tissues. It contains the mineral cobalt, and is therefore also known as cobalamin.

As vegetarians and the elderly are at particular risk of suffering a deficiency of this vitamin, it is especially important to learn all that you can about it, and to consider taking a supplement.

Vitamin B12 is not usually present in plant food sources, and it is likely that a vegetarian will not consume enough of this vitamin in their diet. Elderly people should also watch themselves for possible deficiency symptoms as cobalamin levels decline with age. Deficiencies in the elderly are, however, usually caused by improper absorption of the vitamin, and not a dietary lack

Health Supplements 

As the symptoms of a deficiency of this vitamin may not show themselves for five to six years until the body's reserves are completely depleted, it makes sense to consider taking a supplement. If you are uncertain as to whether you are consuming enough, you can have your blood tested.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?

  • Cobalamin works with folic acid in the formation of red blood cells and thereby prevent anemia.
  • B12 can be used in reducing homocysteine levels - high levels of this substance can point towards possible heart disease, so if you are a potential heart disease candidate, you can use a combination of vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid to help return your homocysteine levels to normal.
  • This vitamin it is necessary in maintaining a healthy nervous system. A long-term deficiency, if left untreated, can cause irreversible neurological damage.
  • In addition, the body also requires this vitamin to aid in the absorption of foods and proper digestion. It also helps improve memory and concentration and helps ensure restful sleep.

Natural Sources

Foods that contain vitamin B12 include liver, kidney, beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese and fish. Fermented soya products and seaweeds contain B12 but the amounts are far less than the required amount. In addition, the form of cobalamin in these foods may not be the most suitable for our bodies.

The Right Dosage

The body only requires a small amount of vitamin B12 - the recommended dosage is 2 to 3 mcg per day. Supplements with 50 to 2000 mcg of B12 are available, which can be used depending on severity of the shortage in the body. No toxicity has been reported, even on high dosages.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Supplements

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause serious harm if left untreated for long periods. A shortage can result in nerve damage, anemia, depression and fatigue. It is possible to prevent this damage if the low B12 level is diagnosed early, and supplementation is started before any permanent damage can occur.

But prevention is better than cure, so those at higher risk of a deficiency, such as the elderly and strict vegetarians, should consider checking their vitamin level and supplementing their daily diet with B12 as a safeguard against health problems.

Choosing a Supplement

  • Vitamin B12 works synergistically with other vitamins, like folic acid, vitamin A, C and E, which means that the potency of the vitamin is increased when taken with these other substances. Calcium is necessary for proper absorption of vitamin B12.As nutritional deficiencies are very common these days, it makes sense to take a formula that includes other vitamins and nutrients also.
  • The supplement industry is

    loosely regulated

    in the United States and finding a good quality supplement product can be a bit like gambling with your health. Some products do not even contain the active ingredients listed on the label, and others can contain less or more than the amounts stated. Worse, some of them include other substances that could actually be harmful to your health.

    In order to ensure the purity and quality of the product, choose a manufacturer that follows the pharmaceutical GMP compliance, which is the highest standard available to ensure that manufacturing and quality control procedures are adhered to.

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