Let me ask you a quick question.
If you were to name some of the top 5 vitamins needed for good health, what’s the list you’d come up with?
I’d imagine most of you would automatically list off vitamin C first. Vitamin D would be next, then maybe vitamin E and perhaps vitamin K2 (since I talk about it all the time). Rounding out the list would be one of the B vitamins (there are several).
Out of the B vitamins, the one the majority of people (including yourself) are most familiar with is vitamin B12.
The majority of the population knows vitamin B12 is the vitamin you take if you’re feeling sluggish and want a caffeine-free energy boost. B12 is also the vitamin that turns your pee into a shockingly vivid neon-yellow color (that’s not why you take it though, it’s just an awesome side-effect!).
Surprisingly, B12 is the vitamin millions of Americans are largely deficient in. By my estimation (and the estimation of top researchers), B12 is probably one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world.
However, a deficiency in vitamin B12 isn’t like most other deficiencies.
I want to take some time to explain the various aspects of this deficiency in order to motivate you to optimize your B12 levels in the most beneficial way possible.
Easy Ways To Tell If You’re Possibly Deficient In Vitamin B12
When you hear about nutritional deficiencies, you likely want to know the symptoms related to them so you can see if you need to up your intake.
If you lack optimal levels of B12 in your diet, the easiest way to tell is you’d be dead.
No wait…that’s if you’re deficient in a brain.
Subprime levels of B12 will produce a wide range of negative health effects. In extreme cases, you might suffer from most of the following symptoms; in milder cases, you could be suffering from only a few.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
- Low energy levels/chronic fatigue
- Muscle weakness and tenderness
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Joint pain
- Failing memory
- Inability to focus
- Heart palpitations
- Bleeding gums, mouth sores, ridges along the tongue
- Consistent bouts of intestinal cramping nausea, diarrhea or cramping
- Loss of appetite
- And more.
Now don’t assume just because you read the list (and discovered you’re experiencing a few of the symptoms) you’re deficient in B12.
At the same time, don’t assume you’re not.
If you’re not sure if you’re deficient in B12 or not, take a look at this short list outlining the three most likely reasons you’d have a B12 deficiency.
If you identify with 1 out of 3, you might need extra B12. Ultimately the best way to tell is having blood work done – so that’s a natural follow up if you’re really concerned.
The 3 Leading Causes Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
1 – You’re a Vegan/Vegetarian:
Like many of the nutrients we need for optimal health, Vitamin B12 is found primarily in your diet.
However, unlike many other vitamins, B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products.
That means if you’re a vegan/vegetarian and aren’t supplementing with B12, you could have a deficiency. Likewise, if your diet consists largely of Cheetos, donuts, and an assortment of pre-packaged processed foods, you might also be deficient in B12.
As for anyone who says they can get their B12 from plants, it’s actually been proven eating plant-based B12 increases your need for additional B12.
The reason why is the B12 in plants is actually a B12 analog. In the simplest terms, an analog is a a substance that blocks the uptake of true B12. This process is much more complicated than I alluded to here, but just understand B12 in plants isn’t going to be enough to boost your B12 levels, it’s just not.
Again, rather than helping optimize your B12 levels, these analogs actually make it so your body needs more B12 than you’d expect.
2 – You’re Over 50:
If you’re over the age of 50, the likelihood you’re deficient in B12 is much higher than normal.
According to Harvard Health publications:
“The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 3.2% of adults over age 50 have a seriously low B12 level, and up to 20% may have a borderline deficiency.”
And those numbers are conservative.
The reason for this is, as we age, many of us will experience a decrease in the amount of stomach acid secreted during digestion. It’s estimated anywhere from 10-30% of adults over the age of 50 have low levels of stomach acid.
This becomes a problem because we absorb B12 through the lining of the intestines. Therefore, if your digestion is impeded in any way, the chance your B12 levels will fall increases.
Keep in mind this is also true of people who have leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, acid reflux and other ailments.
3 – You Have MTHFR:
In terms of major health problems affecting millions of Americans, MTHFR might be one of the most poorly known of the lot, while also being one of the most serious.
In simplest terms, MTHFR is the mutation of a certain spot of the human genome, which reduces (or eliminates) the body’s ability to transform nutrients like B12 into their final and useable form.
This mutation can cause some seriously negative health effects. For instance, many of the symptoms you read about above are produced with an MTHFR mutation.
In regards to how the MTHFR mutation contributes to a B12 deficiency, it works like this:
When vitamin B12 enters into your system, your body should engage it at the cellular level and subject the B12 molecules to a process known as methylation. In people who have an MTHFR mutation, the body doesn’t properly methylate the B12, and it passes through the body either unused or not entirely transformed.
It’s like the body goes to shake B12’s hand, totally misses, and then lets it continue on without correcting the situation.
Not that it likes being rude, it just doesn’t know how to perform the handshake.
The end stage of B12 a person would normally use is known as methylcobalamin. However, if you have MTHFR, your body will never convert B12 into methylcobalamin; thus, you end up with less than ideal levels.
Now if you’re wondering if you have MTHFR, you can’t tell by simply looking at a list of symptoms and then making a determination; you actually have to take a test which reveals at the genetic level if the mutation exists.
Take The Best Kind of B12, Whether You’re Deficient Or Not
Every single person needs methylcobalamin in their body.
Whether you get that from diet or not is your choice.
If you identify with any of the categories above, a methylcobalamin supplement will absolutely ensure you’re getting the right kind of B12.
Bear in mind if your B12 supplement is made of cyanocobalamin, then you’re taking a synthetic B12. Your body will still have to convert it into methylcobalamin.
That’ll be really tough if you have MTHFR, are lacking the stomach acid necessary for the job, or eat tons of B12 analogs in your diet.
Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 active in the central nervous system. It is essential for cell growth and replication. In some people the liver may not convert cyanocobalamin, the common supplemental form of vitamin B12, into adequate amounts of methylcobalamin needed for proper neuronal functioning Methylcobalamin may exert its neuroprotective effects through enhanced methylation, acceleration of nerve cell growth, or its ability to maintain already healthy homocysteine levels.10,1
The easiest way to ensure you’re definitely getting enough methylcobalamin is just to take it in its raw form.
We highly recommend Life Extension – Methyl B12 1mg – 60 lozenges. They’re easy to take and provide a perfect amount of B12 for anyone.
Plus, you can get it here (or by clicking the picture) for an awesome price.