Are you familiar with vitamin B12? It is a very important vitamin that is water-soluble. Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system. Some people believe that it can help with weight loss to speed up metabolism, but that has not been proven. Vitamin B12 has been touted as an energy enhancer and metabolism booster These claims are based on the fact that correcting vitamin B12 deficiency should improve the associated symptoms of fatigue and weakness; however, in the absence of a nutritional deficit, vitamin B12 supplementation does not affect physical performance. The Recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg. A lack of vitamin B12 or B12 deficiency occurs when the body does not get or is unable to absorb the amount of vitamin that the body needs. Many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. In addition, people who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet and do not consume eggs or dairy products may need vitamin B12 supplements. Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery, lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 as well as those who have digestive disorders, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease may not absorb enough vitamin B12. Low levels of B12 can cause:
  • Anemia
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
  • Weakness
The best way to meet your body's vitamin B12 needs is to eat a wide variety of foods such as:
  • Eggs
  • Fortified foods such as soymilk
  • Meat
  • Milk and milk products
  • Organ meats (liver and kidney)
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
For people who do not eat animal products, vitamin B12 can be found in almost all multivitamins. Vitamin B12 is better absorbed by the body when it is taken along with other B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and magnesium. A good quality vitamin or B-Complex can give you the B12 you need. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist