What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, sometimes referred to as the “red vitamin” because of its distinctive red colour. Vitamin B12 is not in itself an isolated substance, rather it is a collective term for a number of compounds called “cobalamins”. Methylcobalamin is the biologically active form of Vitamin B12 in the human body.
Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods from animal sources, including meat, poultry and fish; lower levels are found in eggs and dairy products. Absorption of Vitamin B12 from food is a multi-step, complex process and requires optimal functioning of your stomach, pancreas and small intestine. In the stomach, hydrochloric acid separates Vitamin B12 from the protein to which it is attached in food. Following this, in the small intestine, Vitamin B12 combines with a protein called intrinsic factor (produced by cells in the stomach) and can then be absorbed.
What does Vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12 has many roles in your body:
- It has an essential part to play in energy metabolism and helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include diminished energy and exercise tolerance, fatigue, shortness of breath and palpitations.
- Vitamin B12 supports normal psychological and neurological functions. Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with memory loss, especially in older adults.
- Vitamin B12 is needed for the healthy functioning of your immune system.
- Vitamin B12 helps your body produce red blood cells which are responsible for transporting oxygen to your organs. When Vitamin B12 levels are low, the production of red blood cells is altered, and this can lead to tiredness and weakness.
Who is at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and is mainly due to limited dietary intake of animal foods or reduced ability to absorb this vitamin. Certain groups may not get enough Vitamin B12 or may have trouble absorbing it:
- Vegetarians and vegans are likely not to get enough Vitamin B12 from their diets as only animal foods have Vitamin B12 naturally.
- Many adults, over the age of 50, don’t produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach to absorb the Vitamin B12 naturally found in food.
- People with an autoimmune disease called atrophic gastritis have decreased absorption of Vitamin B12 because they make too little hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor in their stomach.
- People with pernicious anaemia cannot make intrinsic factor which is needed to absorb Vitamin B12 present in food.
- People who have had gastrointestinal surgery or those who have disorders of the digestive system, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. These conditions can reduce the amount of Vitamin B12 that the body can absorb.
- Certain common medicines including antacids, some antibiotics, and diabetic medications can reduce Vitamin B12 absorption.
Our Vitamin B12 Oral Spray gives you 120 servings, with just one spray a day, and has a refreshing berry taste. The Vitamin B12 is absorbed directly in your mouth, avoiding over reliance on your digestive system.
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