It is common to wonder what vitamin B12 to buy and whether I need a daily or weekly supplement. We hear about it every day, about its importance for the organism and many other things, here you will be able to find all the possible options and different presentations of vitamin B12 that we can find so that you choose the one that suits you best and is adapted to your needs, either because you have some type of deficiency of your blood levels, you are vegan or vegetarian or because your doctor has recommended an extra contribution of B12, you’re home, come in and make yourself comfortable.
Buy vitamin B12 in cyanocobalamin format at cheap prices
It is advisable to buy vitamin B12 in cyanocobalamin format, as it has a higher absorption capacity by the body. This type of supplements are 100% suitable for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, since B12 is synthesized in the laboratory and is not derived from animal origin. If you choose to take 1 pill a week, the amount of B12 in that pill should be 1000 to 2000 mcg. If you prefer the option of a daily pill, be sure to take one daily intake of at least 25 mcg.
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How much vitamin B12 is needed for good health?
Recommended daily doses of Vitamin B12 according to EFSA
Up to 6 months
From 7 to 12 months
From 1 to 3 years
From 4 to 8 years old
From 9 to 13 years old
14 to 18 years old
*People with problems of synthesis or absorption: they should consult a specialist to monitor blood levels of B12.
Vitamin B12 supplementation is recommended for…
If you belong to one of these groups of population at risk you should know that you may have a deficiency in your blood levels of B12, therefore your health may be impaired in the future, what is recommended is to see your doctor or nutritionist and consult possible solutions. She will probably advise you to take some kind of exclusive B12 supplement to restore and control cobalamin levels and that your health is not affected in the short term.
✅ Vegans and vegetarians
One of the population groups most at risk for deficiency are vegans and vegetarians. It has a very simple explanation. This micronutrient is mostly found in foods of animal origin. Therefore, people who do not consume these foods are at serious risk of being deficient. They must take supplements for the body to function properly. People who follow this type of diet with a low or zero consumption of foods of animal origin tend to have deficiency of this vitamin, recent studies have determined that those who practice veganism and also vegetarians have to take a contribution or supplement of this micronutrient to complete the minimum needs necessary for a good state of health.
✅ Older persons
People who reach a certain age in some cases worsen some of the body’s functions, in this case the stomach does not have enough hydrochloric acid and therefore do not have the capacity to absorb all the nutrients from food. It occurs mainly in people over 50 years of age. In this case, in order to avoid cobalamin deficiency, the solution is to take supplements that come into direct contact with the bloodstream, such as sublingual pills or injections.
✅ Pregnant women
If vitamin B12 deficiency occurs during pregnancy, the chances of fetal malformation and premature delivery are increased. In the case of future mothers who are vegan or vegetarian the consumption of a B12 supplement is recommended for the good formation of the foetus as well as to prevent possible future deficiencies or problems in the delivery. It is available to the doctor to prescribe the correct dosage.
Children with eating disorders as well as those on animal-free diets are part of the population at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Signs of deficiency of this B-group micronutrient in young children can lead to a wide variety of problems in growth, movement and development in general.
✅ Pernicious anemia
This population group does not have the intrinsic factor necessary for your body to absorb it. In this case, to avoid a deficiency, doctors usually recommend injections. In recent years, thanks to the progress of medicine, more and more patients are able to meet their nutritional needs through other types of supplements such as pills. Currently, it is estimated that around 2% of people over 60 suffer from pernicious anaemia. This is a relatively serious disease, since it can take years for symptoms to appear, but during this time low cobalamin levels have already caused extensive damage to the body at a functional level.
✅ Gastrointestinal surgery
Also people who have had gastrointestinal surgery or who suffer from various disorders related to the digestive tract such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. They are pathologies that can considerably reduce the amount of B12 that the body is able to absorb. Cobalamin deficiency is common in patients who have undergone some type of gastrointestinal surgery and have not been treated with supplements. This type of operation reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients to a greater or lesser extent, so if supplements that come into direct contact with the bloodstream are not taken, it is virtually certain that deficiencies will occur.
✅ Celiac disease
Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common in celiac people, that is, they are intolerant to gluten; as long as they are not treated. A study in the United States found that 20% of celiacs suffer from deficiency of this nutrient that is so important for health. However, if a person with celiac disease is undergoing medical treatment, who can provide clinical follow-up and prescribe the supplements that your body needs, there should be no problem.
✅ Cardiovascular diseases
One of the risk factors for any type of cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction, is high homocysteine levels in the body. Well, the deficiency of cobalamin causes homocysteine levels to rise, or rather, it causes this amino acid not to be regulated, especially in people over 60 years of age; thus increasing, and considerably, the probability of suffering from various cardiovascular diseases.
The relationship between vitamin deficiency and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s is real. Virtually 100% of people with dementia have a lower concentration of vitamin B12 in brain spinal fluid than healthy people. A lack of this nutrient over a long period of time can even lead to a decrease in brain mass. There are many studies that show that maintaining adequate levels in the body can partially stop memory loss.
This has not only and exclusively physical but also mental implications, as we have just seen. It is estimated that about 30% of people with depression are deficient in this nutrient. This has a very simple explanation: SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine, which are the most important coenzymes in the normal production of serotonin and melatonin from L-tryptophan) plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters and, for their synthesis, cobalamin is essential.
What is and what is vitamin B12 for?
Also called cobalamin, it is one of the most important nutrients in the body, as it helps keep neurons and red blood cells healthy. In addition to this important role in the proper functioning of the body, B12 plays a leading role in DNA production and in the prevention of pernicious anaemia, which is characterized by extreme fatigue and weakness.
It is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B complex vitamins. Despite its many health benefits, it was discovered later than other vitamins in the mid-20th century.
Although the amount of this vitamin that the body needs is not particularly large, this nutrient plays a key role in both physical and mental health.
In the next sections we will explain everything related to this vitamin so important for health and for the body. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious disease and its excess can be a symptom of a considerable pathology, so it is important to know how to maintain our cobalamin levels on average; we explain it all below.
What benefits does vitamin B12 have for the body?
This is essential for the body because of its enormous amount of benefits, some of which are practically vital and others secondary but only add to the importance of micronutrient.
- The main benefit of vitamin B12, and the best known of all, is that it is one of the most important nutrients involved in red blood cell production; without it, the body is unable to synthesize them. Blood cells are especially important because they carry oxygen to the blood, making it possible for all cells to carry out their functions.
- In addition, it maintains the body’s homocysteine levels, in combination with vitamin B9. This is directly related to certain cardiovascular diseases.
- This micronutrient also plays a leading role in fertility, for both men and women. It is indispensable for the fetus to develop properly. In the case of men, their lack may in some cases lead to inadequate sperm production.
- This vitamin also plays a major role in certain diseases such as depression. It is very important that it remains at its normal levels to improve the symptoms of a depressive state.
- In the case of children, not having low levels of cobalamin is a critical issue; otherwise, they may suffer serious developmental consequences. This micronutrient helps prevent hearing problems and also protects the immune system.
- In order to enjoy a good state of health, it is equally important the physical and mental state in the organism. The B12 acts as a protective shield against stress. Nowadays, there are many of us who live a truly chaotic pace of life, combining work and personal life. Thus, it is important to maintain good levels of this nutrient in the body so that we do not overcome stress.
- It is also essential for the absorption of vitamin A and iron, two essential components for the proper functioning of the body. Vitamin A has a wide selection of functions, such as strengthening the immune system or repairing tissues, among others. Iron, on the other hand, is a key mineral in the formation of blood, which is necessary for oxygen to be transported throughout the body.
- It also has great benefits at bone level. It is an essential micronutrient for keeping bone cells in good condition. This is one of the reasons why in children and the elderly their lack becomes more pronounced.
- Another benefit is that it ensures that the mind works properly. In fact, low levels of B12 are related to brain mass loss.
- It is also very important in the body’s energy production.
- And, of course, this B-group vitamin plays a key role in cell renewal, along with other nutrients and, to a greater extent, folic acid.
As you can see, the benefits of vitamin B12 in the body are many and varied. That is why we insist so much on the importance of guaranteeing good levels of this micronutrient in the body because it is one of the most important of the human body, so it must be cared for with special care.
How is B12 absorbed and stored in our body?
Two steps are necessary for the body to absorb it. First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein in the food in which it is present. And, secondly, it is mixed with the so-called intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach that allows the body to absorb cobalamin if there is no other drawback.
Storage occurs mainly in the liver, where, already transformed, the vitamin has a half-life of between 2 and 3 years. However, it can also be stored in other organs such as the pancreas, testicles, or blood itself.
What symptoms does vitamin B12 deficiency cause in health?
The lack of this important micronutrient for the body can be catastrophic for health in the medium to long term. This is a serious pathology. Some of the main symptoms of cobalamin deficiency are fatigue, weakness and pernicious anemia; these are the three main warning signs, which occur in practically 100% of patients with low levels. In addition, in some cases other symptoms may occur, such as numbness of the extremities, neurological problems and even balance and depression. Disorders occur both physically and mentally.
Typical symptoms of vitamin deficiency:
- General weakness
- Appearance of pernicious anemia
- Numbness of the extremities
- Neurological problems
- Loss of balance
And too much B12? Can it be a health problem?
Just as low vitamin levels are a serious pathology, their excess is also important to control. Therefore, the key to good health is finding a balance.
According to a study conducted by Ohio State University and Taiwan’s National University, the chances of developing lung cancer are about 40% higher in people who take too much cobalamin and pyridoxine – a very high number that is worth considering.
Following a balanced diet it is practically impossible to suffer excess vitamin B12 in the body. The problem comes when you follow a varied diet, with both animal and vegetable foods, and in addition, supplements of this vitamin group B are taken without any control. The ideal dosage for people who eat everything and don’t have any absorption problems is one 1000 microgram pill of this nutrient per week, no more.
Which foods are rich in cobalamin?
As for the sources of cobalamin, indicate that they are practically all of animal origin. Although it is true that there are some foods of plant origin that contain it, its quantity is minimal. That’s why it’s so important for vegans and vegetarians to take supplements so they don’t have a deficiency.
Foods of animal origin
There are numerous foods of animal origin that are a source of perfect vitamin B12 and whose consumption is highly recommended.
- Meat: Beef is the most nutrient of this nutrient in meats. It is precisely the cow’s or veal’s liver that provides the greatest contribution; the amount ranges from 65 to 80 micrograms per 100 grams. Lamb meat is also a good option to provide the body with the amount of this vitamin it needs; 100 grams of lamb kidneys contain 55 micrograms of this vitamin.
- Eggs: Eggs are part of virtually all non-vegan diets. So it’s worth knowing that eggs have a lot of vitamin B12, especially in yolk. The amount depends very much on the type of animal, but a large chicken egg already gives us 1 microgram.
- Milk and dairy products: One cup of milk provides about 1 milligram of this protein. In addition, milk is a very calcium-rich food, which is good for bone health, especially in older people and children. Dairy products such as strong cheese or curing or yogurt are also rich in this micronutrient.
- Fish: Of course, we can’t forget fish. The species that contain the most cobalamin are salmon, sardines, herring and tuna. In addition, fish are rich in Omega 3 and other nutrients essential to the body.
Food of vegetable origin
As we have pointed out, food of plant origin in no case provides the necessary daily amount. Only foods of animal origin such as those explained in the previous section are capable of providing by themselves that daily contribution necessary for the body.
Therefore, for vegan and vegetarian people, supplementation will be mandatory if you want to enjoy good health. Even so, you can always look for the richest food of plant origin, but it will never serve as a sufficient source of B12.
One of the fashionable foods among vegan and vegetarian people today in the West is tempeh, or derived from fermented soybeans. Know that it is one of the most vitamin B12-intensive plant-based foods. There are more products derived from fermented soya beans on the market, but they do not reach the level of tempeh intake.
Some species of edible mushrooms are also a good option to provide the organism with a small dose such as the trumpet of death and chantarella.
Edible algae also contain a minimal expression of B12; a product that has been consumed in Asia for thousands of years but which has not reached Europe until a few years ago. The best in this case is the nori seaweed. In addition to being rich in this micronutrient, it also contains others that are very important for the proper functioning of the body, such as iron, vitamin A or polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Which vitamin B12 supplements to buy and in which formats or presentations?
The most common supplement format is the pill, tablets, tablets or drops.
- There are daily pills (between 180 and 250 mmicrograms)
- Weekly tablets (containing between 1000 and 2000 micrograms)
The dosage varies from person to person. Of course, pills or tablets need the body to be able to absorb vitamin, as do all the other nutrients in food. Therefore, people with absorption problems should bet on supplements that come into direct contact with the bloodstream, such as sublingual pills, nasal gels, or injections.