Vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body. Vitamin B12 is a special vitamin. It is essential for the production of red blood cells, proper functioning of the nervous system, repair of body cells and brain function.
Many people wonder if they are deficient in this vitamin and what to look out for. Does it make sense to take extra vitamin B12 and can too much harm? In this article, we'll take a closer look at this. Are you reading along?
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is part of the vitamin B complex. When we talk about B vitamins, we are talking about water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin B12 is special because we can mainly get it from animal foods.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the body. We can only absorb it from the diet. It differs per person how much and how efficiently the vitamin B12 is absorbed. This also has to do with the form in which the vitamin B12 enters the body. There are namely 4 forms, the biologically active forms methyl- and adenosylcobalamin and in addition hydroxo- and the synthetic cyanocobalamin.
The body mainly contains methyl and adenosylcobalamin, so the body can absorb these bioactive forms most easily.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system and immune system. Reduces fatigue and stimulates energy balance.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is therefore mainly found in animal products, such as dairy products, meat, fish and eggs. Vitamin B12 can be found in vegetable products, for example in dried seaweed and algae. Unfortunately, the amounts are very small and it is a variant that the body cannot absorb properly.
People who eat little or no animal products, such as vegans or vegetarians, have a greater chance of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vegans who do not take a supplement run the greatest risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The elderly are also at risk because the absorption of vitamin B12 deteriorates with age. About 5-10% of the total population has a vitamin B12 deficiency, but among the elderly this percentage is between 20-30%.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding it is also very important to get enough B12 for the development of the baby.
Deficiency of Vitamin B12
A deficiency of B12 develops gradually but is probably more common than thought. The body stores vitamin B12 for use at a later stage. That is why it can take months before you realize that you have a deficiency. In addition, the symptoms are very diverse so that it is easily overlooked.
When you have a deficiency of vitamin B12, your body will function less well, which can lead to the following physical reactions:
- Chronic fatigue and feeling of weakness
- Light-headedness, dizziness
- Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, especially with exertion
- Muscle weakness on exertion, muscle tremors
- Increased heartrate
- Pale skin and lips
- ringing in the ears
- Cold hands and feet
- Tingling in the fingers
- Yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Unexplained prolonged fever
- nerve pain
- Impaired sense of smell, sight and hearing
- Nausea or lack of appetite
In addition, a B12 deficiency can also cause mental reactions such as:
- Mood swings, or personality change
- Thinking, Concentration, Memory Problems
- Depression, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, dementia
You can trace a vitamin B12 deficiency by doing a blood test through your doctor.
Vitamin B12 requirement
An easy way to make sure you meet your vitamin B12 needs is through supplements. In general, these are also better absorbed by the body than B12 from food. Just make sure you take a combination of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin so that your body can absorb the vitamin B12 directly and easily.
1000mcg per day is sufficient to meet the daily requirement. This may seem a bit much, but overdose is necessary with vitamin B12. If you really have a serious deficiency of vitamin B12, even a double dose may sometimes be recommended by the doctor. The excess will be removed by the body through the urine.
Vitamin B12 from Ekopura
Recently Ekopura developed a vitamin B12 ourselves made of 550mcg Methylcobalamin and 550mcg Adenosylcobalamin for optimal absorption and completely according to the Ekopura philosophy. The B12 comes in the form of 120 small capsules and provides a 4-month supply with daily use.
Most Vitamin B12 supplements come in the form of lozenges with all kinds of artificial and unnecessary additives to give the product a taste and make it soluble in the mouth.
Methyl and adenosylcobalamin are well absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Ekopura therefore chooses to offer the B12 in vegetable capsules without unnecessary, unhealthy additives and flavors.
Look here for more information about the Ekopura VeganVitamin B12 capsules.
To learn more about vitamins in general, read our blog Which vitamins and minerals are important for athletes?.
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