What is it?
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble nutrient and is measured in milligrams. Also known as Cobalamin, it’s one of the eight B vitamins (known collectively as B complex). Vitamin B12 has many functions in the body.
|Function||How it helps|
|Essential Coenzyme.||B12 is needed for the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is essential for the manufacture and recycling of numerous essential substances in the body and proper cell multiplication is also dependent on B12.|
|Blood Building||B12 is especially important in the production of healthy red blood cells Without adequate B12, the red blood cells enlarge and do not mature properly, leading to the potentially dangerous condition known as pernicious (megaloblastic) anaemia.|
|Nerve Function||B12 is needed for the manufacture of the phospholipids (required for proper nerve transmission) and the myelin sheath (which covers and protects nerve cells and enhances conduction of nerve messages).|
|Mental Function and Emotional Health||B12 is deeply involved in the recycling of the brain’s neurotransmitters which are responsible for memory, mental clarity and alertness, mood and many other processes. B12 deficiency can cause depression and many symptoms of cognitive decline (manifesting similarly to Alzheimer’s Disease).|
|Cardiovascular Health||B12 can help protect blood vessel walls by helping recycle homocysteine, a major risk factor in the development of artherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.|
What is it used for?
|Male infertility (low sperm count)||Multiple Sclerosis||Post partum haemorrhage|
Cardiovascular disease (when associated with elevated homocysteine levels)
Best food sources
|Whole cereal grains||Turkey||Lentils & beans (especially soy)|
|Skin disorders||Dizziness||Impaired glucose tolerance|
|Sores in the mouth||Mental confusion||Hyperactivity|
|Anaemia||Seizures||Cracks in tongue and lips|
|Nervous tension & irritability||Pre-menstrual symptoms||Autism|
Vegetarians and Vegans may need to take extra B12 as there is little in their diet.
This nutrient also works with Folic Acid and Vitamin B6 to lower homocysteine levels.
No known toxicity for levels found in supplements.
High doses of single B-vitamins may deplete other B-vitamins; therefore if high doses are required, supplementation with a multivitamin or B-complex is advised.Please note: Folic acid can mask the signs of B12 deficiency. If high levels of folic acid are used it is recommended to supplement with B12 as well. Vegan and vegetarian diets are often high in folic acid and low in B12, which may warrant B12 supplementation.
|Factors which deplete levels, impair absorption and/or inhibit activity:|
|Kidney failure||High protein intake||Antibiotics|
|Oral contraceptives||Vitamin B2 or magnesium deficiency||Artificial food dyes|
|Chronic fatigue syndrome||Diuretics||Corticosteroids|