Are Vitamin B12 Supplements Safe?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that the body needs for proper red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and neurological function. B12 can be found in many foods and it may be added to others. It is available in supplement form in regular and prescription strength.

Foods that naturally contain vitamin B12 include liver, clams, trout, salmon, yogurt, tuna, milk, eggs, chicken, and ham. B12 is usually added to breakfast cereals, which provide 100 percent of the daily value. At 48 micrograms (mcg) and 34.2 mcg, respectively, liver and clams contain the highest amounts of vitamin B12, while chicken has the lowest at 0.3 mcg. Liver provides 800 percent of the daily value and clams provide 570 percent. Trout provides 90 percent and salmon provides 80 percent.

It’s very easy to get enough B12 from diet alone because the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are so low. Individuals age 14 and older need only 2.4 mcg per day. Pregnant women need only 2.6 mcg and lactating women need 2.8 mcg.

While vitamin B12 deficiency is unlikely, it is not impossible. B12 deficiencies may affect individuals with untreated anemia and the elderly because the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin decreases with age. In these cases, B12 supplements may be prescribed in either regular or prescription strength. The strength and dosage will depend on the severity of the anemia other condition.

Although it’s best to take vitamin B12 supplements under a doctor’s care, this vitamin is not dangerous. Even if taken in large amounts, a B12 overdose is highly unlikely. When taken orally, any B12 that cannot be absorbed is eliminated through the colon.

If you think you might be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, contact your doctor to discuss your concerns. He will order certain lab tests that will help confirm a deficiency. Once confirmed, he may prescribe prescription strength B12 or a low dose vitamin B12 supplement that can beurchased at any vitamin emporium or drug store.

For more information about vitamin B12 supplements, visit the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health at http://ods.od.nih.gov/.

  

One more nail in the vegan diet coffin, but they’re not the only group at risk

Vitamin B12 is known as the ?energy vitamin,? and it is essential for many critical functions in your body, including energy production, supporting your immune system, and helping to regulate the formation of red blood cells. Recent studies from the US Framingham trial show that one in four adults in the US are deficient in this vitally important nutrient and nearly half of the population has suboptimal blood levels.

Bioavailable (absorbable) Vitamin B12 is present only in animal sources of food, which is one of the many reasons to stay away from a strict vegetarian or a vegan diet. In India, which is primarily a vegetarian based culture, current studies show about 80% of the adults are deficient in vitamin B12. But vegetarians are not the only ones at risk.

The older you get the more likely you are to have a vitamin B12 deficiency. The two ways that you become deficient in vitamin B12 are from not getting enough in your diet and from losing the ability to absorb it.

The older you get the more your digestive system breaks down, especially if you have been following the standard American diet. Specifically the lining of your stomach gradually loses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid which releases vitamin B 12 from your food. The use of antacids or anti ulcer drugs will also lower your stomach acid secretion and decrease your ability to absorb vitamin B 12. Infection with Helicobactor pylori, a common contributor to stomach ulcers, can also result in vitamin B12 deficiency.

However the main cause of vitamin B 12 deficiency is a term researchers call food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome. Cobalamin is the scientific term for vitamin B12. This typically results when your stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor which is a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows your body to absorb it at the end of your small intestine.

Mercola.com

  

Vegan diet not an option

In a December Q & A, there was a questioin about a comparison between a vegan diet and the American Diabetes Associations diet for controlling diabetes. The question was raised after a reader read about a particular study advocating a vegan diet for controlling blood sugar levels. The study claims a vegan diet works as well, if not better than the standard diet for diabetics.

I think you will find the response very interesting. A case is made against eating a vegan diet for any reason. The reader is informed about the anatomy of herbivores as compared to omnivores which is what humans are. The following is a sample from the Q & A column:

Myth: You can obtain vitamin B12 from plant sources.

Fact: One can only obtain B12 analogues (similar structure) from plant sources. The problem with these analogues is they are not bioavailable, which means our bodies cannot use them.

Myth: Vegetarians/Vegans live longer.

Fact: There is no scientific proof of this whatsoever. The few studies that have reported a longer life span among vegetarians have been shown to be “misinterpreted” to support a politically correct view.

It is important to note that not too long ago a vegan diet was not even an option. Without modern day supplements and food enrichment it was not possible for a human to survive on such a diet. Too many essential nutrients are lacking

To see the entire column go here.

  

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