Focus on: Vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins. Yep, that’s right, three are *eight* B vitamins total! 

Each of these B vitamins plays an essential role in your health. Today we’re going to talk about a B vitamin fan-favorite, vitamin B12, and some of the amazing ways it supports your body. 

You may already know that vitamin B12 plays an important role in your energy levels, but stay tuned to learn about many of the other magic-making qualities of our beloved B12!

How does vitamin B12 help my body?

Today we’ll focus on five ways vitamin B12 helps your body thrive:

  1. Mood
  2. Energy
  3. Detoxification
  4. Nerve function
  5. Healthy stress response

Learners read on for more information on each of these aspects of B12 and your health!

1. Mood

  • Vitamin B12 is involved in creating neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These affect how our brain works as well as our feelings, mood, and behavior. 
  • Low B12 has been associated with increased anxiety, OCD, depression, difficulty focusing, sleep disturbances and impaired memory. 

2. Energy

3. Detoxification 

    • B12 plays a key role in facilitating the liver detox pathways. These pathways allow for the processing and elimination of hormones, pollutants, chemicals, heavy metals and histamines, to name a few. This is done through a methylation process. The process contributes to the liver’s ability to neutralize and eliminate toxins and excess hormones.

    4. Nerve Function

    • B12 is essential to proper nerve functioning in the body. What do nerves do? Nerves give you the ability to think, to move your body, to feel that sweet caress of a loved one, to digest your food and much more.
    • B12 plays an essential role in the formation of what’s called the “myelin sheath” of your nerves. Myelin is a superconductor that allows your nerves to communicate. 
    • Low vitamin B12 can cause symptoms of numbness and tingling or a “pins and needles” feeling owing to poorly formed myelin. 

    5. Balanced stress response

    • Vitamin B12 is foundational to healthy adrenal function and to healthy (not too high, not too low) production of cortisol. Low vitamin B12 can interfere with your ability to respond to stress in a healthy, appropriate way.
    • Sufficient supplies of B12 act as a physiological buffer, helping you better cope with the stresses you encounter in life.
    Can you get vitamin B12 from foods?
    • You betcha! Foods high in vitamin B12 include red meat, sardines, salmon, trout, organ meat and tuna. 
    What can get in the way of optimal vitamin B12 levels?
    • Genetic mutations:
      • There are a number of common genetic mutations that lead to B12 deficiencies and insufficiencies.
    • Aging
      • As we age, most of us become less skilled at breaking down and absorbing B12 from our food. 
    • Certain medications:
    • Bariatric surgery 
    What does this mean for you?
    • Just because you’re eating foods high in B12 doesn’t guarantee you have enough B12!
    How to test
    Supplementing with Vitamin B12
    Why these supplements get my vote
    • The biggest thing to be aware of when you’re selecting a supplement containing B12 is the form of vitamin B12.
    • Vitamin B12 – cobalamin – is always attached to another molecule. When you read a label, you’ll learn what that cobalamin is attached to.  
    • There is one form in particular I avoid: cyanocobalamin. 
      • In this form, your B12 (cobalamin) is attached to a molecule of cyanide. Although I have no concern about cyanide poisoning with cyanocobalamin, this form is less useful for your body as it needs to work to remove the cyanide and excrete it. 

    The forms I prefer include methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Both are naturally occurring forms of vitamin B12 and are well absorbed and used by the body. 

    NOTE: As a member of the Well Empowered community, you receive 10% off your orders at Fullscript, every day of the year. Please feel free to spread the love!

    This blog is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical care. 

    Wondering if your vitamin B12 levels are optimal? Consider scheduling a Health Audit and taking a “test, don’t guess” approach to your health!