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Vitamin B12

Overview

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) was originally isolated from the liver in 1948 by two separate groups of researchers working independently. Its structure wasn’t delineated until 1964. It’s one of the B-complex series of vitamins, water soluble and produced in small amounts by the bacteria in the digestive tract. Unlike other vitamins, B12 is found mostly in animal products – meat, liver, eggs, shrimps and dairy products. Because of that, vegetarians are advised to take supplements of B12 or increase their intake of dairy products.

 

Vitamin B12 is affected by other vitamins and chemicals in the body. It can be destroyed by sunlight, alcohol, estrogen and sleeping pills. A diet rich in protein and calcium helps the body to absorb it properly and make better use of it. Because the liver can store several years’ worth of vitamin B12, a deficiency is more often caused by problems absorbing and using it than by lack of adequate intake of vitamin B12.

 

There are a number of physical conditions that can lead to abnormal absorption of vitamin B12.  Doctors estimate that as many as 10-15% of older people suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency, and many recommend regular screening for the condition for all adults over the age of 50.

 

What Vitamin B12 Does:

Like all the B complex vitamins, vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats into glucose to be used by the body for energy. Vitamin B12 works closely with folic acid to help regulate the creation of red blood cells, and to promote the body’s use of iron. It’s essential to the production of healthy nerve cells, and is part of the creation of DNA and RNA.

 

Because it helps to regulate levels of homocysteine in the blood, vitamin B12 (along with vitamins B6, folic acid and calcium) is sometimes called the ‘stress vitamin.’  High levels of homocysteine have been linked to depression, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Many doctors and scientists believe that the levels of serum vitamin B12 – the amount measurable in the blood – that are considered normal in the United States are set far too low. The USDA recommended levels are keyed to the levels below which blood abnormalities show up – specifically pernicious anemia, which was long considered the only serious symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is now recognized that the neurological and emotional symptoms appear at subclinical levels of vitamin B12 deficiency. These symptoms include memory lapses, dementia, depression, muscle weakness, ataxia, spasticity, incontinence, vision problems and psychoses.

 

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12:

Oral supplements of Vitamin B12 have been proven effective in treating a number of conditions associated with sub-clinical vitamin B12 deficiency. These include:

  • Reverses pernicious anemia

  • Lessens atherosclerosis

  • May prevent Alzheimer’s disease

  • Increases the efficiency of folic acid

  • May help prevent strokes in lupus patients

  • May eliminate muscle tremors

  • May relieve depression when combined with vitamin B6 and folic acid

  • Helps burns heal more quickly

  • May help prevent osteoporosis

  • Helps prevent cataracts

  • May improve sperm count in cases of male infertility

Possible Side Effects of Vitamin B12:

Because excess amounts of vitamin B12 are excreted in the urine or in the stool, there are no reported side effects to the use of vitamin B12 supplements.

 

Summary

Vitamin B12 deficiency is far more common than was once believed, and may be brought on by or aggravated by a number of conditions including pylori infections, stomach ulcer, diabetes, HIV and many other conditions. Because deficiencies of vitamin B12 are most often caused by an abnormality in the absorption of vitamin B12, it’s recommended that supplements of vitamin B12 be taken with iron, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin B6 to facilitate its absorption and use by the body.

 

One excellent source of high quality pharmaceutical grade vitamin B12 is Total Balance, a full spectrum health supplement from Xtend-Life Natural Products. Total Balance is carefully formulated with over 70 different vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to provide a synergistically balanced wellness solution for all adults. Besides the full complement of B-complex vitamins, Total Balance also includes iron, magnesium and selenium to promote their bioavailability to the body. While supplements should not take the place of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, a high-quality, synergistically blended health supplement like Total Balance from Xtend-Life Natural Products provides all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and whole in today’s world.

 

 

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