Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that is a major building block for the body to operate at peak performance. Without it, there are many functions of the body that would cease to work. For many, “b” vitamins tend to be related exclusively to energy; however, the reality is that B12 has its influence on so much more.
Prevents cardiovascular disease
Vitamin B12 is a key fighter in breaking down a protein called homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. B12 keeps these levels in check, helping to fight off the potential of cardiovascular disease developing.
Fights Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline
High homocysteine levels are correlated to higher occurrences of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive decline. Vitamin B12 supplementation reduces homocysteine blood levels, which could prevent these harmful things from developing. More research is required, but the results are very promising.
Nerve health and DNA production
Keeping healthy levels of B12 is essential for maintaining nerve cells and aiding in the production of DNA which is the genetic material found in all our body’s cells.
Unlike some other things, the body does not produce vitamin B12 on its own. We get it from our diet. Becoming deficient in B12 can cause a whole host of problems such as:
- Weak or tired muscles
- Numb or tingling feeling in hands and feet
- Trouble walking
- Decreased appetite
- Irritability and mood swings
- Unhealthy weight loss
As you can see, the benefits of vitamin B12 are vast and life-altering and have driven people to find natural ways to boost their B12 levels. Let’s look at some of the ways people are utilizing it.
Fish and shellfish
Clams, sardines, and tuna are all excellent sources of B12. What makes these particularly appealing is that they are high in iron which is another essential nutrient that the body needs in order to produce red blood cells. It does not take a lot of this food group to reach your daily needs.
For higher concentrations of B12, look for leaner cuts of beef. To preserve the vitamin B12 content, avoid frying it and instead opt for prepping it on the grill. While it is not as high in concentration, it more than makes up for it with the presence of the entire gamut of B vitamins.
Liver & organ meat
Organ meats are one of the greatest sources of B12. In fact, just 100 grams can provide more than 3,000% of the Daily Value. Of the different animals, organs derived from lambs have the highest concentration, even over beef. For those who have trouble consuming organ meats, several companies are now offering them in tablet form.
While milk, cheeses, and yogurts may contain a lesser concentration of B12 than red meat and seafood, they have one major advantage. Based on research, the B12 found in dairy is absorbed much better than that from red meat.
Sprinkle it on your popcorn or mix it into some pasta. Nutritional yeast is an incredible vegan source of protein and vitamin B12. While not directly providing B12, the fortification process it undergoes makes it a great delivery mechanism that can be worked into your diet with little effort.
Vitamin B12 in the form of pills you swallow has been around for decades. While it is cost-effective and easily accessible for most people, they are historically difficult for the body to absorb and assimilate. The reason for this is that most supplements contain a synthetic form of B12, Cyanocobalamin, that is not ready to be used in its present form.
In order for Cyanocobalamin to be converted, it must be processed using something called intrinsic factor, which is produced in the stomach. The problem is that your ability to assimilate this form of B12 will be limited by how many intrinsic factors your body is able to produce.
One of the most effective ways of increasing Vitamin B12 levels is via a booster shot injected right into the muscle tissue. This is especially effective when B12 levels are at dangerously low levels that could pose long-term health problems.
In regards to B12 delivery, IV therapy is considered by many to be the gold standard. This is for a few important reasons. Intravenous delivery such as this is one of the only methods that ensure 100% bioavailability of the material being given. Second is the fact that B12 IV treatments use Methylcobalamin, a form of B12 that can be utilized right away without any conversion.
As you can see, there is no limit to the combinations you can create to ensure that your vitamin B12 levels are at a healthy level. Regardless of what path you choose, it is clear that proper B12 maintenance is essential for optimal health.