There is a lot of buzz, hype and paranoia about vitamin B12 going around and for good reason. First, what is it? It’s a water-soluble vitamin known as cobalamin that’s created by soil-based bacteria. There are actually four types of cobalamins – methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin.
A good B12 supplement would include methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin – both are cofactors of B12. Both of these are considered the best forms of B12 because our bodies can absorb and use them almost immediately. Vitamin B 12 is critical for a healthy metabolism and our overall energy levels. Plus, it plays an essential role in producing our red blood cells, for brain function, preventing nerve damage, supports our immune system and cellular function, promotes heart health, male fertility our mental and emotional health and so much more.
Statistics show that an alarming amount of people are not getting enough B12 and that includes 60% of meat eaters. It’s said that most adults over 30 have problems absorbing B12. So, getting enough B12 in your diet can be a challenge, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian – so they say. But that simply is not true, a vitamin B12 deficiency can affect anyone.
So how do we know we are low in vitamin B12? What are the common symptoms or warning signs we should be aware of or look out for? These symptoms include fatigue, irritability, feeling run down, no energy, memory loss, depression, pale skin, brain fog, confusion, hallucinations, mood swings and mental cloudiness to name the obvious. But, there are also symptoms that you may not associate with a vitamin B12 deficiency like blurred vision, numbness, a burning sensation, muscle cramps, bleeding gums, slow reflexes, sore tongue, an abnormal gait, menstrual problems and tingling. All of these symptoms are potential indicators that a vitamin B12 deficiency is affecting your body.
With so many systems in our body relying on B12, it’s imperative that we get enough in our diet or through supplementation before we suffer a long list of detrimental health consequences. So, where can we get a healthy dose of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a flora that is naturally produced in your gut and colon. It’s found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, milk products and fortified foods. Many are surprised that there are lots of vegan B12 sources and this includes wild berries grown in rich soil, seaweed, kale, nutritional yeast, fermented and cultured foods, coconut or almond milk and spirulina. Plus, probiotics help you absorb any vitamin B12 supplements you ingest.
It’s very important to know that in order to absorb vitamin B12, you need strong stomach acid. So, for that, you need to cut way down on sugars and breads, and start adding more bitter foods like arugula, endives or watercress to your diet. You can rebuild stomach acid by adding more acids like lemon juice, some sea salts, and zinc. Bottom line, stop hiding the symptoms and get rid of the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency and you’ll significantly reduce the risk of dealing with it on an ongoing basis.