Holistic Nutrition: B12

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Good morning, evening, afternoon… I hope that you are all doing well and in good health. Here in Egypt, things are getting cooler, and we got our first rain of the winter season. It’s a beautiful change of seasons. How is the weather there?

B12 is essential to the formation of 

  • Red blood cell formation:
    • (Red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow of the bone. This formation is called hemocytoblasts. Red Blood cells transport oxygen to our bodies’ tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide.)
  • Cell metabolism:
    • (Producing a chemical reaction by transforming metabolites to break down molecules to generate energy. )
  • Nerve function:
    • ( Promotes nerve regeneration and improves the function of nerves. Our nerves are vital because they are responsible for reacting to external and internal stimuli. nerves deliver feelings to our body and skin; they are streets to our brain for dopamine and other hormones. )
  • Production of DNA:
    • ( Helps to guarantee structurally stable of chromosomes. B12 maintains the DNA patterns and replication of repair, which could help in more extended longevity and help with inherited diseases.

What happens if you are deficient in B12? What are the warning signs?

  • Fatigue- Extremely tired
  • Pins and needles- that feeling that your hand fell asleep
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle weakness.
  • A sore and red tongue.
  • Psychological problems (depression, confusion, anxiety. )
  • Disturbed vision (deficiency causes damage to the optic nerve, which could lead to blurred vision )
  • Tings yellow skin
  • Irritability
  • Lightheadedness, feeling of no breath. 

How do we become deficient in B12?

  • Vegans 
  • vegetarians
  • Coffee and caffeine (is a diuretic and could inhibit the amount absorbed in the body.)
  • Alcohol 
  • Individuals that have had any type of stomach surgery
  • Weight loss surgery. 
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Celiac Disease

Certain medications can inhibit the absorption of B12.

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (anti-acid)
    • omeprazole
    • pantoprazole 
    • esomeprazole 
  •  histamine blockers – cimetidine
  • Metformin
  • Ethanol
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Colchicine
  • Beclomethansone
  • Budesonide
  • Dexamethasone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Mometasone Furoate
  • Triamcinolone

These are medications that people may need temporarily or maybe for longer. So we have to make sure that we keep track of our B12 levels. A simple blood test at the doctor. Not a huge process, but so crucial to our overall health. 

Our daily recommended amount of B12 is 2.4 Micrograms; higher doses have shown to be safe as its water-soluble body tends to absorb what it needs and then passes the extra through your urine. 

Where can we find B12? 

Well, we talked a bit about it already with where to find whole food. I want to add that choosing the cleanest meat, milk, and fish products is very important. Is it ethically raised? What is it eating? is it organic? Ensuring this is critical to our food’s quality of vitamins and minerals in our food.

What foods have the highest levels of B12

  • Animal liver
  • Kidneys
  • Clams
  • Beef
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • eggs

There is Fortified food for vegans like: 

  •  Nondairy milk (soy)
  • Fortified nutritional yeast (good source of protein)
  • Fortified cereals

I don’t recommend this for vegans or non-vegans because fortified food tends to be not clean of added sugars or chemicals. Overall health, it is not good to eat fortified food… I would rather see a vegan eat a whole food nutrient-dense diet and then get their B12 from supplements. This way, you know where and what supplements you are ingesting. 

So, what supplements should we take? 

My recommendations:
Whole food supplements fist like: 

One more note: B12 is very important for pregnant women: B12 helps the nervous system and prevents spinal Bifida, and other central and nervous system disorders.

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