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Friday, December 11, 2009

Vitamin B12

Consult your medical practitioner before taking a supplement if you are on medication of any kind, or have a health disorder. You never know what might contraindicate the information here, and I am not qualified to diagnose or prescribe. I only share information as a health enthusiast.

Essential supplement for vegans!

And I've been forgetting to take mine. That's rather frightening, because a deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia, which can cause irreversible nerve damage and paralysis. Worse yet, the damage is done before you even know you have pernicious anemia!

It's not that I'm unaware, don't think it's necessary to take it, or that it's difficult to take, expensive, or that I ran out. I have it, it's cheap and easy to take. It just got pushed to the back of my vitamin drawer and I forgot about it. Sometimes I take a multiple vitamin that contains B12, but those I did run out of...several weeks ago. And even though I have a bottle of sublingual B12, I didn't think to start taking it again.

So, I went and popped one under my tongue, and put the bottle where I'll see and remember it! You may want to take some, too, if you're vegetarian or vegan, and perhaps even if you're an omnivore.

For extra assurance take a sublingual form. B12 needs intrinsic factor to be utilized, and if your levels are low, the B12 tablet you swallow can give you a false sense of security.

Why, you may ask, is a sublingual form better? There's a great blood supply under the tongue, and B12 is readily absorbed through the skin. Put the two together and you have an excellent supply route.

For additional health protection, get a supplement that also has folic acid. You can have elevated homocysteine levels when either B12 or folic acid (B9) is inadequate. "Strong evidence has been gathered over the past decade that even slightly elevated homocysteine levels increase risk of heart disease and stroke and pregnancy complications." []

If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, perhaps you get sufficient B12 from animal products. But in addition to intrinsic factor, hydrochloric acid is required to get the process started. Are your levels of hydrochloric acid sufficient? Has your hydrochloric acid been neutralized?

What, you may ask, would neutralize hydrochloric acid? Calcium (supplement, acid neutralizer such as Tums, or some medications) or baking soda, for starters. So even omnivores may need a B12 supplement!

Below are links to further information, followed by links to a variety of B12 products, by various companies, in different potencies...some sublingual, some sprays (same principle) and some with folic acid. You're sure to find one that fits your needs.

Regarding potency, Adelle Davis recommended 50 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin B12 once a week for vegetarians. The NIH link below has an RDA chart for B12. (Note, theirs is calculated for daily intake, Ms. Davis' recommendation was a weekly amount.) Also, before adding B12 as a supplement, read the labels of packaged foods you consume. Some are fortified with B12.

Further Information on Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 Wiki

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12 - at NIH, the official facts on B12

What Every Vegan Should Know about Vitamin B12

Purchase B12 Supplements at

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