Pretty cheesy, right? So you have guessed the topic of this post, vitamin B12, or also scientifically known as cobalamin. There, you have learned something new today.
I’m writing about B12 for a couple of reasons; 1, being vegan I know I have to supplement B12 since people get B12 by eating animal products. Animals get B12 by grazing in fields where they are interacting with dirt. Yes, animals don’t produce B12. No living being does. 2nd, animals no longer graze and therefore are the largest consumer of B12 supplements due to practices of modern day farming.
So, do we need to eat animal products to get B12? No. If animals are being given supplements because they no longer get the B12 they need, then why not cut out the middle man and find another way? You many not believe me because there is so much misinformation out there that we have to eat animals, or animal products to get B12, calcium, protein, etc. It’s not true. In fact, research has shown that eating those products cause more harm than good. Heart disease, high blood pressure, Endometriosis, calcium deficiency, that can result in osteoporosis (the 5 countries that are the largest consumers of dairy also have the largest rate of osteoporosis). Not true.
But let me get into why B12
This may be all you need: B12 is responsible for the function of your brain and nervous system. How quick, on the ball, mentally alert you are, and other things are impacted by your intake of B12.
It is also involved in the metabolism of every cell in your body and also affects DNA synthesis. Think of that. The synthesis of your DNA. That’s important.
Now for some heavy stuff. What if you don’t get enough B12? This:
A B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. At levels only slightly lower than normal, a range of symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, depression, poor memory, breathlessness, headaches, and pale skin, among others.
I’m not being an alarmist by any means. Other things can cause the same problems. But, keep this in mind. You cannot take too much B12. It’s water soluble and non toxic. And it’s readily available in supplement form. I’ll talk about that soon.
So how do you get B12 if you aren’t eating animal products? Many foods are fortified with B12. Of course you can get to the bacteria that causes the formation of B12 in your gut by eating some natural dirt if you like. But that’s a lot of work.
If you want to play it on the safe side and add B12 to your daily intake, go the supplement route.
One word: Methylcobalamin. Unlike Cyanocobalamin, Methylcobalamin converts the amino acid homocysteine to the amino acid methionine. Easily absorbed and the most bioavailable (degree to which a substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration). This means it requires little to no conversion in the body. The most common way to take this is a 1000 mcg daily supplement.
Another B12 supplement is Cyanocobalamin. It’s cheaper, but created in the lab made in the presence of a cyanide molecule. They say the amount of cyanide isn’t dangerous, but it’s more work for the body to convert this to a usable form of B12 and the body has to get rid of the cyanide.
So, lesson learned, cheaper isn’t always better.
I’m a proponent of supplementing with vitamins and minerals. But, it’s expensive. First and foremost eat properly. Learn these 4 letters – WFPB. Whole food plant based diet. Live the four letters and you will be putting the best fuel in your body for performance and for disease reduction.
But if I were to recommend one vitamin supplement B12 would be it. You can’t have too much and relatively speaking, it’s inexpensive. A quick search on Amazon Canada shows a 100 day supply of 1000 mcg Methylcobalamin B12 for $15 delivered. That’s about $60 a year for your B12. Shop around too as B12 commonly goes on sale. And if you are someone like me who is more likely to be deficient, the peace of mind that comes with it knowing that you are getting your B12 and you have eliminated something that could be impacting your physical and mental health is worth it.
Here’s a tip: buy two smaller bottles and keep one at work, and one at home. That way when you are rushing about in the morning and forget to take your B12, you’ll know it’s waiting for you at work.
Yours in health,