Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that your body needs to thrive but is unable to produce on its own. It is found naturally in animal products, such as meat, fish and dairy, and is also readily available in supplement form.
This important vitamin is critical to the body’s metabolic function and energy production. It even helps to create DNA, the genetic material in every cell of the body.
Read on to learn more about this powerhouse vitamin.
Why you need vitamin B12
Your body needs vitamin B12 to function properly. It plays an essential role in the formation and metabolism of your red blood cells. It also helps maintain the overall health of your nerve cells and works to form their protective covering, known as the myelin sheath. And as if that weren’t enough, this dynamic nutrient does so much more.
Vitamin B12 helps to maintain normal brain function and support healthy bones. It’s important for eyesight, healthy skin, hair and nails, and prevents certain types of anemia. It’s even known to improve your memory, your mood and your energy level! You could say that vitamin B12 is like the superhero of vitamins.
But despite it’s indispensable benefits, vitamin B12 is water soluble. This means that it can dissolve in water and therefore is carried to the body’s tissues, but is not stored in the body. So you must get vitamin B12 through the foods you eat, or through supplementation, which leads to the natural question, “What happens if I don’t get enough?”
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Fortunately, most people in the U.S. get enough vitamin B12 in their diets, but as we age, it can become more difficult to absorb. Also, people with certain immune system disorders or conditions that affect the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, may be more likely to develop a deficiency. For those who eat a vegan diet, it is important to look out for a B12 deficiency since the vitamin is found primarily in meat and dairy products.
Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling weak, tired or lightheaded. Some people experience nerve problems such as numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, muscle weakness or difficulty walking. Depression and memory loss can also be symptoms, as can pale skin or loss of appetite. People with a vitamin B12 deficiency can even become anemic. Fortunately, a B12 deficiency can typically be reversed with vitamin supplements.
Best sources of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products. Organ meats such as liver and kidneys are rich in vitamin B12. Beef and chicken are also excellent sources. And for those that prefer to get their nutrients from the sea, fish, particularly trout, salmon, tuna, sardines and shellfish also have a high vitamin B12 content.
It’s not only meat that contains B12. Eggs and dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, also contain high levels of this essential vitamin. Some items are fortified as well, for example certain nondairy milk substitutes and certain cereals.
All B12 vitamins are not the same
When it comes to vitamin B12, it’s important to recognize that not all forms are the same. The most common form found in supplements is called cyanocobalamin, which is a manufactured form that is not derived from animals or from plants. As its name implies, it contains a cyanide molecule, not in a harmful amount, of course, but is still something that your body has to remove through detoxification.
Two other available forms are naturally occurring: methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. The names may be tongue twisters, but all you really need to know is that they are considered to be more active and they do a better job of generating the chemical reactions needed for good health. Each one has slightly different health advantages, but both are better absorbed and retained in the tissues in higher amounts than the cyanocobalamin form.
Learn more about the different forms of vitamin B12 here.
Dr. D’Adamo’s B12 formulation - Methyl 12 Plus
Like all of Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s supplements, Methyl 12 Plus has been formulated to achieve one primary goal – optimal health. This activated form of vitamin B blends together both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin to maximize absorption and utilization. It also contains nature identical vitamin B9 (folate). (Note: this is not the synthetic form of B9, often referred to as folic acid.)
Many patients report that Methyl 12 Plus increases energy levels and regulates sleep patterns, helping them to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
Methyl 12 Plus is 100% vegetarian and is suitable for all blood types. Produced in the USA, Methyl 12 Plus is a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) quality assured and certified product as outlined by the Natural Products Association, with an “A” compliance rating.
If you are considering adding B12 or other supplements to your diet, we invite you to explore D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition supplements, custom-made for your blood type and health goals. Not sure which supplements are right for you? Try our free, trusted supplement advisor tool.