WHY VITAMIN B12 IS IMPORTANT
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in the formation of red blood cells, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal foods including organ meats, poultry, meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products. Other major sources of vitamin B12 include some fortified breakfast cereals, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, spirulina (seaweed), and artificial supplements. The recommended daily intake for adults is 2.6 micrograms and 2.8 micrograms for pregnant and lactating women.
VITAMIN B12 DEFICENCIES
Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to fulfill their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially among adults over the age of 60(1). As people age, the stomach slows its production of acid and intrinsic factor(2), which leads to poor absorption of vitamin B12.
With more and more people adapting a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, a vitamin B12 deficiency can occur. Plant-based foods contain only trace amounts of vitamin B12. Therefore, it’s vital that vegans find alternatives sources of vitamin B12 for optimal health.
If dietary B12 deficiency isn’t treated, deficiency can cause anemia. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and heart palpitations. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve damage and mental disfunction.
BOOSTING YOUR B12
A mild vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected with a standard multivitamin. According to NMI Solutions, 56 percent of adults have added a vitamin B12 supplement to their daily routine to increase energy levels, fight fatigue and reduce brain fog. There are several different types of supplements to choose from including gummy vitamins which are easy to chew and may be taken by people who have difficulty swallowing pills.
As with all supplements, users should consult with their healthcare professional before adding vitamin B12 to their daily diet.
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The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and the products suggested in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.