Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin) is a member of the "B family" of vitamins and is water soluble. It plays a major role in DNA production, nerve function, metabolism of cells, and red blood cell formation. It is estimated that up to 15% of people actually suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin B12. These issues are further complicated by gut health problems which make it difficult to absorb enough of it.
Role in the body
Humans cannot create Vitamin B12 on our own, so it must be either acquired via supplementation or diet. Our bodies must get adequate amounts of healthy blood cells to get oxygen circulating properly and keep our brain, heart, liver and other organs healthy. If you are lacking in this crucial vitamin, expect not just physical problems, but psychological issues too.
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Symptoms of deficiency
- Numbing or tingling hands and feet can occur to the nerve issues caused by the lack of a substance called Myelin in the body. Myelin coats and protects nerves and helps transmit sensations. If not treated soon nerve damage will happen.
- Trouble exercising: Not just a problem with exercising, but those who are deficient may not even be able to walk altogether. This is due to severe reflex problems and muscle weakness.
- Tiredness: You need vitamin B12 to carry oxygen as mentioned above, hence if you lack the vitamin you could develop megaloblastic anemia.
Argentinian Hospital Nacional de Pediatría SAMIC: 'vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most serious complications of vegetarianism and its variants. Infants born to vegan mothers are at greater risk of serious deficiency'https://t.co/ucslxymLxW
— Frédéric Leroy (@fleroy1974) December 27, 2019
- Heart rate issues: Lack of red blood cells will force your heart to work more, this will have devastating effects on your fitness goals.
- Pain in the mouth: You might notice you are more prone to mouth ulcers and tongue swelling.
- Brain fog: Studies have linked Alzheimer's disease and memory loss to low levels of B12.
- Short tempered: Does your girlfriend or boyfriend get short tempered with you? If so, they might have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This could be a result of having too much homocysteine in the brain, which the vitamin B group helps to break down.
Vitamin B12 is one of the most popular and widely used of all the supplements in the industry today. We have heard of its use for all sorts of reasons, from energy and carbohydrate metabolism to general health and increase in appetite, Vitamin B12 has helped a large percentage of supplement believers. However, something we don't think of when we are measuring our grams of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and calories is how supplements like Vitamin B12 can help us as bodybuilders. The macronutrients are easily tracked and can be taken in at the right levels regularly but micronutrients such as Vitamin B12 can be tougher and therefore must be supplemented. Read More..
The New England Journal of Medicine published a very scary case report on the dangers of Vitamin B12 deficiency. A man who was in his early 60's of age, was researched over the course of 2 months when he stopped supplementing B12 while already have low levels. During that time he started experiencing numbness in his hands, severe joint pain, problems moving around, and he had a hard time breathing. When he started supplementing again properly his side effects improved significantly.
Who is most at risk for deficiencies?
The people most at risk are older individuals; however, we have seen plenty of younger people have the problem too. It was always believed that those who adhered to a vegan lifestyle were most at risk, however, that theory has been proven false in the real world. In actuality even if you eat plenty of foods with B12, you can still have trouble absorbing the vitamin, hence you would have a deficiency regardless. There is a link to poor gut health (celiac or Crohn's disease) and poor levels of Vitamin B12 which cannot be fixed by just consuming a meat-heavy diet.
Crohn’s disease ✨
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. pic.twitter.com/xI3lDXSf9K
— (@Modsult) July 3, 2020
Food that contains it
If you adhere to a balanced diet and have good gut health you can acquire plenty of B12 from your diet. The foods that contain liberal amounts are:
Animal organs: The organs of an animal are always going to be the most nutritious part, yet it is the least likely to be actually consumed. Instead, people tend to only eat the prime cuts of meat of the animal which have the least nutrition.
Seafood: Hardshell crustaceans like clams and also fish like sardines or tuna are loaded with B12.
Beef: Look for organic grass-fed beef, it is going to be your best bet among non-organ meat.
Fortified foods: A lot of food that comes in boxes is now fortified with vitamins like cereal and nutritional yeast.
Eggs: Consuming humane friendly eggs from a farm that has their chickens on a quality diet and that are uncaged is your best bet.
Importance in fitness
Oregon State University did a research study on what happens when athletes are deficient in Vitamin B12. What they found was startling.
- Repair: Athletes who lack vitamin B12 were found to have a tough time repairing damaged muscles.
- Muscle growth: They also found those same athletes could not build muscle mass at the same pace as their peers who were supplementing with B12.
- Performance: When the athletes had to perform high-intensity exercises like interval training or heavy weight training, they found those without B12 struggled from start to finish.
They found that even a just below average Vitamin B12 deficiency had devastating effects on athletic performance from start to finish. They also found that women were particularly most at risk.
Some medications like Prilosec or Leukeran have interactions, if you are taking either you should speak to your doctor about this. If you overdose on VitaminB12, you may experience headaches, swelling, and itching. Some people also may be allergic but this is rare.
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Where to buy
You should strongly consider supplementing with Vitamin B12, don't be stubborn and assume just because you consume a lot of meat products that it means you are actually absorbing enough. I recommend a comprehensive support supplement which contains plenty of vitamins. Cardazol, sold by bannednutrition.com, contains 100mcg of Vitamin B12 per serving.
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