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Unlocking the Power of Vitamin B12: Your Essential Guide!

Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in our functioning, but are you getting enough of this necessary micronutrient? In this month's blog, we're dishing out the complete scoop on April's vitamin of the month!


Welcome to the world of Vitamin B12 - a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health and well-being! I'm here to shed light on the importance of B12, its impact on your health, and how you can incorporate it into your diet effortlessly.


 

The Importance of Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that your body needs for various functions, including nerve cell function, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell formation. It's particularly important for maintaining healthy nerve cells and producing DNA, the genetic material in all cells.


Without adequate B12, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and even neurological changes like numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.




 

How B12 Impacts the Body


Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in keeping our brains sharp, our energy levels up, and our hearts healthy.


🧠 Brain Health → Adequate B12 levels are crucial for cognitive function and may help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's.


⚡ Energy Production → Vitamin B12 plays a key role in converting food into energy, making it essential for maintaining energy levels and combating fatigue.

❤️ Heart Health → B12 works in conjunction with other B vitamins to regulate homocysteine levels, an amino acid linked to an increased risk of heart disease when elevated.


 

B12-Rich Foods:


Incorporating B12-rich foods into your diet is a simple way to ensure you're meeting your daily requirements! Here are some top sources:



🍳 Animal Products → Beef, liver, chicken, fish (such as salmon and trout), eggs, and dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt).


❌ Fortified Foods → I typically don’t recommend fortified foods as the form of B12 added to these foods is poorly absorbed. Beware of cyanocobalamin in foods!


💊 Supplements → For individuals following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or those with a higher need or absorption issues, methylB12, or a mix of methyl + hydroxo or adenosyl B12 is a great option. (Taking a high quality multivitamin is a good place to start to get a foundational amount of all the B’s which work together, including B12.) If you’re super sensitive, hydroxo or adenosyl (no methyl) might be easier to tolerate (ie less likely to cause flushing, jitters or anxiety).


 

Did you know…?


Absorption Factors: Vitamin B12 absorption relies on adequate stomach acid and intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach. Factors such as aging, certain medications (proton pump inhibitors, metformin), and gastrointestinal disorders can impair absorption. Additionally, if you’ve seen any of my social posts on the different types of B12, you know that fortified foods and drinks are often the worst source of (cheap, poorly absorbed) B12. Methylcobalamin is the active form of B12 that our bodies utilize for various functions, but if you’re sensitive to B12 or have unexplained symptoms like headaches, flushing, or severe fatigue, you may tolerate hydroxo or adenosyl forms of B12. Check your drinks, shakes, and supplements for the right form! 

Testing and Monitoring: If you're concerned about your B12 levels, consult with Rhya for testing and personalized recommendations.

Recommended Intake: The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for B12 varies by age and life stage, with adults typically needing 2.4 micrograms per day.


 

Incorporating Vitamin B12 into your diet is essential for optimal health and vitality. By choosing a diverse range of B12-rich foods and, if necessary, supplementing wisely, you can ensure you're meeting your body's needs and supporting your overall well-being! Remember, small changes today can lead to significant benefits for your health tomorrow.


Curious about your own B12 levels? Strategene offers an at-home test consumers can purchase to better understand their genetics as it relates to nutrition. If you need help interpreting it, you can schedule a 1-time appointment and I’ll put together a plan based on your results. It’s a great test if you’re in a good place with chronic health issues, but want to dig a little deeper into prevention and personalized nutrition.



In Health,


Rhya Pachin, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT

Owner/Dietitian Nutritionist

Carolina Functional Nutrition

(704)740-1602




Already an existing client? Reach out to us via your Practice Better portal, send us at email at info@carolinafunctionalnutrition, or give us a call at (704)740-1602 to get on the schedule!



 



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