Vitamin B12 is needed for DNA synthesis, brain and nervous system function, and red blood cell formation. It also helps to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that has to do with cardiovascular disease. This vitamin is needed greatly in the body, but unfortunately, the body does not provide it, hence it is gotten via dietary sources like fish, beef, poultry, cheese, and so on.
There are different types of B12 supplements available in different forms, over the counter and they are administered through different ways; injection or intravenous fluid or IV.
Vitamin B12 is a unique vitamin; it is water soluble and stays in the body for a while, so there is hardly a deficiency for this vitamin.
Unlike other nutrients, Vitamin B12 cannot survive stomach acid, and because of this, requires an intrinsic factor (a glycoprotein produced by parietal cells of the stomach and salivary glands) which permits the passage of B12 through the stomach and into the small intestine. In the small intestine, the vitamin binds with another protein (transcobalamin II) in order to transit into the blood.
There are four types of Vitamin B!2 namely:
Out of these four, Methylcobalamin, known to be the most active form in the human body, is the best absorbed B12 supplement. Here are some reasons why:
- It specifically absorbs easily
- As the circulating form, it can cross into the bloodstream sublingually, and only 1% of the ingested dose is absorbed
- It is the most bioavailable form and requires little or no conversion to cross every aspect of B12 metabolic pathway
- It does not require methyl group from the body for absorption
- It aids in relieving sleep disorders
- It is best for patients with impaired kidney function
- Helps to protect the cardiovascular system
- Crosses the Blood Brain Barrier without assistance, to protect brain cells
- It contributes essential methyl groups needed for detoxification and to start the body’s biochemical reactions
- It offers overall protection to the nervous system
If you need to take a supplement, it is required that you visit your physician, ahead of time, to know the correct type and dosage to use.
You should also ask question if you should take synthetic or natural vitamins?