Building blocks of bodily function
Naturally found in numerous animal products, vitamin B12 serves as a building block for red blood cells and DNA. Furthermore, vitamin B12 maintains brain function and nerve cells. Some patients experience megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, depression, and even nerve damage with insufficient levels. To boost energy levels and overall mood, many doctors recommend that patients suffering deficiency symptoms augment a healthy diet with vitamin B12 supplements.
Who’s most at risk for a deficiency?
The body absorbs vitamin B12 in two simple steps. When the supplement hits the stomach, hyaluronic acid separates food from vitamin B12. Once separate, the body combines vitamin B12 with an intrinsic factor protein, absorbing the two components as a pair to maximize nutritional payoff. Deficiency occurs when patients can’t absorb vitamin B12 or create an intrinsic factor protein. Since vitamin B12 is found mainly in animal proteins, vegans and vegetarians experience a higher risk for low levels. Patients over 50 report lower levels of B12 as well due to antacid prescriptions limiting the creation of stomach acid. Without the proper stomach acids, such as intrinsic factors, patients cannot absorb necessary vitamin B12 from food.
Which foods contain vitamin B12?
To prevent anemia, numerous doctors highlight the importance of maintaining a diet rich in vitamin B12. Foods such as fish, meat, eggs, and milk contain high levels of the supplement. Some experts suggest fortified nutritional yeast and breakfast cereals for patients who abstain from animal products. Many physicians suggest an overall dose of 2.4mg of vitamin B12 per day for adults.
Maximizing B12 benefits: interactions to avoid
While vitamin B12 helps keep the body healthy, the supplement interacts unfavorably with key medications. Some physicians note that specific drugs used to treat digestive issues, inflammatory issues, and diabetes limit the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12. To offset any potential problems, patients who experience multiple health conditions should explore medication strategies with the input of healthcare professionals.
Empowering the body with vitamin B12
From red blood cell formation and cell metabolism to nerve function and building DNA, vitamin B12 is an essential supplement for maintaining bodily health. Doctors warn that patients who avoid animal products may experience the highest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. To keep high energy and a good mood, patients must maintain a healthy diet filled with vitamin B12. If absorbance proves impossible, oral supplements are recommended to ensure deficiency stops before even starting.