Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is required for energy, brain function and many other functions. You know Vitamin B12 contains the mineral cobalt that's where how it got its name Cobalamin. The absorption of Vitamin B12, unlike the other B vitamins, requires the presence of what's called intrinsic factor.
Intrinsic factor is a little protein or glycoprotein made in the stomach and when you have a meal the stomach and secretes it. Intrinsic factor helps Vitamin B12 get absorbed. So some people for genetic reasons don't make intrinsic factor. So they end up with Vitamin B12 deficiency. Even if they ingest normal amounts of B12 they can't get absorb enough into the body. So people are often dependent on Vitamin B12 injections once a month on some level a frequency. Now the truth is taking really high doses of B12 can actually overcome some of the intrinsic factor deficiencies.
There is still another way to do it. But most people go for vitamin B12 shots. But here's the other thing, as we get older the stomach makes less stomach acid and thus, we all make less intrinsic factor o some degree and we all become a little more prone to B12 deficiency as we get older. As well older people often have dyspepsia and gastro esophageal reflux disease and gastritis For these conditons they take antacids or proton pump inhibitor or histamine blocker drugs. These drugs make the stomach less acidic, whihc in turn, further decreases the secretin of intrinsic factor. When you're on these drugs B12 deficiency is very likely to be an outcome.
B12 is really important as it serves many functions as required for red blood cell formation and nerve function. Thus, a serious B12 depletion results in anemia and/or nerve damage. You need B12 for methylation reactions. Thus, many detoxification reactions in the body require B12 because methylation is part of detoxification. And for the brain to make certain brain chemicals neuron transmitters need B12.
B12 also lowers homocysteine. If homocysteine rises too high, you end up with cardiovascular disease like heart attack and stroke. B12 is required to make creatine which is a high octane fuel inside muscle cells. So people become weak without enough B12. B12 is required to make DNA bases for cells to replicate. They have to make a new DNA template each time the cell divides. Without enough B12 the cell can't do it properly. B12 deficiency causes chromosomal linkages to become weak. That can break and mutations form, which increases the risk of developing cancer.
B12 is also needed to produce the myelin sheath which is the coating around the body's nerve cables. Without inadequate myelin coating nerve function becomes altered in a serious way. So with vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, neurological symptoms, depression in the elderly are very common. These conditions are reverible with the B12 supplementation. A rise in homocysteine results in a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. We know cancer risk certainly increases as B12 levels drop.
Supplementation studies with B12 have shown that it's very useful in older people to reverse impaired mental function and reverse some age-related personality problems and memory retention problems that older people get. Gradual B12 deficiency tends to show up in our soceity as people get older and stomach acidity decreases, reducing intrinsic factor secretion. Often the first noticeable changes are in the behaviour of the person because the brain needs B12 to make important chemicals for normal cognition and personality stability. In addition vitamin B12 has also been used to help to treat diabetic neuropathy. It can improve low sperm counts, and give you more energy. So it is a multifaceted vitamins that you really need to pay attention to.
You should click on the link below to to read my summary article on www.meschinohealth.com. It'll help you understand if you're ingesting an optimal amount to B12 for your situation and how to use B12 supplementation for various health conditions in a safe and effective way.
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