Every Nutrient

    Benefits of Vitamin B12

    • Nutrients     Vitamins /
    • By EveryNutrient

    Eating foods that are high in vitamin B12 can help prevent conditions such as cancer, neural tube defects, dementia, and depression. Foods high in vitamin B12 include: meat, poultry, and fish.

    What is Vitamin B12?

    Vitamin B12 is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins.

    Function of Vitamin B12:

    The B vitamins work together to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is then “burned” to produce energy. B vitamins are often referred to as B-complex vitamins and are essential in the metabolism of fats and protein. They are necessary for maintaining muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and promoting the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.

    Vitamin B12 is especially important for maintaining healthy nerve cells. It’s also helpful in the production of DNA and RNA (the body’s genetic material). Vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 work closely together to regulate the formation of red blood cells and to help iron function better in the body.

    Deficiency of Vitamin B12:

    In order for the body to absorb vitamin B12, there must be normal function of the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, which is a substance that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12 from the digestive system. Other potential causes include a blood disorder called pernicious anemia, vegetarians who follow a strict vegan or macrobiotic diet, individuals with certain intestinal infections such as tapeworm, and those with an eating disorder.

    Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, diarrhea, shortness of breath, nervousness, and numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes

    Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above. Therefore, it is important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.

    Toxicity (Vitamin B12 Overdose):

    Vitamin B12 supplements should be avoided by people who are sensitive or allergic to cobalamin and cobalt. Taking very high doses of vitamin B12 can cause diarrhea, itching, rash, transitory exanthema, and urticaria. Taking any one of the B complex vitamins for a long period of time can cause an imbalance of the other important B vitamins. To avoid the imbalance, it is recommended that you take a B-complex vitamin instead of isolating any single B vitamin.

    Caution: Eating natural foods that are high in vitamin B12 is the safest and healthiest way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient. Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable healthcare provider before starting doses of supplements. Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first consult with their pediatrician. Also, some supplements may interfere with medications. If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with your physician before taking any supplements. All supplements should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children’s reach.

    Vitamin B12 Food Chart (List of Foods High in Vitamin B12):

    Clams, steamed, 3 ounces – (84.0 mcg)
    Mussels, steamed, 3 ounces – (20.4 mcg)
    Crab, steamed, 3 ounces – (8.8 mcg)
    Salmon, baked, 3 ounces – (2.4 mcg)
    Beef, cooked, 3 ounces – (2.1 mcg)
    Milk, skim, 8 ounces – (0.9 mcg)
    Egg, poached, 1 large – (0.6 mcg)
    Brie, cheese, 1 ounce – (0.5 mcg)
    Chicken, roasted, 3 ounces – (0.3 mcg)
    Turkey, roasted, 3 ounces – (0.3 mcg)

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