B12 is one of the vitamins that have been given less importance till people becomes vegans and then lots more research started to show up. B12 is connected to the liver function as well as the stomach.
The liver contains an anti-pernicious-anaemia factor called cobalamin, which is a form of B12. B12 is essential for growth in animals and humans, hence essential to have a good supply of B12 during pregnancy, especially if have been vegan for a long time, as B12 storage might be low.
Of the compounds group of B12 the most active in humans is the cyanocobalamin. All of the B12 compound contain cobalt (hence the names).
- The key functions of the B12 compounds are growth, homocysteine reduction, maintenance of nerve issues (hence was connected to the possibility of having stomach inflammation in children and possibly autism in past research).
- B12 is also a co-enzyme for various other vitamin, it means that without the B12 other nutrients function might be affected. Some of the nutrients are niacin, riboflavin and manganese. B12 works with folic acid and B6 to reduce the homocysteine levels.
- Key function in the making of nucleic acids such as thymine (part of the DNA) and the formation of deoxyribose from ribose (essential part of RNA ribose, and deoxyribose DNA).
- B12 keeps the body antioxidant that is found the liver called glutathione in a biological reduce state (essential for detox of the body toxins).
- B12 is also a key factor in one of the fat metabolisms.
Vitamin B12 absorption can be low especially if there is a disruption in the gastric function. There is an intrinsic factor compound that allows the B12 to be absorbed, and with intestinal tract problems this factor is absent.
Why deficiency occur:
- B12 main known symptoms of deficiency is pernicious anaemia. In this case only injection of B12 can reduce the deficiency, as often is the absorption the problem for this or being vegan for a very long time without considering the intake of B12.
- People that have been taking proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers for more than 12 months are at risk of low B12.
- People with any Irritable bowel disease, taking metformin for more than 4 months, people who have had gastric surgery and any other bowel surgery needs B12 injection, strict vegan needs to consider supplementing B12 especially if they are considering having children. People with Irritable bowel syndrome and any allergy affecting their bowel they need to consider B12 sublingual as well.
- In mild cases the deficiency will show from mild fatigue to neurological problems. Has B12 is stored in the liver, a person can be ok for 10 years till the symptoms appear.
In babies and children of mothers with low storage of B12 it can be quite low, hence do watch if the baby has a problem with the bowel, gets constipated or has diarrhoea especially after weaning or the mother has been vegetarian and eating no eggs or vegan.
- In animal research B12 deficiency will result in poor growth rate and low brain development, as well as eyes and bone problems.
- Neurologic manifestations are caused by progressive demyelination and can include peripheral neuropathy, areflexia (muscles do not respond to stimulus).
- Loss of proprioception and vibratory sense (this also can be seen in autistic children). Areflexia can be permanent if neuronal death occurs in the posterior and lateral spinal cord tracts, again watch this in babies and children.
- Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may lead to neural tube defects, developmental delay, failure to thrive, hypotonia, ataxia, and anaemia.
- In my experience food involved in the disruption of the intestinal tract from babies to children to adults are dairy foods, gluten or wheat, eggs, soy products in some and possibly chilly foods.
Humans need about 3 to 5 micrograms of B12 daily. If the person has a lot of stomach problems, poor absorption of all nutrients, they need to make sure to sort that out before low nutrients develop.
The vitamin is stored in the liver and usually in pregnancy B12 is passed on from the mother to the baby via the placenta. B12 elimination is via urine.
About 30% of B12 is destroyed in food by cooking.
B12 is found mainly in animal food: meat, fish, cheese, eggs, cheese, and some fortified cereals, even though if on a vegan diet, I would suggest to take a sublingual B12, especially if you plan to have a baby. This is essential for men too.
© Maria Esposito BSc (Hons) R-Nutritional Therapist – NAET – R-Craniosacral Therapist – NLP practitioner – Certified Angel Guide