Vitamin B12 is a very important complex vitamin that the body uses in the manufacturing of red blood cells. It is also important for other bodily processes. Vitamin B12 is attributed to having a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is vital that Vitamin B12 is absorbed correctly by the body.
There are only a couple of ways to get vitamin B12. The first way is through food sources, where it is naturally found in animal products. The second way is through supplements. Food sources is the best way to feed the body vitamin B12, because the body recognizes food sources and breaks down the food effectively pulling out the nutrients and processing them and discarding the waste. Not everyone can eat the natural food sources of Vitamin B12, some people choose to avoid animal products and for them, there are foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Food sources that contain vitamin B12 are all animal products, plants do not have the necessary bacteria to synthesize vitamin B12, animals do. There is a complex process which breaks down and synthesizes acids, cobalt and corrin ring molecules into Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is the most chemically complex of all the vitamins. The synthesis which occurs naturally in animals and the resulting Vitamin B12 in their products is mimicked in laboratories to produce supplements through a fermentation process, using the microbes that are naturally found in the stomach linings of most animals.
Animal products that contain Vitamin B12 include, meats, eggs, cheeses, milk and any products containing the aforementioned. This may be problematic for vegans, or folks that have dietary restrictions that prevent the consumption of the foods containing Vitamin B12. If a person cannot consume the proper foods for whatever reason, they can turn to supplements to insure a proper level of Vitamin B12.
Supplements are offered in a variety of delivery methods, ranging from a simple pill to an injection. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of Vitamin B12 that is delivered orally by pill; there is some concern that it is not being absorbed as it should. There are other methods of delivery that are much better received by the body. Sublingual drops placed under the tongue are thought to be a much more effective delivery method. The injections are the best artificial delivery method for Vitamin B12.
There are other options to receive sufficient Vitamin B12. Some foods have been enhanced with Vitamin B12, none animal product type foods are often enhanced with Vitamin B12. Some of the only non animal food products that are fortified with Vitamin B12 are breakfast cereals. There are vitamin water drinks but they only contain about ten percent of the RDA (recommended daily allowances). Some fiber powders that are sprinkled on foods are fortified with Vitamin B12. There are drinks that are also fortified with Vitamin B12, mainly they are energy drinks that unfortunately also contain caffeine in high doses and a few other chemicals that are not good for the body. The choice for vegetarians and lacto intolerant folks is very limited when it comes to foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12.