Why is vitamin B12 so important?
Your daily requirement for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg. Do not let this relatively small number fool you - it's not so easy to get it, and it's even harder to use it properly. B12 activity is closely related to folic acid and vitamin B6. It helps in the processes of DNA production and regulation of various cycles of the functioning of our brain.
As for the brain, it is important to remember that the interaction of folic acid/B12 underlies many other activities that determine the amounts of serotonin, dopamine and SAMs circulating in the brain. So if there is not enough B12 or folic acid, the effectiveness and efficiency of these processes will not be optimal. In the face of these facts, it should not be surprising that the lack of adequate B12 concentration is closely correlated with brain aging and poor mental performance such as recalling information, spatial reasoning and short-term memory.
In more than 90% of cases where B12 deficiency was found, neurological symptoms were also recorded.
Why is it so hard to keep B12 at the right level?
Vitamin B12 is very often added to processed foods. If you look at the labels, you will find it in many products in the form of cyanocobalamin. Considering the frequency of its occurrence in our everyday food, it may seem that we accept it in excess. Nothing more wrong.
Where is the problem then?
The answer to this question is quite simple. The difficulty is not taking the right amount of vitamin B12, but how it will be treated by our stomach.
We are dealing here with two issues here:
- Insufficient amount of stomach acid - B12 contained in food is usually attached to proteins that need pepsin for digestion in order to properly break down and simultaneously release B12, so that it is available for absorption. For the body to be able to activate pepsin, we must have an adequate level of stomach acid. If the stomach pH is not low enough, you can not metabolize B12 from your daily diet. Insufficient amount of gastric acid is quietly becoming one of the most persistent health problems, and is the most common cause of digestive problems, such as GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), which affects about 1 in 5 adults.
- Autoimmune diseases - e.g. Addison-Biermer disease. Vitamin B12 needs to join a protein called the Intrinsic Factor (Castle Factor) to get out of the stomach. Connecting to the internal factor is an inevitable step in the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestine. Our body is capable of producing such an amount of IF to absorb up to 5 mg of vitamin B12 per day. However, if you suffer from this autoimmune disease, your body will probably produce far less than what generates the body of a healthy person. IF is secreted by parietal cells, which are a frequent point of attack in autoimmunity.
Sublingual application and high doses of vitamin B12 - hot or not?
Many of the B12 supplements available for sale, according to the manufacturer, should be taken sublingually. It is also highly probable that these pills contain B12 in a much larger amount than the recommended daily dose - 2.4 mcg. There are tablets on the market that contain up to 10,000 mcg per serving.
Many of these supplements are used because of their mega doses, but without understanding what the whole B12 absorption process really looks like and how much of this dose will be absorbed.
In most cases, the potential of these supplements remains unused. The body has its limitations. And as in the case of the intestine, where the maximum bioavailability of B12 (thanks to IF) is 5 mg, in the case of intramuscular application, the protein that is responsible for the absorption of this vitamin called transkobalamin (TC) can provide it only ... 1.5 mcg / daily. That is much less than the recommended daily dose.
Thus, it can be seen that the vast majority of B12 contained in these products will be expelled and not used. It happens despite all that when taking these high-dose B12 supplements you feel some positive effects. This is due to the fact that the transkobalamin is maximally saturated, which is certainly noticeable for our body. However, B12 alone will use up to 1.5 mcg.
You can read stories of people who claim they have cured their neuropathy with 10,000 mcg B12 diabetic pills and no supplements below this value are effective. If we assume that they are honest about this topic, and the stories are not made up, then this effect is probably caused by what we mentioned in the previous paragraph - TC saturation.
Is there an ideal form of vitamin B12?
Your body de facto uses three forms of B12:
- Methylcobalamin - this is the most biologically active form in our body and at the same time the one that interacts with folic acid in the methylation cycle. This vitamin powers the nervous system, allows for high intellectual and physical activity. It is essential for the proper synthesis of RNA and DNA and for the proper course of energy transformation in cells.
- Adenosylcobalamin - this is a B12 form that is used in the mitochondria. It exerts its influence by acting as a cofactor for an enzyme called methylmalonyl-CoA.
- Hydroxycobalamin - your body gets B12 circulating on it, which is supplied from outside and processed into hydroxycobalamin. Then, hydroxocobalamin is most often converted to, among others, methylcobalamin.
Most people will probably be all right, on which of the B12 forms they will decide. In the end, the body converts it to hydroxycobalamin, and from it it receives the other two forms. Some may, however, experience far more benefits when adopting a figure that is specific to what they are trying to achieve, because it will help them to bypass several enzymatic bottlenecks, and hence - to minimize any losses.
There is also cyanocobalamin, which is a rejected child of the world of B12 vitamins. Methyl , adenosylmethionine and hydro from the previous three forms are replaced by cyanine molecules. This form of the molecule is cheap to make because it is the most stable version when exposed to air.
The body behaves in a similar way to other forms of vitamin B12, but some people may feel the adverse effects of taking cyanide molecules in mega doses. Methyl and hydroxy forms are quite easily available and it is worth considering them.
The best forms of vitamin B12 can be found here -> B12