In RawBeautySource, we have emphasized multiple times on the importance of Vitamin B12. However, we can confidently say that b12 has been a “forgotten” vitamin for a long time. The majority of people don’t know anything about it, and as a result, don’t measure its level in the blood.
So, we decided to create a blog post to introduce clarity to the topic and give answers to your doubts on why do we need this important vitamin.
Let’s dive in!
Why our body needs vitamin B12?
B12, also called Cobalamin, is part of the B-complex vitamins. It is water-soluble, which means that any excess amounts of this compound are flushed out of the body through the kidneys (with the urine). No reserves are not stored in the body tissues or fat. B12 is responsible for 3 essential body functions:
- Healthy nervous system. The vitamin is vital when it comes to the creation of nerve cells and tissue, as well as their regeneration. It does not only stimulate the development of this system in every part of the body but also protects it. B12 boosts the formation of the protective layer (called myelin) around the nerves to keep them healthy and properly working. The created barrier prevents nerve damage, which may result in a feeling of numbness, tingling, chronic pain, and even paralysis.
- Production of red blood cells. Those cells are vital for the transportation of oxygen in every part of the body. And the oxygen itself is essential for our health! B12 stimulates the production of those “transporters” to ensure that the oxygen supply in the body cells is optimal.
- Proper brain function. As the brain is made out of nerved, it needs B12 to develop, as well as to maintain the development. The vitamin protects the brain cells from damage and boosts their growth. On the other hand, B12 plays an essential role in the creation and synthesis of DNA in the brain, which prevents any cell mutations.
Unfortunately, vitamin B12 cannot be synthesized by the body; thus, it is essential to supply it (with food or with supplements) externally.
Recommended daily dose
The recommended daily dose for B12 intake is minimal, and most of the people who eat diverse meals manage to supply it with their daily food intake. However, it is not enough just to take the necessary dose of the vitamin. It is essential to absorb it so that it can enter the bloodstream; the blood transports it to every body cell. Only then the process of vitamin intake has an effect on our health.
Unfortunately, the absorption of Cobalamin is strongly influenced by the presence of one unique protein in the stomach, called the intrinsic factor. The stomach itself produces it, and if there is any deficiency in this protein, B12 is not absorbed properly. Producing proper amounts of intrinsic factor is a matter of healthy lifestyle (healthy food, exercising, no smoking, limited consumption of alcohol, etc.) and proper B-complex vitamins intake (other than B12).
However, some medicines block the production of the protein, and as a result, block the absorption of vitamin B12. Those are antibiotics (like Chloramphenicol), medications for acid reflux treatment (omeprazole and lansoprazole), ulcer disease (cimetidine, famotidine, ranitidine), and diabetes (metformin). This way, even individuals who supplement with B12 can experience deficiency symptoms, just because the vitamin just passes through the body, without interacting with the cells.
You may think “Well, this happens very rarely,” but in fact, a survey conducted in 2017 shows that 40% of the Americans are B12 deficient. Thus, we can conclude that it is a widespread condition following an upward tendency.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I do not aim to give any medical advice. The information presented in this article is based on scientific research and personal experience and aims to give information about the topic.