Reaping The Benefits Of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an unusual vitamin because of its size, origin and the complicated process of absorption.
These are the factors that may serve as precursors for vitamin deficiency and complications.
It is critical that deficiency is avoided because the benefits of vitamin B12 in human physiology can be compromised. While it is a water-soluble vitamin that can easily be excreted through the urine, a certain fraction of it is stored in the liver, kidney and other tissues in the body. It is a vitamin that plays critical role in many metabolic reactions in the human body.
1. Having erythrocytes or red blood cells which are developing normally is one of the many benefits of vitamin B12. Hence, anemia results or the reduction in the number of red blood cells which also diminish the oxygen carrying potential of the blood playing an important role in cellular processes.
2. To generate energy, there is a need for oxygen so that carbohydrates, fats and glucose can be transformed and processed by metabolism to release energy. Thus, vitamin B12 has been associated with boosting of energy or fatigue and lethargy in the body when there is deficiency.
3. The development of neurons or nerve cells is another of the important benefits of vitamin B12. A deficiency often manifests itself in the development of neuronal dysfunction with symptoms similar to senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B12 and a healthy nervous system also prevent depression, stress, and brain atrophy or degeneration.
4. The benefits of vitamin B12 also include the prevention of many dreadful afflictions. Among the benefit is the better control on the levels of cholesterol that is so intricately connected to many other diseases like diabetic neuropathy,tinnitus, hypertension, heart diseases and multiple sclerosis.
5. Interestingly, it is also essential to keep skin, hair, and nails healthy. This is because vitamin B12 can make regeneration and oxygenation possible.
Recently, weight loss is also being related to vitamin B12. There are certainly no scientific basis to think that these could be among the benefits of vitamin B12 yet many weight loss centers are already into it.
For the time being, it will be important to focus on maintaining a healthy level of the vitamin because deficiency is a real risk.
It is a such a rare gift because it not only cheap, it is also poses very little risks.
What is Vitamin B12 All About
Are you having problems remembering?
When this comes with symptoms like numbness in the extremities, strong heart palpitations, sore tongue and depression, most likely need of vitamin B12. You might wondering what is vitamin B12 and what does it have to do with these symptoms?
What is vitamin B12 or cobalamin is that it is a water soluble vitamin which plays significant function in the formation of red blood cells (RBC), in the development and normal functions of neuron (nerve cells) and in the cycling of protein for proper growth and regeneration of cells.
Furthemore, it is essential in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) synthesis and energy production. These mean that if there will be deficiency in B12, an individual would likely suffer from anemia, specifically pernicious anemia where the RBC appears larger than usual, irregular in shape and could not effectively transport oxygen (O2).
This may also mean that the myelin sheath, surrounds neurons in the spinal cord and brain, will not be properly formed.
Muscle cells may possibly not grow or regenerate appropriately as amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, happen to unavailable with vitamin B12 deficiency. The process of movement of carbohydrates and fats are compromised also while affecting the overall metabolism as well generation of energy. For people wanting to know the answer to what is vitamin B12, you would not want to live with it to know.
What is vitamin B12 and what makes it rather unique is its source? Plants and animals do not have the capacity to produce it. They are only created by certain bacteria and algae but conversions in form may take place in the human body. There is no need to overdose, however, because in humans this is stored for over 20 years. With certain stomach conditions that allow minimal absorption of the vitamin and vegetarian diet, however, conscious efforts to take vitamin B12 following a regime is in order.
Great sources of vitamin B12 are food cooked from food from animal like snapper and calf’s liver. Great sources are sea plants, algae, yeasts, and fermented plant foods like tempeh, miso, or tofu from plants.
However, for this vitamin, plant sources are unreliable.
The Complex Process Of Vitamin B12 Absorption
Eating is a pleasurable experience as human is endowed with taste buds that give distinction to flavors.
Technically speaking, feeding is a process that provides cells the building blocks as well as other raw materials to maintain optimum growth, metabolism and processes. This is why, eating is not all about gratification. Certain nutrients need to be taken up in the right amounts to make them beneficial to human bodies.
Vitamin B12 absorption is a clear problem.
It is one of those hard to hard to find nutrients. This is because the digestive conditions are not always up to par so that the vitamin is not absorbed as it should be. The outcome is deficiency due to the failed vitamin B12 absorption and not because of dietary inadequacy.
Dietary insufficiency is not the only reason which causes vitamin B12 deficiency. It could also be due to physiological reasons. For vitamin B12 absorption to take place in the small intestine there are several processes that need to happen without hitches and these are:
1. While Vitamin B12 is released from the proteins from food in the stomach, it fuses with R-proteins to create a complex called B12-R complex.
2. Meanwhile, intrinsic factors (IF) which are protein in nature are produced by the stomach cells called parietal cells stimulated by the gastric acids and the food itself.
3. By the time the proteases (enzymes that act on proteins) degrade the B12-R complex, it will free the B12 that will coalesce next with the IF thus forming the B12-IF complex. For vitamin B12 absorption to occur, the complex needs to travel to the farthest portion of the small intestine, the ileum.
Henceforth, there is the prerequisite for normal gastric and intestinal conditions to be present so that vitamin B12 absorption can occur. A decrease in the acidity of the stomach due to certain, ailments, indiscriminate uptake of antacids, infections or aging can lead to failure to form the B12-R complex. The ability to form the second complex, B12IF is also important because the receptors in the ileum only distinguishes this complex for the absorption to take place.
Therefore, what ensures vitamin B12 absorption is an undamaged and healthy stomach, small intestine and pancreas.
Diagnosis Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
There are physical manifestations that can make us infer on the condition of vitamin B12 deficiency such as anemia, poor memory, depression, and fatigue to name a few.
What makes easy diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency difficult is having nonspecific signs and symptoms. This means that in order to accurately diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency as a disease, the signs and symptoms must first be ascertained to be related to its deficiency and not to another ailment.
Diagnostic tests validate vitamin B12 deficiency. Yet, most are still not certain. Hence, a battery of tests is usually done like:
1. Babinski reflex is observed only among infants that should be lost when the brain develops in a year. If the reflex persist beyond said time, it could signify nerve path damage.
2. Complete Blood Count or CBC and Reticulocyte Count can generate a lot of information about blood conditions. The status of blood formation in the bone marrow can signify activity and such can be ascertained using the Reticulate Count.
3. Homocysteine test and Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) Tests can be used to check to see why vitamin B12 levels are low; these substances in the blood increases as the level of vitamin B12 decreases.
4. Serum Vitamin B12 level and serum folate levels can assess e levels of anemia and vitamin B12 .
5. Serum LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) Test determines the concentration of blood LDH to indicate anemia of vitamin B-12 deficiency, Megaloblastic anemia and Pernicious anemia.
6. The Schilling test is used to determine whether the body absorbs vitamin B12 normally.
*Stage I –Find out if the body has the ability to take in vitamin B12 normally. Out of range results indicate a possibility of deficiency, so the patient moves to Stage II.
*Stage II –The condition in the stomach is assessed by the administration of a radioactive along with intrinsic factor to check if the intrinsic factor in the stomach is being synthesized to absorb vitamin B12 well. Should the results be unfavorable, the patient moves to Stage III.
*Stage III –This is administered to find out if infection is causing the Vitamin B12 deficiency so infection is treated first with 2 weeks of antibiotics.
*Stage IV: -This stage’s goal is to make certain if pancreatic enzymes is related to the deficiency.
Should all the tests confirm the condition of vitamin B12 deficiency, it is important to see a physician right away to prevent complications.
Vitamin B12 Side Effects Are Uncommon But Real Possibilities
Vitamin B12 is unusually a big molecule, scarce and involves a rather difficult absorption mechanism.
Its rarity is particularly related to the fact that it can only be biosynthetically produced by select bacteria and algae. Only very few foods may be regarded as excellent sources, hence vitamin B12 side effects are remote to happen by diet alone. Supplements are more possible reasons for ingesting higher than normal dosages of vitamin B12. People who take as much as 1000 mcg do not lead to untoward effects unless there is an allergy.
It is common to see adverse reactions or vitamin B12 side effects if it gets into the system of a person with allergy to it. These allergic reactionsor vitamin B12 side effects are often observed when the vitamin is given as an injection. It worth mentioning though that as of this writing, the cause of the vitamin B12 allergy is still not certain whether it is the preservative used in the injection solution or the vitamin itself. Sensitivity to cobalt or cobalamin are also possibilities. During such instances, signs and symptoms include rashes, hives, diarrhea, chest pains, panic attacks, anxiety, and heart palpitations among others.
Predisposal to certain medical conditions or dug interactions can also lead to vitamin B12 side effects. The compicating medical and physiological conditions are discussed below:
1.Blindness can be a repercussion if an individual is already afflicted with Leber’s Disease which is a hereditary eye disease. Taking vitamin B12 can seriously injure the optic nerves.
2.Vitamin B12 deficiency may precipitate megaloblastic anemia or a type of anemia where the red blood cells are abnormally large. Such signs and symptoms are generally easy to treat but may also be difficult at times. If there is something to watch out for, it is the sudden appearance of vitamin B12 side effects especially after administration of B12 injections. If a therapy needs to be administrered, it is highly recommended that professional help be sought first.
3.High concentrations of vitamin B12 may unmask a disease called polycythemia vera. This blood condition is manifested by showing high-density of red blood cells.
4.Drug interactions can happen between vitamin B12 and the drugs used to treat certain diseases such as Metformin for diabetes; cimetidine, omeprazole and lansoprazole for peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux; and chloramphenicol for certain bacterial infections.
The common consequence is the poor absorption of vitamin B12 when it is combined with the abovementioned medications. The rule is really simple concerning the prevention of any untoward vitamin B12 side effects; consult a doctor before taking any new drug.