Vitamin B12 is an important, and often overlooked, vitamin that helps DNA production and supports a nervous system, cardiovascular system, and a healthy metabolism.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?
- Increases energy
- Improves mood and reduces risk of depression
- Improves memory, concentration and focus
- Reduces the symptoms of pain including neck pain, lower back pain, and pain due to neuropathy, neuralgia and mouth ulcers
- Improves sleep
- Supports a healthy metabolism
- Reduces homocysteine levels which are a risk factor for heart disease and macular degeneration
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps prevent nerve damage and muscle weakness
- Supports healthy adrenal function
Who can benefit from a B12 supplement?
- Most people in developed countries get enough vitamin B12 in their normal diet but some people, due to age or certain health conditions, may have difficulty absorbing enough B12 from food. People who should consider taking a B12 supplement include anyone:
- Over the age of 50
- Who has suffered from adrenal fatigue
- Who has digestive disorders such as, celiac or Crohn’s disease or has used acid-controlling medication regularly
- Who has had gastrointestinal surgery
- Who is vegetarian or vegan
- With a history of alcoholism
- Who smokes
- Who is pregnant or breastfeeding
- With a long history of antibiotic use
- Diagnosed with bowel or pancreatic cancer
- With suffering from depression or has a history of depression
- Diagnosed with anemia
How do you know if your B12 levels are low?
If you are feeling sluggish, have low levels of energy, brain fog, feel moody or depressed or are nearing 50 years of age, it is time to get see a doctor and have your B12 levels checked.
The experts at the Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic will work with you to develop a customized health program based on specialized testing, individual risk assessment and your health history.
The normal range for vitamin B12 is between 200 and 900 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), however, it is not enough to test only the level of vitamin B12. Tests must also include methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine levels.
Vitamin B12 levels can fall within the ‘normal’ range but still be unhealthy if MMA or homocysteine levels are high.
Because vitamin B12 helps break down MMA and homocysteine, some studies have found MMA and homocysteine levels to be a better indicator of vitamin B12 than direct measurements of B12 levels.
Symptoms of low vitamin B12 include:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Brain fog
- Tingling in the hands, feet or legs
- Pale or yellowish skin tone
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Joint pain
- Problems with digestion including; nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and cramping
- An inability to concentrate
- Swollen or inflamed tongue
At the Anti-Aging and Wellness Clinic we can help you determine if vitamin B12 supplements should be included in your customized health program.
What Foods Contain Higher Levels of B12?
For optimal physical and mental function, vitamin B12 is needed in small amounts daily and can be found in foods such as:
- Wild caught fish such as tuna, trout or salmon
- Beef liver
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Most adults need between 2.4 and 2.8 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day but specific dosage will depend on your health, age and gender. Approximately 20-30 percent of people have a vitamin B12 deficiency or have normal levels that are still not optimal and the risk vitamin B12 deficiency increases with age.
Drugs that can increase the risk of vitamin B deficiency include metformin, proton pump inhibitors, histamine 2 receptor blockers and birth control pills.
- George G. Klee, Cobalamin and Folate Evaluation: Measurement of Methylmalonic Acid and Homocysteine vs Vitamin B12 and Folate. Clinical Chemistry Aug 2000, 46 (8) 1277-1283;
- Pankaj Vashi, Persis Edwin, […], and Digant Gupta, Methylmalonic Acid and Homocysteine as Indicators of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency in Cancer, PLoS One. 2016; 11(1): e0147843. Published online 2016 Jan 25. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147843
- Sae-Mi Lee, Jongwon Oh, Mi-Ryung Chun and Soo-Youn Lee, Methylmalonic Acid and Homocysteine as Indicators of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Patients with Gastric Cancer after Gastrectomy. Nutrients, Received: 8 February 2019; Accepted: 19 February 2019; Published: 21 February 2019