Cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, is an essential vitamin critical to function and health that is not naturally synthesized in our bodies. This vitamin can be obtained through the consumption of animal products in which bacteria within these foods synthesize it or through synthetic forms such as tablets, injections or additives. Some of the most B12 dense foods include shellfish, cow liver, fish, crab, fortified soy products, red meat, low fat dairy products, cheese, and eggs. As an alternative to these animal products, rice milk, fortified energy bars, and yeast extract have high B12 content as well.
Some major health benefits of B12 include lowering the levels of homocysteine, a protein in the blood which is known to lower nerve and heart health. Therefore, by lowering this protein level in the blood through the increase of B12, it increases protection against heart disease, increases DNA protection and repair which helps reduce cancer risks and slows aging, and increases protection against dementia and cognitive decline. It is also known that B12 and B9 (folate) deficiencies can double the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as lower energy and endurance. Slight deficiencies in B12 can have adverse health effects including immediate signs of anemia, fatigue, mania, depression, and long term affects including permanent brain and nerve damage.
During normal absorption of vitamin B12, proteins in the stomach combine with the vitamin and aid in its absorption in the small intestine. Those at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include people who have Atrophic Gastiris, an inability to absorb B12 from natural food sources, those with anemia, vegans or vegetarians, pregnant or lactating mothers, and those on certain medications. Also, individuals over the age of 50 have a declining ability to absorb B12, those who have had GI surgery, or those with pernicious anemia which decreases levels of proteins that aid in absorption. Recommended treatment or prevention for people B12injections or supplements. Also, topically B12 can be applied in combination with avocado or coconut oil to help treat skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
For more information about vitamin B12 injections, please visit Seattle Naturopathic Center or call 206-319-5322