Do you need B12?

3 03 2010

I get a lot of question about B12 so I decided to put some info on the Blog.

Functions of B12

  • Energy production
  • food digestion and absorption
  • nervous system function
  • formation of red blood cells
  • formation of white blood cells
  • adrenal hormone production
  • circulation
  • immune system function
  • mood regulation
  • mental clarity, concentration, memory function
  • melatonin production

Sources of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Vegetarians
  • Decreased production of stomach acid
  • Long-term use of antacid/antiulcer drugs – You need hydrochloric (stomach) acid for the absorption of vitamin B12. If you’re taking an antacid, your stomach won’t be able to digest B12 out of your food. This class of drugs includes H2-receptor antagonists like Zantac and Tagamet, and proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prilosec.
  • Use of the drug metformin for Type 2 diabetes — Use of metformin (brand names include Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Fortamet, Riomet, and Glumetza) may inhibit your B12 absorption.
  • Infection with H. pylori bacteria
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome — This condition results when your stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor.

Intrinsic Factor in B12 Absorption

Vitamin B12 is a very large molecule. Intrinsic factor is made by the stomach. Intrinsic factor attaches onto the B12 and pulls the B12 with it into the cells of your large intestine, where they are absorbed.

If your stomach acid is low, then you’re not producing enough intrinsic factor either and you will also be low in B12.

Warning Signs of B12 Deficiency:

Fatigue and low energy, muscle weakness, tingling in extremities, mental fogginess, memory problems, trouble sleeping, mood swings, lack of motivation.

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