How Much B12 Do I Need?

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All About Vitamin B12

Living Healthy

If you are a health conscious person who places a good deal of importance on your diet, at some point you may ask the question, how much B12 do I need? You have a rigorous exercise routine and practice diligence every day. You spend time meditating and trying to achieve inner peace and harmony. And you try to educate yourself about the nutritional value of the foods you eat, choosing organic and non-GMO foods wherever possible.

Eating Healthy

Eating healthy means more than just buying the most natural versions you can find at the store, however. First you must know exactly what your body needs each day to function optimally, including vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Your diet is truly one of the most important facets of living a healthy life. And vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that your body needs, that you must get from your diet or through supplements because your body cannot make it on its own.

About Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin and has multiple functions within the body. It absorbs in the stomach with the help of a protein called the intrinsic factor. The intrinsic factor binds to the B12 molecule, which then facilitates the absorption into your blood and to your cells. When your body has enough B12, it can store the excess in your liver for future use.

Vitamin B12 Deficiencies

If your body doesn’t produce enough intrinsic factor, you don’t get enough vitamin B12 in your diet such as strict vegans, or you are an older person, you could have or be at risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are quite common, especially in the following:
  • Elderly adults / older people
  • Those who’ve had surgery that removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12
  • People on the drug Metformin, for diabetes
  • Women who take birth control drugs
  • People following a strict vegan or paleo diet
  • Pregnant or lactating (breastfeeding) women
  • Those taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn
  • Those with pernicious anemia
  • Those taking proton pump inhibitors for chronic heartburn
  • Those taking proton pump inhibitors for chronic heartburn
Unfortunately, vitamin B12 deficiencies are difficult to diagnose, can take years to show signs of, and can sometimes be confused with a folate deficiency. This can then become masked, and the underlying B12 deficiency further hidden. If a vitamin B12 deficiency is not found and diagnosed properly, thus left untreated, these are some nasty side effects that can occur:
  • anemia
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • intestinal problems
  • nerve damage
  • mood disturbances

Vitamin B12 Functions

The role of vitamin B12 in the body is very important for red blood cells and their production, as well as supporting DNA production. It also keeps our nerves healthy, maintains healthy brain function, and promotes cell metabolism. Vitamin B12 functions best with other B vitamins within the body, which is why oftentimes vitamin B supplements are grouped together. The recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 in adults is just 2.4 micrograms, or mcg, but women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more, so check with your doctor if unsure.

Foods High In Vitamin B12

The main food groups that are highest in vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products. Things like clams, tuna, sardines, fish, liver, kidneys and beef are all great choices, and contain more than enough B12 per day, per serving. Milk and dairy products, eggs and cheese, are also good sources of vitamin B12. There are some acceptable sources in certain fortified foods as well, such as fortified breakfast cereals and fortified non-dairy milk. In fact, a study done in over 5,000 people showed better absorption of vitamin B12 through dairy products than in beef, fish or eggs!

How Much Is Too Much?

Because vitamin B12 is so important to your health and can cause such serious side effects if you have a deficiency, it’s crucial to at least keep your body stocked with the recommended daily amount. It is reasonably simple to get more than enough in your diet, and you don’t have to worry about taking too much. Your body will absorb what it needs, and anything left over will pass through in your urine. Usually there are no adverse side effects from taking too much vitamin B12.

B12 Supplements

If you happen to be in a high-risk group, you may want to try a vitamin B supplement. The problem is there are so many to choose from, you have a hard time making a decision! Here are a few of the top selections for the year 2021:
  • Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex Caps is one of the best overall vitamin B supplements you can buy, as far as purity goes.
  • Pure Encapsulations B-Complex Plus is another top-rated vitamin B supplement whose company exceeds the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) standards, which are already quite strict, on things like quality, purity, and identity of specific products. GMB certified (good manufacturing process) and GMO-free. Gummies by this brand are also top-rated, due to their naturally low sugar content and purity.
  • Thorne B-Complex No. 12 is our best pick for vegan vitamin B12 supplements, containing all the B vitamins and in absorbable forms, all without any animal byproducts.

Additional B12 Benefits

Additionally, vitamin B12 has some other health benefits to keep in mind. Having good levels of vitamin B12 in your blood supports good bone health, and may even prevent osteoporosis, especially in women. It reduces your risk for certain eye conditions like macular degeneration, can improve mood swings for depression, and can improve your heart health. Furthermore, vitamin B12 can offer you an energy boost and healthier hair, skin and nails. So if you have any other questions about your blood levels of vitamin B12 and whether or not you are at risk for a deficiency, talk to a healthcare provider. To learn more check us out here at HGHMeds.