Why You Must Have Vitamin B12 for Health

by Alex James
Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, commonly known as cabalamin, is the most structurally complex and voluminous vitamin. Herbivores such as cows and sheep receive vitamin B12 by a bacterial fermentation process in their stomachs, but omnivores can only obtain vitamin B12 through the intake of animal products or supplementation.

What Effects Does Vitamin B12 Have On The Body?

Vitamin B12 primarily promotes the health of the brain, neurological system, and blood production.

Specifically in regard to the brain and nervous system, vitamin B12 aids in the production of myelin, a fatty sheath that insulates neurons. According to Daniel Coyle’s book The Talent Code, cutting-edge research indicates that myelin is essential for the development of practically all cognitive skills. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for the correct functioning of other brain and nervous system components, and its ingestion promotes memory and other cognitive functions.

Vitamin B12 1000 mcg is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, the blood protein that transports oxygen to your cells. In addition to having consequences for general health, this process is essential for sustaining adequate energy levels. Low hemoglobin levels typically result in fatigue.

Options for Good Vitamin B12 Food and Supplement Sources

Due of vitamin B12’s structural complexity, its industrial production is challenging. Vitamin B12 supplements can only be manufactured through a bacterial fermentation process analogous to how herbivores extract vitamin B12 from plant tissue. B12 pills are commonly accessible, and many meals are artificially fortified with vitamin B12, particularly those aimed at individuals who reject certain animal products.

The primary (and best) sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, which causes B12 insufficiency in many vegans and some vegetarians. Almost all types of meat include vitamin B12, along with eggs and milk. Organ and offal meats, such as liver and giblets, are often the best sources of B12, followed by fish and shellfish, pork, chicken, eggs, and milk. Nevertheless, given the comparatively low Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin B12, frequent eating of nearly any animal product will suffice.

Daily Recommended Value for Vitamin B12

The RDA for vitamin B12 for adults between the ages of 31 and 50 is 2,4 micrograms (g). It is believed that younger people require slightly less, whilst those over 50 and pregnant women require closer to 3 g. However, vitamin B12 has such low toxicity levels that it is nearly hard to cause damage from excessive consumption (assuming oral administration), hence it may be a good idea to consume more than the RDA.

After leaving the deficient area, there is a wide range of healthy B12 intake amounts. Informational blogs highlight that beef liver contains approximately 80 g of vitamin B12 per 100 grams, almost 32 times the RDA but still healthy.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

Extremely infrequently, vitamin B12 insufficiency can develop from a metabolic illness called pernicious anemia in which the body is unable to absorb the vitamin. B12 deficiency is most frequently caused by a lack of animal products, and is consequently most prevalent among vegetarians and vegans.

Vegetarians who routinely consume eggs and milk (lacto-ovo vegetarians) or fish (pescatarians) often have little difficulties. As long as they meet the RDA, they have few problems. However, vegans, particularly those who do not fully comprehend the significance of vitamin B12, are at great risk for a variety of health issues. This is especially important because many vegan meat substitutes, such as B12-fortified soy products, can cause a variety of health issues if consumed for extended periods.

Common vitamin B12 insufficiency symptoms include decreased cognitive function and memory, chronic fatigue, and rapid exhaustion from exertion, anxiety, and irritability.

  • Depression • Digestive issues such as constipation and appetite loss • Numbness or tingling in extremities

Beyond these typical symptoms, B12 insufficiency has been proven to raise the risk of other degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and stroke.

It is believed that vitamin B12’s effect on the brain, neurological system, and blood contributes directly to the elevated risk for many of these disorders. Some instances of Alzheimer’s, for instance, may be attributable to vitamin B12 insufficiency, as shortage frequently results in impaired brain function. Another condition that may be altered by B12 deficiency is heart disease. Due to the diminished ability to generate hemoglobin caused by a B12 shortage, the body must work harder to carry oxygen to the cells, placing greater strain on the circulatory system.

Should I use a Vitamin B12 supplement?

Most people who routinely consume animal products do not require vitamin B12 supplements. Exceptions would include individuals with diseases that impede or prohibit normal B12 absorption, in which case it is essential to seek medical care.

Vegetarians do not necessary need to supplement if they consume adequate quantities of eggs, milk, and seafood. However, it is crucial to note that milk contains just 0.45 g per 100 grams and eggs contain only 0.89 g per 100 grams (eggs also have a property that slightly inhibits B12 absorption).

Vegans are at the greatest risk for vitamin B12 insufficiency since they refrain from all animal products, the sole nutritional sources of vitamin B12 (except for artificially fortified foods). It is essential for devout vegans to take vitamin B12 supplements or consume enough fortified foods to reach or surpass the RDA.

In conclusion, supplementing with vitamin B12 is unlikely to produce adverse effects, as there appears to be no Upper Limit (UL) for oral consumption. Supplementation is normally unneeded for those who consume animal products on a regular basis, however proponents feel that B12 intake much over the RDA has additional benefits. Regarding vitamin B12 consumption, the evidence is still inconclusive, but there appears to be a wide range of healthy levels.

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