How does vitamin B12 work?
Vitamin B12 is essential for closing the neural tube. It is crucial since it functions as a cofactor in two important enzymes; one functions transferring a methyl group from 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-THF) to homocysteine, regenerating tetrahydrofolate (THF, the active form of folic acid) and methionine.
A lack of B12 creates a functional folic acid deficiency and disturbs the synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe, required to protect the nervous system), leading to possibilities of neurological damage. Also, a shortage of B12 derives in the accumulation of homocysteine which leads to the development of many diseases; kidney, cardiovascular, fractures, thrombosis, psychiatric, etc.
The root cause of bad absorption of Vitamine B12
Ayurveda states that first thing addressing any health complain is to find the causative factor and to eliminate them. It is true that sometimes that is not possible right away, but it is good to be aware o what is creating the issue. Are we taking care of our bacteria growth? The consumption of below creates bad absorption of Vitamine B12:
- Alcohol and/or nicotine
- Oral contraceptives
- Antibiotics or para-aminosalicylic acid
- Bile acid/convertors of enzyme/proton pump inhibitors
- Chloramphenicol, colchicine
- H2 blockers or aspirin
- Metformin or neomycin
- Nitrous oxide
- Vitamin C or potassium chloride
- Zidovudine (antiretroviral used to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS)
Big trick increasing Vitamin B12 without taking supplements:
The disturbed gastric function can havoc its absorption. What is a fact is that we absorb the vitamin B12 produced by bacteria in own digestive system? The best way to sopping it up is in small amounts through our meals. Big amounts of supplements are harming the assimilation process even if you do not consume more than the daily recommendation.
In case you do not resonate with eating bacteria from dead animals, there are an interesting approach and trick that works very well for many Ayurvedic doctors in India. It consists in not scrapping your tongue in the morning (as we usually recommend). With an empty stomach, drink small sips of warm water, holding it while with your tongue you remove your death bacteria on the top of the tongue and inside your mouth, and after that, you swallow it. Repeat several times. It is amazing how this simple practice together with the right food can restore the levels. But of course, always have to work in our digestive capacity in the meanwhile.
Foods with vitamin B-12 include:
Vegans not eating below recommended food, without taking organic supplements can experience deficiency symptoms after 5 years or more, even some, might face it within a year.
- Sea Plants: Kelp, Spirulina, algae, nori, alaria, sea lettuce, dulce, they are reported to contain from 50-70% of the RDA.
- Grains: In traditional meals, many grains and cereals were fermented before preparation, to make sure that the bacteria in our digestive tract could absorb the vitamin B12 between others. Rye bread, oatmeal, wheat, corn and contain small amounts of vitamin B12, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Some points of views differ from this perspective.
- Mushrooms: Ground-breaking research at the University of Western Sydney revealed that there are wide-ranging amounts of B12 in mushrooms. It present is on both the surface (where the majority is) and in the flesh. The amount of B12 in mushrooms varies from crop to crop. One serve will provide about 2-4% of the RDI. Better than nothing 😉
Vegetarians should not have an issue if they consume small quantities of butter, cheese, and eggs. Swiss cheese is one of the highest vegetarian sources, about 3.3μg per 100 grams.
Fish and specially cooked shellfish have a high amount of B12, it contains almost 100μg per serving.
*For meat lovers:
Vitamin B12 is only found in any significant quantity within animal foods. Aside from the above, consumption of liver, kidney and red meat contains this vitamin.
In case you are considering to take Vitamine B12 supplements, please read before the post: Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and side effects
Wishing you the right levels of vitamin B12!