Get a Brain Buzz with Vitamin B12
Why I Love my B12
B-complex vitamins are important for various functions in the human body. Whether it is energy production, body defense mechanisms, or red blood cell formation, the B-group vitamins play pivotal roles by working in tandem or individually. Vitamin B12, in particular, has a great impact on brain health.
Vitamin B12, is an essential vitamin for the proper functioning and development of the brain and nerve cells. It plays an important role in the maintenance of the sheaths that cover and protect the nerves of the nervous system, ensuring fast and effective nerve-impulse transmission.
A fatty substance called myelin is essential for the formation of these sheaths. Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in the synthesis and maintenance of myelin. The neurological problems caused by vitamin B12 deficiency later in life are due to the damage caused to the myelin sheath.
How to Test Your Levels of B12
Often my patients are told that their B12 levels are terribly high because they are testing their b12 levels in the blood. However blood tests only measure the current status of the blood. So if you’ve taken a B12 supplement, vitamin shot, or have increased it in your diet then chances are it will show incredibly high.
The most specific test for testing your B12 status would be Methylmalonic Acid (MMA). MMA builds up in the system when B12 status is poor. It is the most specific test for measuring B12 status because B12 is the only necessary co-enzyme needed to keep levels low. MMA can be measured in both the urine and the blood.
Where Can You Get More B12?
If you test as B12 deficient or simply suspect you may be deficient, there are a few ways to increase your intake of vitamin B12.
Foods rich in vitamin B12 include beef and chicken liver, wild-caught fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and trout are the best sources), organic yogurt, raw milk, and grass-fed turkey, lamb, and beef tenderloin. Unfortunately, research shows that healthy adults typically absorb no more than 50% of the vitamin B12 found in foods, often less! So make sure you’re eating multiple servings of these foods each day.
One important note for vegans/vegetarians: contrary to popular belief, vitamin B12 is found ONLY in animal products. Plant sources commonly held to contain B12 (like seaweed, algae, spirulina, fermented soy, and brewer’s yeast) don’t actually do so. Studies show that these plant sources actually contain a pseudo form of B12 that blocks the intake of true vitamin B12! So, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you absolutely need to supplement with vitamin B12 including other B-vitamins.
The quickest and most effective method for retaining B12 would be through an injection. When administered intramuscularly, it bypasses the gut and will be absorbed in your body 100% and immediately.
Need to get your hands on a B12 shot? Stop by the Vitamin Shot Bar!