Vitamin B-12 is a powerhouse nutrient, what I refer to as “Food for Life”. Energy levels, mental health, heart, brain, cardiovascular system, and nervous system…these RELY on B-12.
B-12 contributes to the formation of blood cells, nerve cells, and even DNA. In particular, B-12 plays an essential role in white blood cell production, which are essential for the immune system. Without B-12, your immune system and metabolism would be completely out of whack. B-12 supports thyroid health, melatonin production, and helps with serotonin production.
This nutrient, created by soil based bacteria, works in the final section of the small intestine, a little piece called the ileum. The major function of the ileum being to absorb B-12.
Approximately 40% of population is deficient in “Life’s Most Important Nutrient”. If you’re feeling tired, confused, low energy, weak, sluggish, anxious – those are initial deficiency symptoms. While it will take a blood test to confirm deficiency, there are certain groups of individuals at a higher risk:
- You’ve spent years consuming MSG, gluten, high fructose corn syrup – You may be on a better track now, but years of eating processed foods, drinking soda, and eating takeout wreck havoc on B-12 production.
- You’re a long term hormonal birth control user – Studies show that pills higher in estrogen are associated with B12 deficiencies, leading us to assume that estrogen interferes with absorption
- You’re a vegetarian – B12 is primarily sourced from animal products and the plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs. An analog blocks the uptake of true B12, so your body’s need for the nutrient actually increases.
- You’re over the age of 50 – As you age, vitamin absorption decreases due to stomach acid decreasing. This depletion of stomach acid, coupled with an increased intake of medications, and deficiency increases with age.
- You suffer from GI issues, or digestive problems and/or take heartburn medication – Prescription heartburn meds suppress stomach acid production, which is essential for B12 absorption (Pepcid, Nexium, Zantac), if you take these regularly, B12 deficiency can be of concern.
- You have more than a few drinks daily (on average) – Frequent alcohol use irritates stomach lining and contributes to low stomach acid, which contributes to reduced B12 absorption. B12 is produced in the ileum, but stored in the liver, therefore impaired liver function contributes to depletion of B12 stores.
Is treating B12 deficiency as easy as taking a supplement?
It’s important to note that most oral B12 supplements do not work well at all. B12 is not easily absorbed. The body has a very refined system for absorbing it. This involves enzymes and stomach factors that allow the B12 to be absorbed.
In addition to the right supplement, these are three things crucial for B12 absorption:
- Elevated Probiotics – Bacterial imbalance will prevent absorption, elevating probiotics can combat this. A regimen of minimum 100B probiotics daily is recommended
- Enzymes – Taking Enzymedica Digest Gold ATPro with meals is a great way to boost enzyme production
- Celery Juice – Juicing fresh, organic celery daily for 2 weeks will increase the production of HCL in the stomach, allowing for better absorption of B12. Approx. 16 ounces each morning or a small bunch juiced will do the trick.
What to take?
Your B12 supplement should be Methocobalamin (the best form to absorb) combined with Adenosyclobalmin. This is the perfect combo for supplementation.
**Avoid any B12 supplement with cynoclobalamin, this is not easily absorbed**
I recommend Global Healing B-12. This liquid supplement is a blend of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the two most bioactive forms of vitamin B-12, that are more absorbable and bioavailable. Plus, this supplement is vegan friendly.
The good news for concerns with B12 supplementation
Good news if you need to refill your stores of this nutrient, but worry about taking too much – B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body only absorbs a small amount. Large amounts of B12 at one time may cause diarrhea and all-over itchiness, but this is a rare occurance and can be avoided with proper dosing.