What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?
In our fast-paced society, where convenience has driven many to eat on the go, skip meals, munch on sugary snacks, purchase processed foods that are low in vitamins and other essential nutrients, and consume foods that have been chemically treated, it’s becoming more and more difficult to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
Due to this gap in nutrition, most people could use a little help from dietary supplements to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients needed for optimal health. This is especially true of the B vitamin family, which is made up of 8 vitamins. All our cells need the 8 B vitamins to function at their best.
Although they’re commonly recognized as a group, each of the B vitamins is required by a unique set of the body’s enzymes to perform unique and important functions. Deficiencies in any of these can lead to serious health problems.
Let’s take a closer look at vitamin B12…
Vitamin B12 Essentials
This B vitamin, also known as cobalamin, is a team player. It works with a set of enzymes that use folate to generate and utilize methyl groups that have a huge impact on our health. Though a small chemical group (one carbon atom with three hydrogens attached), methyl is needed by all our cells to make their DNA, repair DNA that becomes damaged, make and regulate DNA and the RNA involved in protein production and regulation, and facilitate the growth and proliferation of all our approximately 30 trillion cells.
The methyl form of vitamin B12 is used as a backup for the methyl groups provided by methylfolate. Substantial dietary intakes of B12 are required for the bone marrow to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen, and the variety of white blood cells that are crucial to our immune defenses. Growing children, pregnant women, and the elderly all tend to have an increased nutritional need for B12. There’s a consensus among experts that for these populations, supplementing with vitamin B12 is a good idea.
Most of the multiples and other dietary supplements that provide B12 offer it in a form that is potentially harmful and requires more of our energy to process. The most commonly used B12 dietary ingredient is cyano-cobalamin, B12 with a cyanide group attached. The body has to expend precious energy to remove the cyanide group, then convert the B12 to methyl-B12 or other forms before they can use it.
Smokers and women who use certain birth control hormone mixes are especially at risk of damage from cyano-B12. BrainMD provides B12 as methyl B12 because it’s safe to take, needs less energy to utilize, and is the most effective B12 ingredient available. In our products, we also team methyl-B1 with folate as methyl-folate, which works better than the artificial substance known as folic acid.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for the brain and all the body’s other nervous tissues. Beyond needing B12 for their usual housekeeping functions, our nerve cells need it to assist in producing such key neurotransmitters as dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). The brain also needs B12 to make melatonin, the main hormone that ensures we can get to sleep and stay asleep.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the structural integrity of the brain and spinal cord. Higher levels of B12 are linked to better memory, mood, behavior, personality and mental clarity.
Vitamin B12 for Memory and Mood
The availability of methyl groups is fundamental to every aspect of the brain’s functioning, from its management of our basic physiological functions, such as sleep, to its higher responsibilities of managing memory, mood, judgment, behavior, and personality. The brain must have ample supplies of methyl-B12 along with ample methylfolate, to ensure it can generate sufficient energy, maintain healthy neurotransmitter balance, and carry out hundreds of other enzyme reactions. B12 deficiency can mimic severe memory impairment.
Vitamin B12 in Foods
Vitamin B12 is predominantly found in various meats, such as chicken, beef, fish, pork, and clams. Since it doesn’t naturally occur in plant foods, vegans and vegetarians may have low levels of vitamin B12. Those who don’t get enough in their diet may need to take a B12 supplement. However, the absorption of B12 is complicated and requires a very healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and even meat-eaters can be deficient in B12.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The array of proteins along the GI tract that enable the absorption of vitamin B12 can be damaged by over-the-counter “digestive aids” such as antacids, histamine type 2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Certain antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and metformin also can deplete B12. Growing children, vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women, the elderly, smokers, and others taking various medications, all are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Quality Vitamin B12
BrainMD closely follows clinical and scientific research on vitamins and other nutrients. With vitamin B12, the research clearly proves that methyl-vitamin B12 is the best ingredient to use in supplements. We spare no expense in providing a sufficient allowance of methyl-B12 in our supplements to enable its efficient absorption by mouth. By teaming it with methylfolate, we ensure our customers have access to adequate supplies of methyl, that small chemical group so incredibly important for the health of our brain and entire body.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to support your brain health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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