Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

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General Description:

  • cobalamin or cyanocobalamin (the ”red” vitamin)
  • although many doctors, nutritionists, and books will say that B12 is only found in animal products this is false because it naturally occurs in a type of blue-green algae called Spirulina
  • you require only a few micrograms each day
  • blood contains only about 5 nanograms (billionths of a gram) per liter, which represents less than one part per trillion of bodyweight
  • if you lack that miniscule amount it leads to pernicious anemia, which gradually destroys the myelin sheath of the nerves, leading to blindness, insanity, and death
  • 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazolyl cobamide is a coenzyme and the form of B12 that the body uses
  • the dibencoside form of the vitamin is an expensive form of the vitamin, but the body efficiently converts 5,6-methylbenzidazolyl cobamide to dibencoside in the body, so there is no need to take the expensive form

Actions:

  • forms part of the coenzymes essential for all cells, particularily rapid turnover cells, the lining of the digestive tract, and bone marrow cells
  • guarded preciously by the body, B12 is called upon to do it’s work and then reabsorbed
  • has a role in treating pernicious anemia
  • versatile vitamin that serves as an ”ingredient” used to manufacture blood and other body cells, as well as covering nerve fibers, helping to metabolize carbohydrates and fats
  • improves memory, ability to reason and concentrate, dispels mental disturbances, prevents mental deterioration, and makes you feel younger
  • may help one recover faster from viral and/or bacterial diseases
  • promotes growth in children and is involved in many vital metabolic and enzymatic processes
  • essential for production and regeneration of RBCs

Deficiency:

  • RDA is only 2 mcg.
  • average intake in America is 8 mcg./day for men and 5 mcg. for women
  • 3 mcg./day is sufficient to offset B12 deficiency
  • B12 is absorbed principally in the stomach with the aid of what is called the intrinsic factor
  • without the intrinsic factor the body is unable to absorb B12 and this can lead to pernicious anemia
  • heavy use of alcohol can have serious effects on B12 nutrition
  • Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by B12 deficiency
  • deficiency of B12 may lower blood level of protein necessary for bone formation
  • deficiency is associated with an impaired ability to produce phagocytes to kill the tubercle bacillus (TB), HIV infection, and depression
  • symptoms: poor appetite and growth in children, chronic fatigue, sore mouth, feeling of numbness or stiffness, loss of mental energy, difficulty in concentrating, and osteoporosis

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • even at 10,000 times the RDA it appears non-toxic
  • vitamin B12 does not interfere with the action of any drugs but many drugs interfere with B12 nutrition: anticonvulsants, antituberculosis, cholesterol-lowering, anticancer, and antigout drugs to name a few.
  • B12 can also mask the signs of folate deficiency at higher doses (10mcg. or more)
  • B6 must be present in adequate amounts for the body to absorb B12

Sources:

  • nutritional yeast, milk, eggs, aged cheese, fortified brewer’s yeast, sunflower seeds, comfrey leaves, kelp, bananas, peanuts, concord grapes, raw wheat germ, pollen

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