Supplement of the Month: Vitamin B12
One of the typical questions we get asked is, “I went to my doctor and they said from my blood tests that my B12 is low. How do I fix this?” Vitamin B12 goes by many names and one we have in the office is called Methylcobalamin. By sitting down with Dr. Jordan or Dr. Jade they can discuss what the course of treatment can be to get you on track
How do we become deficient in B12?
Your body does not make vitamin B12, so you have to get it from animal-based foods or from supplements. You should do that on a regular basis, because your body doesn’t store vitamin B12 in the liver for a long time. With age, it can become harder to absorb this vitamin. There are a few ways of being deficient:
- Not enough intake of B12. Vegans and vegetarians are at a greater risk due to eliminating certain foods from their diet.
- Impaired B12 absorption can be caused by a number of underlying issues, all requiring different treatments. Perhaps the most common problem is pernicious anemia, where your body can no longer produce and secrete an important protein called intrinsic factor (IF).Without IF, your ability to absorb B12 from dietary foods is greatly reduced.
- Achlorhydria is a lack of gastric acid in the stomach, which prevents B12 (and various other vitamins) from being absorbed from food effectively. It most often affects the elderly, putting them at greater risk. People suffering from achlorhydria cannot get sufficient B12 because it is bound to proteins in food, and without enough gastric acid, you can’t break it down. Fortunately this is easily treatable with supplements.
What type of food can I get B12 from?
You can get vitamin B12 in animal foods, which have it naturally, or from items that have been fortified with it. Foods high in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, fish, crab, fortified soy products (tofu, soymilk), fortified cereals, red meat, low fat dairy, cheese, and eggs.
It is important to note that B12 is usually found in supplements in the form cyanocobalamin. This form does not occur naturally in plants or animals. This type of B12 can be dangerous as your body has to eliminate the cyanide molecule. Methylcobalamin is not only the safer version of B12, but the most easily absorbed version.
Why do I need to worry if I don’t have enough B12?
A slight deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, shortness of breath, mania, impaired memory and depression. While a long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 is also important in DNA synthesis.
For the month of June we will be featuring our supplement B12 (Methylcobalamin). If you have any questions or are concerned you might have a B12 deficiency please call our office at 847-362-4476 to have a FREE consult with either Dr. Jade or Dr. Jordan. Mention this blog to receive 10% of our *supplements.
*while supplies last