Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 21 January 2010
Vitamin B12 has long been held as an important factor in contributing to brain, eye, and heart health, as well as the formation of blood. Not having enough B12 can lead to disease, which is one reason it is important to have your levels tested if you suspect a deficiency, which can be indicated by fatigue, poor memory or memory loss, diarrhea, anemia, and nerve dysfunction. B12 is also crucial for the formation of DNA.
Natural News reports:
Another function of B12 is that it lowers the blood level of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid in protein, but without enough B12 in the blood, homocysteine creates inflammation. Homocysteine is now considered a more important marker for heart disease and stroke than cholesterol. Since heart disease and stroke are the main causes of death of many Americans reducing homocysteine in the blood is important and B12 is one of the important nutrients that does so.
Research has also shown that homocysteine can also prevent migraines and age-related macular degeneration. Headache pain and severity were both reduced when homocysteine levels were brought down by B12 and folic acid supplementation. Age-related macular degeneration risk increased four-fold in those with lowered levels of B12 (under 125 pmol/L). Over 2000 participants were studied via photographs of their retinas.
B12 is especially important for vegetarians, who may not get enough in their diet. B12 can be obtained from food, such as meat, fish, and eggs, but it is also possible to sustain healthy levels of vitamin B12 through supplementation. The best method is by injection, but you can also take sublingual B12 (small tablets you put under your tongue) or in liquid form. The longer you hold the sublingual or liquid B12 in your mouth, the better, since that is how it is best absorbed.
The reason capsules or large tablets, often seen as B complexes or stress management vitamins, are not recommended is that vitamin B12 is not easily or well assimilated through the digestive tract. Thus, your supplements, if they are of this type, are a waste of money and not going to do you much good.
Here, we recommend a B12 dose of 1000 mcg at a time. Injections, the preferrable method of obtaining vitamin B12, are available at the Quinte Naturopathic Centre and are usually but not always booked one a week. They are inexpensive and usually take less than five minutes. Small sublingual tablets as well as B12 liquid, both in 1000 mcg doses, are also available here. The tablets are usually taken daily and the liquid can be anywhere from once daily to once weekly.
Testing for B12 levels is also available at the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. To find out if you are deficient or to book injections or purchase the proper supplements, please contact us by email or phone, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-966-9660.
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