Healthy Red Blood Cells Need Vitamin B12

A Deficiency can Also Cause Loss of Weight, Nausea, Constipation, and Fatigue

Copyright © All Rights Reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile; Posted December 27, 2011

Vitamin supplements are vital for good health; photo courtesy Kelly Smith


Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin in more pharmacologic circles. It is a key nutrient for ensuring a healthy nerve system and red blood cells. Further, it assists in DNA synthesis; and a deficiency may be incorrectly diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease.

A balanced diet ensures an adequate supply of vitamin B12 In most cases. Which foods will supply a stable level of B12? The Mayo Clinic advises that eggs, poultry, meat, dairy products, and fish are the primary sources.

Considering that, it’s apparent that some vegetarians, and vegans in particular, might have a need to use sources such as supplements to ingest the recommended daily dosage of vitamin B12.

What is the Recommended B12 Dosage?

Even though cobalamin is a key vitamin, high doses are not called for; more is not necessarily better. It’s recommended that adult men and women both need to intake 2.4 mcg per day. Pregnant women need more, an increase up to 2.6 mcg.

However, once they start to breastfeed, up that to 2.8 mcg. For children from nine to approximately 13 years old, the body is undergoing a key growth stage, but since the body weight is less than an adult the recommended dosage is just 1.8 mcg.

Like vitamin C, this vitamin is water-soluble so there is an extremely low risk of toxicity. Human bodies can actually “banks a limited supply so in the short term a deficiency is unlikely as compared to some other vitamins.

B12 Absorbsion by Protein Separation

Whenever the average person consumes B12-rich foods, protein separation from the vitamin will occur during the digestive process. At this point it may be absorbed by the body. Not only vegetarians can have a deficiency issue.

Why? Because some meat-eaters can experience a difficult time absorbing the vitamin for various reasons and may require supplements. As an example, some patients suffering from pernicious anemia may be prescribed supplements by injection.

Vegans can in most cases ingest an acceptable B12 dosage by consuming organic quinoa (complete protein), various beans, or cereals that have been fortified.

Even though the body only needs a rather small dose of this vitamin to function properly, it won’t absorb all that the diet and supplements make available to it. To add insult to injury, the ability to absorb it can actually diminish with age.

To put this in perspective, individuals over the age of 50 may be at risk. Luckily, for these people, supplementing with vitamin pills and/or vitamin-fortified cereals it is usually enough to take care of the deficiency.

The Signs of a B12 Deficiency

The signs of a deficiency may be varied so tests should be conducted to identify whether or not this is the case. Some tell-tale signs may be a general feeling of tiredness, excessive flatulence, loss of weight, nausea, constipation, fatigue.

Research has been conducted that indicates that sometimes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are really caused by a B12 deficiency and may be successfully treated with supplementation.

Other than the supplementation methods mentioned above via specific foods, there are other methods for non-vegetarian individuals that either have trouble absorbing the vitamin. The simplest way is to simply take a daily pill or a multi-vitamin that contains it.

Taking sublingual tablets daily are an even more effective method. These tabs are placed under the tongue. They are quickly dissolved and absorbed and enter directly into the bloodstream. In other cases monthly injections are recommended, but only a doctor can recommend this.

As with all other vitamins, the best approach is to get the RDA (recommended daily allowance) via the diet and introduce supplements when advised by a physician or nutritionist.



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