Should I Be Taking A B12 Supplement?

There are several forms of B12 and the thing they all have in common is they all contain the mineral cobalt. The body doesn’t produce, so it has to come from the food you eat or from a supplement. It’s not actually in the food, but instead, the bacteria in the gut converts certain foods to B12. Animal products, such as eggs, fish, poultry and milk products are the raw material used for conversion by bacteria. It’s not present in plant-based food, but is often added to fortified cereal and nutritional yeast.

A poor appetite, special diet or absorption problems may cause a lack of B12 vitamins.

Heart palpitations, shortness of breath and a smooth looking tongue are three signs of a B12 shortage. Feeling lightheaded and exhausted may be also. If you’ve had digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, or pale skin, mental issues, memory loss or numbness and tingling, they are also signs of a deficiency. The problem may be your diet or could be medication blocking the absorption of B12.

Vegetarians may have a hard time getting adequate B12.

Since animal products are the best sources for the bacteria to use to create B12, it’s very possible vegetarians will find it difficult to get an adequate amount. Eating three ounces of beef liver will provide 3,000% of your daily value, with ten small clams, three ounces, providing approximately 3500%. Seafood, such as salmon, has over 200 % of your daily requirement. Poultry contains the smallest amount of all types of animal sources. Vegetarians can opt for nutritional yeast or fortified products to get their requirements filled.

B12 is an essential micronutrient that’s necessary for cell metabolism.

It’s water-soluble, so any excess flushes out of your body. You need it for your nervous system and the creation of red blood cells. Considering how important it is, ensuring you have enough is important, but more so for vegans and people with impaired digestion. Whether it’s lack of calcium, old age or low stomach acidity, these factors can reduce the amount of B12 that’s absorbed. Genetics and dietary factors, like lack of folic acid, also affects B12 absorption negatively. Folic acid is in green leafy vegetables.

  • Crohn’s and celiac disease can lead to B12 deficiency. Lupus, graves and certain medications are also responsible for some deficiencies. Heartburn medications, certain ones for diabetes, PPI blockers are also a few responsible for poor absorption.
  • B12 that’s made in the body by bacteria is absorbed in the intestines, while supplements are absorbed directly in the stomach, with excess going to the liver for future use.
  • Meat, poultry and fish have high amounts of B12, but the body only absorbs it at a rate of 42 to 60%. Milk products, particularly yogurt, have a higher rate, between 50 and 80%. The B12 in eggs is only at a 9% absorption rate.
  • If you think you need B12 supplementation, always check with your health care professional first. You may have another problem or a problem creating a deficiency that needs to be addressed.

For more information, contact us today at Skin Sport Fitness Center

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