Today I want to write about Vitamin B12. The information is vast and can be overwhelming but I simplified it as much as possible to provide an overview. It's a fairly quick read that is well worth your time.
Also known as cobalamin, B12 is an essential vitamin that your body needs but can not produce. B12 has numerous roles in your body but one of the most notable functions is its involvement in DNA synthesis and red blood cell formation. This, in turn, promotes oxygen carrying capacity within the body and energy.
Another important role of B12 is the normal function of nerve cells and the nervous system as a whole. Memory, cognitive function, and peripheral nerves are all affected. Even your mood may be affected as this vitamin plays a role in metabolizing and synthesizing serotonin. Low levels may increase your risk of depression.
So where do we get B12?
B12 is found naturally in animal products like eggs, meat, and dairy. Other sources include shellfish and sardines. Additionally, B12 can be added to foods or supplemented with oral administration or injection. It should be noted that B12 requires the right environment for oral absorption. There must adequate stomach acid and intrinsic factor (glycoprotein) to absorb and utilize the vitamin. An injection bypasses the GI tract and allows absorption directly into the blood stream.
Signs and Symptoms of B12 deficiency:
People with low levels of this essential vitamin frequently feel tired and weak. However, that's not all, as there are multiple symptoms that may present with deficient levels. These include numbness and tingling in your limbs, depression, pale skin, confusion, memory loss, and anemia.
Who's at risk for low levels?
B12 deficiency is common but easily treated. People at risk include vegans and vegetarians. These individuals may not get enough B12 from dietary intake.
Another group includes adults over 50. They tend to produce less stomach acid which puts them at risk for poor absorption. Additionally, if you are taking proton pump inhibitors for heartburn, then you may be inadvertently deficient.
There are few other conditions worth noting. Women on estrogen based birth control may have low levels. Pernicious anemia also causes a B12 deficiency along with multiple gastrointestinal problems. This includes celiac disease.
And last but not least are people who drink a lot. B12 is stored in the liver and regular drinkers my deplete their levels.
Best way to increase B12 levels
You can increase your levels with oral intake of animal products or pills. However, the most effective route is an injection. This removes all the variables mentioned above and assures immediate access to the blood stream. For most people, an injection will be more effective than oral intake. This can be in the form of an intramuscular shot or intravenous administration. Frequently, we give other B vitamins with the injection to promote good overall health.
Benefits of B12
There are many benefits to optimizing your B12 levels. The biggest gain is in the form of energy. It is heavily involved in energy production and, indirectly, on oxygenation with its effect on red blood cell efficiency. Matter of fact, B12 is frequently called the energy vitamin.
Weight loss can also be inhibited if you are deficient. Vitamins play a key role in fat and protein metabolism and good levels promote a healthy weight. They help the body break down fat and carbohydrates appropriately. When you optimize this process, you are creating an environment for proper metabolism and weight loss. That doesn't even include the psychological factor. When B12 levels are low, the associated fatigue and potential depression can lead to poor sleep habits, lack of motivation, and poor weight management.
Mental health is another big factor and has numerous benefits from adequate B12 levels. We are already mentioned serotonin earlier but it's worth noting again. B12 is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine which, in turn, help regulate mood. Adequate B12 levels promote appropriate mood and the prevention of depression.
The list of benefits is long and could take extensive time to list. some of the attributes of a healthy B12 level include immune health, strength, skeletal health, ocular health, prevention of heart disease, skin health, nervous system function, and the prevention of memory loss and dementia. Research is ongoing and there's a ton of information out there.
B12 is an essential vitamin that we have to get from outside sources. It is utilized by the body for many functions and is important for a healthy life. Some individuals are able to obtain high enough levels through diet but others are not. At Palomar KLN, we offer B12 with injections. This bypasses the GI tract allowing the body to access B12 directly from the blood stream and assuring adequate levels.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at Palomar KLN. We constantly monitor our website, email (email@example.com), and phone (909-276-5125). We are happy to provide information and we can schedule you for nutritional infusions to promote physical and mental health!