Importance of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is a B vitamin necessary for cardiovascular and cognitive health. It is essential for DNA synthesis1 [natural or artificial creation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)] molecules, while it helps in the production of hemoglobin, improvement of nerve strength and regulation of homocysteine levels.2 B12 can also help support healthy cognitive function and energy levels.3
Many Are Deficient In This Essential Micro-nutrient
Unfortunately, the human body cannot produce this vitamin, and mainly depends on your diet to get ample supply. Vitamin B12 is naturally produced by anaerobic microorganisms commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract of animals.4 This means that the majority of B12 sources are either meat or poultry products, which is why many vegetarians and vegans are typically lacking this nutrient. However, B12 deficiency is not only seen in those following a vegetarian diet. Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study5 suggest that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma B12 levels in the low normal range – a range at which many experience neurological symptoms. 9 percent had outright deficiency, and 16 percent exhibited “near deficiency”.
How to Help Prevent B12 Deficiency
Consume Whole Food Sources that Contain Vitamin B12
The best option would be to start getting this essential B vitamin from whole food sources. Animal products – whether dairy, poultry or meat – are excellent sources of vitamin B12. If you suspect that you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 into your system, here are some food products that you should consider adding to your diet (just make sure that you’re getting these from high-quality sources to keep yourself safe from chemicals and other harmful materials used in conventional farms):6
- Wild Caught Sardines
- Pasture-raised organic eggs
- Raw organic grass-fed milk
- Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
- Grass-fed Beef
- Organic free-range chicken
- Wild caught Herring
Supplementing With Vitamin B12
For anyone in general, but especially for vegans or vegetarians. Another option, that in my opinion can be efficacious but not as beneficial as getting B12 from whole food sources, is to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. Some of the options for vegans and vegetarians include B12 capsules, sprays and B12 shots. However, you should pay attention to the type of B12 used in these products to make sure that you’re getting the form your body needs. Two types of vitamin B12 available in the market are:7
- Cyanocobalamin, is the most popular type of vitamin B12 available because it’s cheaper and easier to produce. Cyanocobalamin is normally synthesized in laboratories and does not naturally occur in the human body. Once it is introduced to your system, the body then converts it into methylcobalamin.
- Methylcobalamin, this type is said to be the active form of vitamin B12 and is able to remain in the body longer. I recommend looking for B12 supplements that use this type to make sure that your body absorbs the vitamin up front. It’s the natural form of this vitamin, so the body isn’t required to convert it to another form. It’s more easily utilized and is more effective that cyanocobalamin.
Liposomal Methyl-B12, Possibly the Best Delivery System Available
Interestingly there is a way to make methylcobalamin even more bio-available or absorbable, up to 20x more than standard formulations! How is this done? To answer this in one word it comes down to – liposomes. Liposomes8 can be seen as natural, nano-scopic (very tiny) perfectly-sealed bubbles that encapsulate vitamins, such as B-12, in order to shield them from degrading elements in the environment and the digestive system. Because of their sub-microscopic size (again very tiny) and their composition, liposomes slip right through the digestive system unharmed and unchanged. This allows for greater absorbability and thus greater benefits. One company I know has patented their micelle liposomal delivery methods is Purathrive.9 Purathrive produces a Liposomal Methyl B12 spray10 that uses their patented delivery system which has been clinically proven to be 20x more absorbable than other standard formulations!8 Purathrive is also home to other supplements that use liposomes, for whomever may be interested.