National Nutrition Month

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Let's talk B12.

March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time to chat about Vitamin B12, and clear up the confusion on this important vitamin involved in a multitude of reactions in the body. B12 is needed to make DNA, blood cells, support healthy brain function (and the nervous system as a whole), it is involved in cellular processes throughout the body and the metabolism of fats and proteins.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency can cause mood problems, poor memory, exhaustion and if it is not addressed it can cause other complications.

What’s the deal with B12? and do you need it? 

I hear this all of the time and it is a valid and important conversation to have with your Dietitian Nutritionist.  

Here are some questions to consider asking yourself when it comes to B12:

  1. Do I follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle? 
  2. Do I have digestive concerns (tummy health problems)?  
  3. Is my energy low? and have I ruled out other potential causes of low energy? 
  4. Is my diet not varied, and although I am not vegan…. I don't consume much Animal product or animal byproduct….?  
  5. Do I have an autoimmune diagnosis? 
  6. Do I take a lot of antacids or an acid blocking medication? 

(Note: as we age we are at higher risk for a B12 deficiency)

If you answered yes to any of the above questions you should consider discussing B12 supplementation with your Doctor or Dietitian Nutritionist; and having bloodwork drawn to assess if there is a deficiency and what the cause is. Our bloodwork is usually fairly telling…and in most cases it is easy to assess if someone needs a little B12 LOVE! 

A few important things to know about B12

Just like everything else it isn't magic. So sorry… I know, I too want to be the Magic Makerrrrr! It IS a powerhouse vitamin but you will only feel the powerhouse support if you actually need it. 

As we age our ability to absorb B12 can become compromised and we might think we are absorbing B12 from our diet but we may not be. Intrinsic factor (IF) is something that is needed in the system to absorb B12 in the small intestine and this may decline with age (as well as acid presence in the gut) increasing someone's risk for B12 deficiency.

It's important to note that there are different forms of B12 found in supplementation. Depending on your reason for seeking out B12 supplementation, this will determine which form your Dietitian Nutritionist or Doctor may suggest.

If you are supplementing with B12 because you are either deficient or because you believe you are deficient related to diet or absorption in the GI; then I suggest and believe it is ideal to take a sublingual form (under the tongue), in Methylcobalamin form; to go straight into the blood stream for absorption.  

This form and delivery keeps you from depending on the digestive tract for absorption.  

In addition, many people do not know that they are UNABLE to convert Cyano--> to the Methyl form in the body..... This is fairly common so why spend money on a product that you may never absorb or be able to convert! 

I don't think Cyanocobalamin is bad, I just think that Methylcobalamin is more appropriate for a potentially B12 deficient individual.  

Generally, the amount of B12 in a multi is not enough for someone who NEEDS to REPLETE their B12 levels. It is there to provide the broad spectrum of B-Vitamins to work together. For this reason in a multivitamin it is very common to see Cyanocobalamin. As, the B12 is there to work synergistically with the other B vitamins.  

If you are concerned about whether you may need B12 supplementation, feel free to reach out to us... let's discuss why it may or may not be appropriate for you. 

Healthfully,
Jaime