B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and a popular choice of supplement when our energy is low. But what is B12 and who needs it most?
B12 is found ONLY in animal protein. It’s in our fish, meat, poultry, milk, and eggs. Organ meats are especially good sources of B12.
The RDA is 2.4-2.6 mcg and even a small amount of animal protein can supply us with all the B12 we need on a daily basis
WHO NEEDS IT MOST?
- The elderly. B12 is bound to its food source and needs to be broken down to become available. Older people may have poor digestion and/or reduced stomach acid activity. This will greatly alter the amount of B12 they get from their food. B12 deficiency can show up with the same symptoms as Alzeihmers and may even be misdiagnosed as this life crippling disease.
- Vegans, vegetarians and anyone that does not consume much animal protein. Thankfully many kinds of cereal are fortified with B12 and the supplement form is synthetic and can be used without conflict to any personal belief or choice.
- Pregnant ladies. B12 travels across the placenta to the unborn baby so if a lady is not eating animal protein and not taking a B12 supplement this can cause the baby to be born with a deficiency and may cause neural damage. Ladies if you are concerned please run this subject by your doctor.
- People with compromised gut health, leaky gut, digestive issues. If you aren’t properly digesting your food then it’s going to be difficult for B12 to remove itself from its host food.
- Any type of intestinal/stomach or lap band surgery. If the surface area of digestion is reduced or damaged it would be wise to take a B12 supplement daily.
- If you are taking any medication that reduces stomach acid. It might be a medication for heartburn or acid reflux. Metformin, the popular diabetes drug may also affect B12 absorption
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED B12?
- Low energy
- Muscle weakness
- Overall fatigue
- Routine blood test
Long-term deficiency can lead to brain shrinkage so it really is better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully B12 is water soluble so you don’t have to worry about taking too much of it as its potential to be toxic is very low. The good news is that the liver can store 5 years worth of B12 so if you gut issues are recent or if you just stopped eating animal protein, your liver has your back – for a while.
I EAT A LOT OF PROTEIN SO I MUST BE OK?
Not so fast. If you eat a lot of protein but your digestion is not good then there lies a problem. This is very common with those who eat poor quality or processed meat.
Animal protein contains an amino acid Methionine which is converted to homocysteine. Homocysteine can build up and be very toxic. B12 and B6 neutralize the toxicity of homocysteine but if you’re deficient then all that protein your eating can end up being toxic.
An essential vitamin that is found in animal protein but sometimes hard to access. A daily supplement will provide you with the active form of B12 and so avoids the pitfalls of any digestive issue you may have.
You don’t need a shot if you take enough B12 daily, although the elderly or those who have been diagnosed as being deficient may benefit from a shot in the behind.
Long-term lack of B12 will absolutely affect memory and brain function, put your parents on auto-ship and then put yourself on a daily dose.