B12 is the most complex and unique of all B vitamins. The only source of B12 in nature is from microbial synthesis from good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and from eating meat. Because it is not found in plants, it is a common deficiency for vegans and vegetarians, and because B12 is created in the intestinal tract, its absorption is also greatly inhibited by gastrointestinal disorders like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, ilietis, colitis, parasites or any other disorders that impair intestinal function.
So why is B12 so important? B12 is vital for amino acid synthesis, DNA replication and the manufacturing of neurotransmitters that are partially responsible for stabilizing mood and sleep patterns. Signs of deficiency include gastrointestinal disturbance, hypotension, fatigue, numbness, tingling in extremities, confusion and agitation.
B12 is also needed to metabolize essential fatty acids, so a deficiency can result in impairment of brain and nerve tissue, like the myelin sheath. Prolonged deficiency of B12 can lead to a variety of central nervous system symptoms, and some neurological disturbances can become permanent. Maintaining and replenishing B12 is most effective by injection or supplementation, combined with the right diet.
The body’s daily needs for B12 are minimal—it’s such a valuable nutrient that the body doesn’t readily excrete it. The average required daily allowance is about 2-3 mcg. High dietary sources of B12 are organ meats, clams, oysters, salmon, sardines and egg yolks.
Relying on proper dietary choices to support the good bacteria in the gut is a vital way to ensure you’re getting the B12 you need. Maintain balanced gut flora through high-quality probiotics such as Dr. Ohhira’s, a superior, fermented food-based probiotic, Pharmax’s HLC High Potency Probiotics or Thorne Research’s FloraMend Prime Probiotic. You may also want to incorporate fermented foods like unpasteurized kimchi, miso and sauerkraut into your diet, and ensure you’re getting enough fiber from vegetables, nuts and seeds in order to maintain balance in the digestive tract.
Following are some of the high-quality, B12 supplements we offer at Pharmaca, all forms of methylcobalamin, which is naturally the most bioavailable form: Pharmaca’s Vitamin B12 Sublingual, Superior Source’s No Shot Vitamin B12 or Natural Factors B12 Methylcobalamin.