A question that has been popping up recently has been members asking if vitamin B12 is something they should be taking. They have heard from people who are getting VitB12 injections to help with their energy, and who doesn't want more energy? So, lets dive into Vitamin B12, what it is, who its for and if you should be supplementing with it or getting injections.
What is Vitamin B12?
It is a water soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, available as a dietary supplement and as a prescription medication. Water soluble means that it needs to be released with water. When eating a food with it in it then the saliva is the first point of actively releasing the vitamin. Supplements and medications are already made in the free form so do not require water.
Vitamin B12 is required for the development and function of the central nervous system, healthy red blood cells and DNA synthesis. Our central nervous system (our brain and spinal cord) receives, processes and responds to sensory information.
What can cause low vitamin B12 levels?
A normal level of Vitamin B12 can be assessed through a lab blood test. Normal ranges are between 170-800pmol/L. Low levels of B12 can be caused by things such as: difficulty absorbing B12 from food, anemia, surgery in the gastrointestinal tract, prolonged use of certain medications (metformin, proton pump inhibitors) and dietary deficiency.
Signs and symptoms of B12 deficeincy:
a pale yellow tinge to your skin.
a sore and red tongue
pins and needles
changes in the way that you walk and move around.
Where can we get natural vitamin B12 from?
Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. In addition, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified nutritional yeasts are readily available sources of vitamin B12 that have high bioavailability.
So does vitamin B12 give you energy?
B12 does not directly provide energy, it does however give the body the tools it needs to convert food molecules into energy. Getting the recommended daily amount of B12 can therefore ensure that the body is able to make the energy it needs.
Daily B12 requirements:
Life Stage Recommended Amount
Children 9–13 years 1.8 mcg
Teens 14–18 years 2.4 mcg
Adults 2.4 mcg
Pregnant teens, women 2.6 mcg
So how do we know if its for us?
I think the take away from all this information is that unless we have one of the listed conditions or take some of the medication above, then a natural diet with healthy foods should be enough to maintain our dietary requirements. If you do have any concerns then please check with your GP and ask if you have been tested for it before. As always feel free to chat to us about any other questions you might have.