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The Amazing Vitamin B12

by Valik Rudd

Jul
5

Most people don’t know about all the amazing things that Vitamin B12 can do for their bodies. Or, what it is already doing in their bodies that they don’t even know about.

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First, what is Vitamin B12?

Most simply put Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that keeps the body’s blood cells healthy and working at their best. It is vital to the normal functioning of the human body.

Vitamin B12 has many important functions in our bodies. It is thought to decrease the risk of heart disease. It also works inside the body, along with the B vitamin folate, helping to make up the bodies genetic material (Its own DNA!) It allows the DNA to regenerate at a rapid rate, which can slow down signs of aging!
It allows the nerve cells to develop properly. B12 works with your bodies amino acids to help speed up the movement of carbohydrates and fats throughout the body. It works with these amino acids to create a coating over the nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. Without B12, this coating would not be as thick, slowing down the movement, this can cause many problems, constipation being the first a person would likely notice.

How much Vitamin B12 should I be getting?

The FDA has set these guidelines for the amount a person should be getting daily according to their age:

0-6 Months old: 400 nanograms
6-12 Months old: 500 nanograms
1-3 years old: 900 nanograms
4-8 years old: 1.2 micrograms
9-13 years old: 1.8 micrograms
14 & over: 2.4 micrograms
Pregnant Females: 2.6 micrograms
Lactating Females: 2.8 micrograms

Where can I get Vitamin B12?

There are many Vitamin B complex supplements that can be taken. However, the body doesn’t process the vitamins as well as it processes the vitamin from food sources. While it is possible to get Vitamin B12 from both plants and animals, it is found in much higher concentrations in animal form. Animals contain much more Vitamin B12 than plant sources. The reason for this is that the vitamin cannot be made by plant or animal alone. Therefore, the Vitamin B12 content depends entirely on the plant or animal’s ability to store the vitamin within them, as well as their relationship to microorganisms, like bacteria’s that are found in soil. For this reason, only animal foods can be considered excellent sources of B12. Vegetarians are more at risk of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, so they should try to get a lot of their B12 from dairy products, like milk or eggs. Vegans should use supplements or eat Tofu enhanced with B12.

Some B12 rich foods are:

  • Sardines
  • Beef liver
  • Clams
  • Fish, Meats, and Poultry
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Yeasts

How is the Vitamin B12 absorbed?

After taking supplements or eating nutrient rich foods, the body processes them and distributes the nutrients to the parts of the body that needs them most. With any nutrient you should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol destroys the properties in the nutrients, causing most of them to be wasted. Caffeine, as well as antacids, can slow down the absorption of not only B12, but other nutrients that the body needs to keep it running smoothly.

How do I know if I’m not getting enough Vitamin B12?

It can be hard to become B12 deficient, the reason for this is that Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for a year or more! However, a long term, B12 lacking diet can easily lead to a deficiency. The biggest problem with a Vitamin B12 deficiency is that without Vitamin B12, the bodies DNA cannot replicate itself, this means the body cannot generate new, healthy cells. As a result a Vitamin B12 deficiency often mimics all the effects of normal aging, but at a much more rapid speed. There are many symptoms associated with a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Although these symptoms are not all unique to Vitamin B12 deficiency, and can be caused by other illnesses or conditions, a B12 deficiency should be considered whenever any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Poor Balance
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Memory Loss
  • Nervous System problems
  • Nervousness
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Tingling or Numbness of Feet
  • Weak Pulse
  • Paleness
  • Dandruff
  • Red, or Sore Tongue
  • Difficulty Walking
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Rapid, or Labored Breathing
  • Easy Bruising
  • Easy Bleeding, including bleeding of the gums
  • Upset Stomach

Vitamin B12 deficiency in infants, if not detected and treated early enough can lead to permanent and seriously severe damage to the nerve cells. For this reason any new mothers that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet should be sure to have their babies Vitamin B12 levels measured regularly by their doctor.

Can Vitamin B12 prevent any diseases or conditions?

Yes, it can! In addition to being pretty vital to the vital functioning of the body it is also thought to help with treatment of or with prevention of the following conditions:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Dermatitis
  • Epstein – Barr Virus
  • Fatigue
  • Leukemia
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuro Muscular Degeneration

 

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