The health benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation, oxygen delivery, neurological function and DNA synthesis, it also plays a central role in hormone regulation and fat and protein metabolism.
Evidence suggests that B12 may be protective against developing breast cancer, and that deficiencies may increase the likelihood of occurrence. A case control study of 475 women published in March 2006 in “Cancer Epidemiology, Bio-markers and Prevention” similarly found evidence for B12 serving as a protective factor, and noted that women with a high B12 intake had a decreased breast cancer risk.
Symptoms of a B12 deficiency may include:
- Lack of energy
- Unusual mood changes
- Inability to concentrate
- Tingling or numbness
- Red or swollen tongue
Deficiency in B12 has also been linked to:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Irreversible nerve damage
- Low red blood cell production
- Inability for cells to divide, therefore body isn’t creating new DNA
- Premature aging of body
Problems with B12 absorption–As we age, our stomach acids naturally weaken, which lessens our ability to break B12 from its protein bond. At least 30% of people over the age of 50 are unable to unlock B12 from its protein source. Additionally, taking aspirin therapy, prescription drugs such as heartburn meds and metaformin (for diabetes), antibiotics which kill off beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and excessive alcohol consumption will all decrease absorption of B12 from food sources. When purchasing this as a supplement, look for the methylated version which absorbs easily.
Foods that are high in B12 include:
- Meat, eggs and dairy from pastured animals
- Wild salmon
- sunflower seeds
- green leafy vegetables
- green beans
A blood test can confirm your levels, and supplementation with B12 can be done with injections, capsules or sub-lingual forms. Use only Methylcobalamin as it is the active form of B12 which does not require any conversion by the body.
Andreas Moritz on supplementing with vitamin B12