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Where Do You Get Vitamin B12 From

Whole Foods That Contain Vitamin B12

What You Need To Know About Vitamin B12 | Vegan Diets

If youre looking for a whole foods way to get B12 as a vegan, there are some challenges. As with animals, plants only have B12 if they partner up with bacteria that naturally make it.

This means plant-based sources of B12 are much less consistent when in their whole foods form. But there are some options:

  • Seaweeds like Nori and Laver. Porphyra yezoensis is a specific species of seaweed with a high concentration of B12.
  • Fermented products like kimchi and sauerkraut can also have B12 since they ferment with bacteria that produce B12.
  • Some mushrooms, like shiitake, have also been known to have B12.

However, these whole foods sources often have unpredictable B12 concentrations. So they would need to be eaten in significant quantities.

At the end of the day, fermentation of bacteria is the only natural way to get B12whether thats in supplements, fortified foods, or seaweed. For vegans and others at risk of deficiency, I personally recommend taking a B12 supplement each morning.

Who Is At Risk For B12 Deficiency

Unfortunately, many people appear to be at risk, as vitamin B12 deficiencies are fairly common in the general population. One study found that 40 percent of children and adults in Latin America had deficient or marginal status. Another study found that 20 percent of those over the age of 60 in the U.S. had a marginal status.

Another review found that 40 percent of patients in the U.S. had unexplained low vitamin B12 levels. Researchers attributed this shortfall to food cobalamin malabsorption, meaning the vitamin B12 that is naturally present in foods is simply not absorbed. Luckily, research has shown that these people are still able to absorb the crystalline form found in supplements and B12-fortified foods.

The absorption process for vitamin B12 is actually quite complex, requiring several physiologic elements to take place for it to occur adequately, and many factors can contribute to deficiencies. For example, long-term use of antacids, H. pylori infection, alcohol abuse, smoking, atrophic gastritis, and conditions that slow the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract , are all associated with vitamin B12 deficiencies.

So, while people who abstain from eating animal foods can have lower levels of vitamin B12, its important to note that vitamin B12 deficiencies are not uncommon in the general population, even among those eating large amounts of animal foods.

Foods Rich In Folic Acid

Meat
  • Include more foods that are high in Folic Acid in the diet
  • Fruit and vegetables should be eaten raw whenever possible as cooking destroys Folic Acid
  • Avoid alcohol in the diet as it leads to Folic Acid deficiency
  • Pregnant women have higher requirements for Folic Acid and should take Folic Acid supplements as advised by the doctor/dietician/nurse.
  • Increase the use of wheat flour and soya flour in baking and food preparation

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Production Of Red Blood Cells

What else does B12 help with?

Folate .

The body uses folate to form red blood cells, those tiny disc-shaped cells that deliver oxygen to every corner in our body. But before that happens, the body needs vitamin B12 to create a reaction that converts that folate into a form the body can use. Without that reaction the body cant access folate, and red blood cell production is compromised. You become anemic, and fatigue takes over quickly because oxygen delivery is low.

How Are B12 Supplements Made Where Does B12 Come From

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Okay, lets do some myth busting: Vitamin B12 isnt made by animals. Its actually created by bacteria and their close microscopic cousin, archaea. But if bacteria make B12, why are animal foods the most well-known source? And what goes into B12 supplements anyway?

B12 supplements are made by allowing bacterial cultures to ferment and naturally produce vitamin B12. This is then harvested and sent off to be added to vitamins or other supplements.

Thanks to a quirk in our evolution, humans are one of the rare mammals that cant produce enough B12 internally. But understanding how we got to this point, and why vegans need B12 supplements, requires a quick trip down our evolutionary memory lane.

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What Does The Department Of Health And Social Care Advise

You should be able to get the amount of niacin you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take niacin supplements, do not take too much as this might be harmful.

Taking 17mg or less of nicotinic acid supplements a day, or 500mg or less of nicotinamide supplements a day, is unlikely to cause any harm.

What Happens If B12 Deficiency Is Overlooked Or Ignored

Because vitamin B12 helps in the formation of nucleotides , a deficiency can impair our normal production of DNA. This can first manifest as difficulty with the normal production of red blood cells, and can result in anemia. It can also result in problems with the maintenance of the nervous system, causing a wide variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

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Biochemistry Of Vitamin B12

Different derivatives of cobalamin exist of which methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are the physiological co-enzyme forms. MeCbl is a cofactor in the methionine-synthase dependent remethylation of homocysteine into methionine, which takes place into the cytosol. This remethylation reaction is an important step of the one-carbon metabolism, in which also reduction of folate derivatives takes place, which are important for DNA synthesis. In addition, methionine is an essential amino acid which is involved in formation of the universal methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine. Low dietary intake of vitamin B12 results in elevated homocysteine levels and might affect DNA synthesis and DNA methylation. AdoCbl is involved in the l-methylmalonyl-CoA-mutase-dependent conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA into succinyl-CoA, which takes place in the mitochondrium . Low dietary intake of vitamin B12 results in accumulation of methylmalonyl-CoA that converts to MMA. Increasing levels of MMA are observed in plasma in case of vitamin B12 deficiency.

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Do You Have a B12 Deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is a very necessary vitamin for the human body. This vitamin helps to create DNA which is found in the red blood cells. A lack of vitamin B12 can cause a condition known as anemia. The symptoms of anemia are extreme fatigue and weakness.

A vitamin B12 IV therapy infusion is a fast, safe, and convenient option if you are looking for a way to get back your energy. With an IV infusion, the nutrients you need are delivered directly into your bloodstream through an IV bag that is made up of exactly the ingredients you requested. Drip Hydration Mobile IV Therapy will come directly to you at your convenience and administer the vitamins.

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Cobalamin And Its Metabolism

Cbl is a complex molecule with a cobalt-containing corrin ring. It is derived almost exclusively from animal sources, secondary to production by microorganisms. Cobalamin is released from food proteins in the acidity of the stomach and binds to haptocorrin , made in saliva and stomach . In the duodenum, pancreatic enzymes degrade the Cbl-HC complexes releasing free cobalamin which forms a complex with intrinsic factor , produced in gastric parietal cells. The Cbl-IF complex is taken up by epithelial cells in the terminal ileum via specific receptor-mediated endocytosis. Free cobalamin then enters the portal circulation bound to transcobalamin II and is transported to tissues where the Cbl-TC II complex binds to the TC receptor and is internalized . Cobalamin is needed for just two metabolic reactions in man, methylation of homocysteine to methionine and conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA. When cobalamin is deficient, these precursors accumulate thus, detection of elevated circulating and urinary levels of methylmalonic acid and of total homocysteine is useful for diagnosis of cobalamin deficiency and has advanced our ability to recognize subclinical derangements of cobalamin metabolism.

Fig. 184.1. Cobalamin and its metabolism.

The Formation & Maintenance Of Myelin

Think of your nerve system as a tangled forest of wires. Each of these nerve fibers, these wires, is wrapped and insulated by a protective layer called myelin. Without enough of it, your neurons cant transmit impulses or carry out electrical signals correctly.

Receded myelin is why so many patients with signs of pernicious anemia and B12 deficiency report strange nerve-related sensations, like pins and needles or numbness. The health benefits of B12 for the nerve system is why the vitamin is so beneficial for neurological disorders such as neuropathy or dementia.

In fact, damage to the myelin is often irreversible, so if you show any neurological signs of B12 deficiency, start injecting immediately, because small symptoms can progress to major nerve damage, putting you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.

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Prevention Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

While it may not be possible to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in all cases, steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of the condition developing.

A person should speak to their healthcare practitioner about getting their vitamin B12 levels checked periodically if they:

  • Use a proton pump inhibitor on a long-term basis
  • Use an H2 blocker on a long-term basis
  • Take metformin for their diabetes
  • Are strict vegans
  • Have conditions affecting the stomach
  • Have had gastric surgery or surgery on the small intestine

People with conditions that may interfere with the absorption of the vitamin, such as celiac disease and Crohnâs disease, as well as those over the age of 50, should also discuss their vitamin B12 needs with a healthcare practitioner.

It is recommended that strict vegans and people over 50 include breads, cereals or other food products that have been fortified with vitamin B12 in their diet, and/or take a supplement.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Due To Diet

About Vitamin B12 Uses and Doses â Bsef

Vitamin B12 deficiency due to diet is not common, but can happen, eg, if you are on a long-term strict vegetarian or vegan diet. This is because vitamin B12 is generally not found in plant foods. There are some soy, rice, and nut milks that have B12 added. These are a readily available source of B12 for vegans and those who eat minimal animal products. Chronic alcoholics are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because of poor nutrition.

Older people are also at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because of reduced ability of your gut to absorb B12 from food as you get older.

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Could Boost Energy Levels In Cases Of Deficiency

Its commonly claimed that vitamin B12 improves energy levels. In theory, this statement does have some truth behind it.

Vitamin B12 helps your body metabolize food and turn it into energy.

Whats more, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia, which is associated with lower energy levels. So, if youre deficient in vitamin B12, taking a supplement could help you feel more energetic.

However, if youre already getting enough of the vitamin from your diet, its unlikely that youll notice any changes to your energy levels by taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

Foods High In Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in foods, so it is typically found in high-protein animal products. The Recommended Daily Amount of vitamin B12 for an adult is 2.4 micrograms for men and women over the age of 19. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the recommendation goes up to 2.6 and 2.8 micrograms respectively. These are foods high in vitamin B12:

  • Clams: 17mcg per 3oz
  • Tuna: 9.3mcg per 3oz
  • Nutritional yeast: 8.3mcg per ¼ cup
  • Salmon: 2.6mcg per 3oz
  • Ground Beef: 2.4mcg per 3 ounces
  • Milk: 1.3mcg per cup
  • Yogurt: 1mcg per 6oz
  • Fortified breakfast cereals: 0.6mcg per serving
  • Cheese: 0.5mcg per ounce

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What Is Fortified Cereal

Fortified foods contain added vitamins and minerals that arent naturally present in them.

Fortification is meant to improve peoples levels of particular nutrients and is common for foods that adults and children typically eat, such as grains, milk, and juice. Cereal is one of the most commonly fortified foods.

For example, 1 cup of fortified Total cereal boasts 40 mg of iron 100% of the Daily Value .

As the same size serving of an unfortified wheat cereal meets only 10% of the DV, much of breakfast cereals iron content may be due to fortification .

Its important to monitor your nutrient intake, as many people in the United States dont consume enough iron, calcium, or vitamins A, C, D, and E. Deficiencies may lead to negative health effects (

6 ).

However, fortified cereals are not inherently healthy. While some are made with whole grains and high in fiber and protein, others contain almost no nutrients.

For example, Kelloggs Frosted Flakes offers no fiber and only 1 gram of protein per 3/4 cup .

You can tell if a cereal is fortified because the added nutrients will be specified on the packaging. Often, below the ingredient list, theres a list of vitamins and minerals used to fortify the product.

Keep in mind that fortification varies by region. Its more common to find fortified cereals in Western countries .

Eating fortified cereal may help prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Diagnosis Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Signs You’re Vitamin B12 Deficient And What To Do ð
  • Blood tests

  • Sometimes endoscopy

Usually, vitamin B12 deficiency is suspected when routine blood tests detect large red blood cells. Doctors sometimes suspect it when people have typical symptoms of nerve damage, such as tingling or loss of sensation. If the deficiency is suspected, the level of vitamin B12 in the blood is measured.

Usually, doctors also measure the blood level of folate to rule out folate deficiency Folate Deficiency Folate deficiency is common. Because the body stores only a small amount of folate, a diet lacking in folate leads to a deficiency within a few months. Not eating enough raw leafy vegetables… read more , which can also result in large red blood cells.

If vitamin B12 deficiency is confirmed in an older person, no other tests are done because the cause, such as low stomach acidity, is usually not serious. In a younger person, other tests, including other blood tests, may be done to determine the cause.

Endoscopy may be done to check for destruction of stomach cells that produce intrinsic factor.

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What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12

Below is an Open Letter containing detailed information on vitamin B12 from the health professionals and organisations listed at the end. If you simply want to know what to do, read ‘Vitamin B12 : your key facts‘.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The information below was prepared by Stephen Walsh, a Vegan Society trustee, and other members of the International Vegetarian Union Science Group , in October 2001. This information may be freely reproduced but only in its entirety.

Benefits Of Vitamin B12 Injections

A vitamin B12 injection can bring on immediate health benefits. It increases energy levels and concentration, may improve metabolism, boosts the immune system, and aids in restful sleep. Since this vitamin is essential for DNA synthesis, nerve cell health, red blood cell formation, and neurological function, a vitamin B12 injection really is a no-brainer.

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Uptake Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in one-carbon metabolism. Dietary vitamin B12 is, once ingested, bound to haptocorin , which carries vitamin B12 to the stomach. In the stomach, HCl and pepsin are released which release vitamin B12 from animal proteins. Free vitamin B12 then binds to haptocorrin in the stomach after which it is transported into the intestine, where vitamin B12 is released by pancreatic enzymes after which vitamin B12 binds to intrinsic factor . Vitamin B12 -IF complex binds to the cubulin receptor in the distal ileum, which takes up vitamin B12 through receptor-mediated endocytosis . Once taken up, vitamin B12 is released to the plasma where it is bound to its transport proteins haptocorrin and trancobalamin . In the circulation, 2025% of vitamin B12 is bound to TC , which is taken up and used by the cells. The other 7580% of vitamin B12 is bound to HC, which is stored in the liver .

People At Risk Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12: Deficiencies, Benefits, Side Effects, Sources, Facts
  • Older Adults with Atrophic Gastritis – Atrophic Gastritis is a condition affecting 30-50% of adults over age 50 and hampers their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from natural foods. Supplements are recommended for people in this group.
  • People with Pernicious Anemia – A condition that affects 1-2% of adults and can only effectively be treated with vitamin B12 injections or shots.
  • Vegans and Vegetarians – Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, however there are some natural vegetarian foods high in vitamin B12.
  • Pregnant and Lactating Women who are Vegetarian or Vegan
  • People taking Certain Medications
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole and lansoprazole , which are used to treat gastric or pepetic ulcer disease can inhibit absorption of vitamin B12.
  • Metformin – often used for type II diabetes, Metformin may interfere with vitamin B12 absorption in certain people.
  • Histamine antagonists, such as cimetidine , famotidine , and ranitidine , used to treat peptic ulcer disease, can reduce absorption of vitamin B12 by slowing the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach.
  • Bacteriostatic Antibiotics, like Chloramphenicol , can interfere with the red blood cell response to vitamin B12 supplements.
  • Anticonvulsants – Anticonvulsants have been shown to interfere with vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 metabolism. One study found that people taking folate supplements and anticonvulsants experienced a 50% decline in Vitamin B12 blood levels.

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