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Posts Tagged ‘b12 food sources’

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

Monday, November 18th, 2013



Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the body- and the hardest to digest, for many people. A water-based B vitamin, cobalamin is essential for the nervous system, blood cells, and for DNA. Yet an increasing number of people don’t get enough vitamin B12 from food, and as a result feel fatigued and disoriented from pernicious anemia.

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 is essential for survival; it is involved in some of the most vital processes that take place in the body.

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain production of healthy red blood cells. Without enough vitamin B12 in your system, your body starts producing overlarge irregular-shaped blood cells that cannot function properly, resulting in a depletion of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

Vitamin B12 also aids in converting carbohydrates into necessary energy, ensuring that you have plenty of stamina and mental focus during the day.

Vitamin B12 enhances your nervous system functioning by helping to maintain myelin, a fatty coating that surrounds each individual nerve cell.

Vitamin B12 supports cell reproduction and renewal in preventing common signs of aging.

Boost your Metabolism with Vitamin B12

What foods provide vitamin B12?

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include meats, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Among these, organ meat and shellfish provide the richest natural source of vitamin B12.

While it’s possible to find vegan products that are fortified with vitamins such as B12, these are not natural forms of the vitamin, and don’t provide the maximum amount needed to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels.

To prevent deficiency, vegans and vegetarians are recommended to take vitamin B12 supplements on a regular basis.

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is complicated

Vitamin B12 is one of the few nutrients that require a cofactor for proper absorption. It’s not a simple matter of eating plenty of foods the contain vitamin B12, such as beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products. To complete the digestion process, your body uses a digestive enzyme called intrinsic factor, which bonds to the vitamin and escorts it through your digestive system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia

If your vitamin B12 levels have been low for a very long period of time, you may have pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs when people are unable to produce intrinsic factor.

Pernicious anemia can result from an autoimmune disorder or it can occur as a result of damage to the stomach lining (gastritis).

If you have pernicious anemia, then you can’t get enough vitamin B12 from swallowing pills or other dietary supplements. Only supplementation with a highly-absorbable form of vitamin B12 that enters directly into the blood stream can reverse the symptoms of severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Risk factors for pernicious anemia include:

  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Removal of ilium for Crohn’s disease
  • Metformin for diabetes
  • Protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) for GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn, or ulcer
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic migraines
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

By the time you start to notice the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, you are already on a dangerous decline, as it takes years for the symptoms to manifest themselves. Also, blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency don’t give you ample warning to up your vitamin B12 intake, as they only test for extremely low levels of vitamin B12, and aren’t always even accurate in such screenings.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Constant fatigue, even after sleeping well
  • Depression
  • Slow talking and thinking
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, eye twitches
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Sore, burning red tongue

How much B12 do I need?

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 consumption for healthy people who don’t have a deficiency is a scant 2 or 3 micrograms per day. Why then do most vitamin B12 supplements contain a whopping 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 in one weekly dose?

If you are unable to produce intrinsic factor, then you can only digest about 1% of all the vitamin B12 you get from foods, pills, or other supplements.

So, to get the amount you need to keep your B12 levels at a normal rate, you need to take about 100 times the amount any other person would need to stay healthy.

Please tell us…

Have you ever been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Do you suffer from chronic fatigue that you can’t explain?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

Monday, October 28th, 2013



Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur because of diet, medication, or gastrointestinal surgery, but it can also be hereditary. Genetic pernicious anemia is a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency that sometimes slips right off the radar, yet can produce debilitating symptoms of extreme fatigue, disorientation, muscular pain, and depression.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?

Listed are just some of the most common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. For a more complete list, see vitamin B12 deficiency causes.


Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based food sources such as fish, chicken, beef, and dairy products. The foods that have the most vitamin B12 are shellfish and organ meats. So if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it’s vitally important to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent becoming anemic.


Certain medications can inhibit your ability to digest vitamin B12 from foods; these include PPIs for acid reflux and heartburn, metformin for diabetes, and certain antidepressants.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Also, if you’ve ever had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or gastrointestinal surgery for Crohn’s disease, then you are required to take lifelong vitamin B12 supplements.

Autoimmune diseases

The more autoimmune disorders you have, the likelier your chances of developing new ailments caused by a weak immune system. Vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia is one such autoimmune disease that can occur alone or along with other genetic autoimmune dysfunctions.

Genetic pernicious anemia is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme needed to absorb vitamin B12.

Pernicious anemia can occur as an autoimmune disorder, or it can develop as a comorbid condition to other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or celiac disease.

If you eat a healthy diet of lean meats and seafood, and you don’t fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, then your cause of vitamin B12 deficiency may be genetic.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Vitamin B12 is crucial for many important biochemical responses throughout your body. Vitamin B12 aids in red blood cell formation, and also sustains healthy neurological functioning.

Vitamin B12 boosts cellular energy, supports a good metabolism, and helps to regulate levels of homocysteine, a hormone linked with heart attack and stroke.

Untreated, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia can result severe irreversible damage to your nervous system, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, cognitive impairments, and sometimes, death.

Getting tested

Off the bat, your family medical history can tell you if you’re prone to vitamin B12 deficiency from genetic pernicious anemia. If anybody in your family suffers from pernicious anemia or any autoimmune disorder, then your chances of developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency are higher than normal.

You can test for vitamin B12 deficiency easily with one blood test, but the results are not always accurate. In diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor should pay attention to the symptoms you’re experiencing and how well you’re responding to vitamin B12 supplementation.

Please tell us…

Do you or your parents have vitamin B12 deficiency? Have you found a genetic link to that or other autoimmune disorders?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.
Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/freedigitalphotos

B12 Vitamin Food sources, Deficiency and Vegeterianism

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Vitamin B12′s primary functions are in the formation of red blood cells, DNA synthesis and the maintenance of the nervous system. If B12 deficiency occurs, DNA production is disrupted and abnormal cells called megaloblasts manifest, which results in anemia. B12 protect the nerves which are surrounded by an insulating fatty sheath called the myelin. B12 plays a vital role in the metabolism of fatty acids essential for the maintenance of myelin. Prolonged B12 deficiency can lead to nerve degeneration and irreversible neurological damage. When deficiency occurs, it is more commonly linked to a failure to effectively absorb B12 from the intestine rather than the lack of B12-rich foods.

Vitamin B12 can be stored in small amounts by the body. Total body store is 2-5mg in adults. Around 80% of this is stored in the liver. Vitamin B12 is excreted in the bile and is then effectively reabsorbed – this is known as enterohepatic circulation. People on diets low in B12 may be obtaining more B12 from re-absorption than from the food they ingest. Re-absorption of the B12 from the bile is the reason it can take over 20 years for deficiency disease to develop. In comparison, if B12 deficiency is due to a failure in the absorption mechanisms it can take only 3 years for deficiency disease to occur.

The only reliable dietary sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy and eggs. The considerable research into possible plant food sources of B12 turned up few positive results. Fermented soya products, seaweeds and algae have all been proposed as possible sources of B12 because they are products which have been “pre-digested” into various amino acids, making them easier to absorb. However, analysis of fermented soya products, including tempeh, miso, shoyu and tamari, found no significant B12.

Spirulina, algae available as a dietary supplement in tablet form, and nori, a seaweed, have both appeared to contain significant amounts of B12 after analysis. However, it is thought that this is due to the presence of compounds structurally similar to B12, known as B12 analogues. These cannot be used satisfy dietary needs. The body is unable to differentiate between B12 and its analogues. Researchers have suggested that supposed B12 supplements such as spirulina may in fact increase the risk of B12 deficiency disease, as the B12 analogues can compete with B12 and inhibit metabolism. The current nutritional consensus is that no plant foods can be relied on as a safe source of vitamin B12.

Bacteria present in the large intestine are able to synthesize B12. In the past, it has been thought that the B12 produced by these colonic bacteria could be absorbed and utilized. However, the bacteria produce B12 too far down in the intestine, and as B12 is not absorbed through the colon lining, this B12 just gets flushed out of the system. Supplementations such as the injections should be used if you begin to experience the symptoms of B12 deficiency and you know that you are at risk.

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