Why you should be taking vitamin B12 (yes, you!)

Why you should be taking vitamin B12 (yes, you!)

27th November 2021. Written by Emily Birch for VitalOrganico
Read time: 5 minutes
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ve most likely been prompted to supplement your diet with vitamin B12 at some point. But did you know that if you eat meat, are pescatarian or flexitarian, the chances are that you need additional B12 too?
What does vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, which simply means that our bodies need it to survive.
Derived from a group of compounds known as cobalamins (so called because they contain the mineral, cobalt), vitamin B12 is a water soluble, highly complex vitamin which our bodies are unable to make. This means that we have to ensure that we consume it via the food we eat, or by
Vitamin B12 is important because it plays a vital role in some of the most critical processes in the body. It’s required for the proper function of your brain and nervous system, the making of your red blood cells and is even an essential co-factor in the production of your DNA. In fact, vitamin B12 is so
critical to health that it appears on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
Also known as hydroxocobalamin, you may have seen Vitamin B12 in supplement form as cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin.

Where do we get vitamin B12 from?
Vitamin B12 is naturally synthesized by certain bacteria and other microorganisms called archaea, which are primarily found in soil.
As animals graze, they ingest vitamin B12 from the soil and this, as well as being exposed to bacterialaden manure and drinking untreated water, causes them to accumulate vitamin B12 in their body tissues. As our soil quality has dramatically dropped over the last few decades, farmed animals are
also often given supplemental feed fortified with vitamin B12. Just like us, they’re unable to make vitamin B12 themselves and must have adequate amounts of it in their diet to remain healthy.
Once upon a time, we would have obtained our vitamin B12 in much the same way as the farmed animals do. In years gone by, when families grew their own vegetables in soil that was far richer in nutrients that it is today, food hygiene practices weren’t as stringent as they are now and we didn’t treat our water supply, we had more exposure to beneficial bacteria and therefore, more access to vitamin B12. However, the latter advances are positive; whilst we don’t get vitamin B12 from our interaction with soil bacteria these days, we don’t generally tend to get cholera either!
By ingesting the body tissues of animals, we absorb the vitamin B12 that they’ve absorbed, into our own tissues. This is why the most common dietary sources of vitamin B12 are animal-based foods,  such as meat, milk, eggs and also fish (who ingest the vitamin B12 that they carry from phytoplankton). However, a few plant-based foods such as nori and mushrooms contain substantial natural amounts of B12 too.
It goes without saying that vitamin B12 supplementation is critical for health if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. But, it’s equally important to understand that even if you do consume animal products, the chances are still high that you require additional vitamin B12 supplementation.
With many of us now identifying as pescatarian or flexitarian, we are eating less meat as a society.
Our farmed animals are also fed from increasingly nutrient-depleted soils and oceans, so are unable to provide as much vitamin B12 as they once did. This is why you can no longer rest assured that if you eat animal products you have the optimum vitamin B12 levels for full health.
The final thing to consider is that the absorption of vitamin B12 is a complex process, subject to various problems in many places. If you eat a diet rich in products that contain vitamin B12 but have any gastrointestinal issues, such as low stomach acid or pancreatic enzymes; cell deficiencies or a
lack of intrinsic factor (a protein made by cells in your stomach which is required for vitamin B12 to be
absorbed in your intestines), you are still at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, due to inadequate
The good news is that vitamin B12 is now found in many fortified foods, such as cereals, bread and plant-based milks. And of course, it can be very easily added to your diet via high quality vitamin B12 supplements such as VitalOrganico Vitamin B12.
So, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, meat-eating or flexitarian, you can very easily ensure that your vitamin B12 levels are topped up to level that will help you to feel great every day.

The reality of a vitamin B12 deficiency
Often referred to as ‘The Chronic Masquerader’, Vitamin B12 deficiency is classically very difficult to diagnose, because it produces symptoms that are similar to many other illnesses. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is a common but often under recognised condition, which can take a long time to diagnose and can potentially be very serious.
The list of symptoms associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency is long. It includes extreme tiredness and fatigue, heart palpitations, weight loss, hair loss, organ failure, vision disturbances, dizziness, ‘pins and needles’, anaemia, cognitive difficulties including brain fog and memory loss, incontinence and even psychiatric problems, such as psychosis.
Prevention, early detection and management of a B12 deficiency therefore, is of paramount importance. Long term vitamin B12 deficiency can cause the symptoms above to become progressive and permanent; especially those associated with neurological damage. Fortunately, once a vitamin B12 deficiency is identified, the treatment is a very simple case of B12 supplementation. Though of course the easiest and best thing to do is avoid a B12 deficiency in the first place!
Until recently, evidence suggested that vitamin B12 in injectable form was the most effective and easily absorbed route of administration. However, many recent studies have in fact shown that sublingual (under the tongue) vitamin B12 supplementation is in many cases, just as effective. Which is good news for those that don’t like needles!

We’ve taken great care to source the highest quality vitamin B12, encasing it within liposomes or other forms like spray, which are tiny bio-compatible and biodegradable delivery systems that increase the absorption and
bioavailability of this important vitamin by up to 9 times that of non-liposomal alternatives.
VitalOrganico's liposomal vitamin B12 can safely be taken through pregnancy and breastfeeding, by infants and adults alike, throughout life.
Supplemental vitamin B12 can interact with some medications so please check with your Doctor and/or your medication safety data sheet before taking it.

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