17 Apr Vitamin B12: What Is Vitamin B12 And Why Do You Need To Be Vitamin B12 Aware?
What is vitamin B12 and how and why do we need being aware of its ability to help restore health and fight disease get you on track to be healthier in life? There is an epidemic of chronic disease in society, and many people are looking for ways to get back to full health and fitness, but, their understanding dietary needs is often poor.
One vitamin in particular is often lacking in the modern diet, and, this causes quite severe symptoms when the body is lacking in it. Specifically, vitamin B12, which is foundational to good health, needs to be better understood for its role in good nutrition.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in many foods, especially animal products. Also available in supplement form, vitamin B12 is involved in regulating metabolism. In addition, vitamin B12 aids in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is also required for the proper functioning and development of the brain.
Vitamin B12 is a generic term for those corrinoid compounds exhibiting qualitatively the biological activity of cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the man-made form of vitamin B12 used as a supplement.
The body converts the cyanocobalamin into the correct nutrient so that the body can use it like it would B12 sourced from food. The main cobalamins with physiological action are hydroxycobalamin, methylcobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Like cyanocobalamin, the body also converts these for full bio-availability by the body, meaning supplementation by either injection or oral liquid or capsules is a viable treatment.
How you can use vitamin B12 to restore health and fight disease and poor health.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient. One of its most important functions is to build the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Another function is in the nerves, where B12 assists in the firing of nerves, sending important messages from the brain to the body. Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of fatty acids in myelin, which is the coating around the nerves. Together with folate, vitamin B12 is responsible for DNA synthesis, making it essential for the repair of cells in the body.
A little known fact is that vitamin B-12 is one of the largest and most complex vitamins currently known to man. Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria, and, because of this can only be found naturally in animal products.
Synthetic forms of vitamin B12 are now becoming widely available. They are added to many foods, such as cereals for example, in order to ensure that people are getting a minimum exposure to vitamin B12. For example, manufacturers often fortify breads, cereals, baby formula, energy drinks and animal feed for poultry, fish and cattle.
Vitamin B12 is not harmful and can be consumed in large doses. If you have any excess of vitamin B12 it will be excreted by the body or stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of vitamin B12 in the body can last for up to a year.
The body metabolizes cyanocobalamin – the man-made form of vitamin B12 – by converting it to one of two bio-active forms; methylcobalamin in the cytosol or adenosylcobalamin in the mitochondria. The cystol is the fluid found within cells. Mitochondria are the ‘power units’ of the cell, so called because they help supply chemical energy to the cells.
As B12 comes into the body from either supplements or from natural food sources it is broken down by the body and converted into sources of nutrients that the body can deal with and use. This is then used by the cells, which are specialized according to what they do in the body; so the B12 ingested and made bio-available by the body will be used for nerves, blood, brain, cellular regeneration, and the other types of active proteins the body needs.
Very low levels of vitamin B12 in the body can cause serious problems. There are also a range of diseases and health conditions which have similar symptoms to vitamin B12 deficiency. Serious research is alerting the medical profession to possible links between vitamin B12 deficiency and diabetes, multiple sclerosis, depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, neuropathy, dementia and Alzheimer’s, memory dysfunction, autism spectrum disorder, hearing loss, and diseases of the blood and liver.
Apart from these diseases which researchers are finding possible links to, vitamin B12 deficiency has some nasty side-effects which serve to warn people of a possible problem with their vitamin B12 levels. Pernicious Anemia is one consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is caused because of too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Headache, tiredness, pale skin, chest pain and dizziness are some of the symptoms you might have that indicate possible problems. More seriously you can experience shortness of breath, irregular heart-beat and even lose your sense of taste or smell.
B12 deficiency can also lead to paresthesia. Paresthesia is a burning or itchy sensation of the skin, usually on the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Some people experience numbness, tingling, or a prickly feeling.
Low B12 is also sometimes associated with high levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A severe, long-term B12 deficiency can cause loss of mobility, difficulty walking, memory loss, delusions, and depression. It may even lead to dementia.
Since we know that vitamin B12 plays a critical role in the body, is linked to so many disorders and diseases, and, is harmless in doses excess to the body’s requirements, it makes sense to change our diet, and supplement our diet with vitamin B12 to avoid deficiency. The costs to your health and enjoyment of life are just too high to avoid paying attention to this.
Is it time for you to be vitamin B12 aware?
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