B12 Vitamin (Cobalamin) Benefits

Posted in Health on June 28, 2018

I believe that we can cure ourselves naturally in most cases by eating and exercising properly. I exercise this concept on a day-to-day basis.

And having a very curious mind, I am constantly researching the best way to work out and have tasty omnivorous nutritious meals - yes, sir! I am a foodie and I eat red meat.

Because I do my best to keep a well-balanced diet, I always want to check the facts, so I read a Harvard paper of becoming a vegetarian and I learned that B12 deficiency is an important concern about all this matter.

What do you eat?

The first issue is about having a very well balanced diet.

All main B12 food sources are linked to proteins - meat, eggs, fish, and dairy. It is separated from the protein during digestion, using a substance called intrinsic factor that is present in the stomach acid, for availability for absorption through the bloodstream.

Older adults have more susceptibility to a B12 deficiency that may impact from DNA synthesis to neurological function - and even a higher risk for children, pregnant women, vegetarians as well.

By the way, if you aren’t so educated to being vegetarian, you might be jeopardizing your health. And going deep into it, if you are vegan (which means that in your diet you excluded all ingredients from animal source), you will increase your risk even more.

Here are the hard numbers: today in the United States between 1.5 and 15 percent of the total population is currently diagnosed with a B12 deficiency.

What does the B12 do?

For better understanding, you use this important largest water-soluble B12 for body energy production, DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation (your body produces millions of red blood cells every minute!) and nerve cell health and, therefore, neurological function.

If you are over the age 65, by aging, you may decrease the stomach acid production, which affects directly B12 absorption.

Certain bacteria that uses B12 can grow better in this lower levels of stomach acid, shorten even more the B12 vitamin availability.

Rush University Medical Center (Chicago – USA), supported by a British trial, found after a 4.5-year study that the elderly with low blood B12 vitamin levels have a higher risk of losing cognitive skills and brain shrinkage - sources here and here.

The Alzheimer’s Disease risk is also reduced by the B12 regular intake to decrease the risk of developing this illness.

So, beyond being very aware of your B12 intake and blood levels, you need to control your digestion process as well as to be prompt to absorb properly all your well-balanced meals.

Another behavior that increases the risk of B12 deficiency is being vegetarian or vegan, by not assuming enough animal protein. Some researchers found that over half of the vegans studied were classified by being B12 deficient, versus 7% of the vegetarians and only 1 percent of the omnivores.

Other researchers found that the human body is unfit to process the plant-based B12, like spirulina (blue-green algae) that contains a “fake” B12 vitamin type that can’t be properly absorbed.

Even though some researchers recommend B12 shots for adults over 50, this man-made version of this substance (aka cyanocobalamin) can produce redness or itching at the site of injection, irregular heartbeat, swelling of throat or tongue, and even sudden vision changes or slurred speech.

The B12 shot can interact with aspirin, antibiotics, metformin and oral contraceptives, among other medicine. And it is important to mention that cases of B12 allergies, being man-made substance, were registered.

B12 Deficiency Signs

A wide variety of symptoms can show that you are with B12 deficiency (even if it is slightly lower-than-normal levels of deficiency) and the signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Memory or understanding issues,
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Heart palpitation
  • Yellow or very red swollen tongue
  • Vision changes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Menstrual problems
  • Psychosis, mania, and dementia.

And there are some risk factors that can increase B12 deficiency:

  • Antiacids and medications for diabetes type 2
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammation of the stomach (atrophic gastritis)
  • Being vegan or vegetarian

Another very important observation: children with B12 deficiency can develop severe and permanent neurological damages. Another research found that children born to mothers B12 vitamin deficient may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

What Is The Ideal Intake?

The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends the average daily intake of the B12 vitamin is 2,4 mcg (micrograms) for men and women over 14. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require 2,6 mcg and 2,8 mcg, respectively.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that low levels of the B12 vitamin in 11,216 pregnancies from 11 countries concluded that this deficiency is associated with a higher risk of preterm birth in 21%, independent if the country has high, middle or low average incomes.

B12 is not considered to be toxic in high quantities, like 1000 mcg dose.

How Can I Eat It?

All that being said, I invite you to improve your B12 intake through a beef brisket. My preparation suggestion is with sous vide technique because it can retain all the juices, so the nutritious properties.

Many thanks to Paul for sharing this sous vide beef brisket recipe.

If you don’t know what kind of meat I am talking about, beef brisket is a non-noble red meat cut. So, you can have the best of animal protein ingredient, with a more frugal shopping.

Source: Wikipedia.org

I love the fact that you can have all in one: the tasty, mouth-watering, eye-stimulating, nutritious, AND cheap, comfort food. Good B12 vitamin intake!