What is so special about vitamin B12?
B12 is absorbed through our gut from vitamin rich foods such as red meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and dairy. Vitamin B12 is vital to keeping DNA healthy, for metabolism, and for nerve health.Lack of B12 retards all of these processes and causes others. Anemia can be caused by severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause symptoms such as weakness and fatigue.
Luckily, B12 deficiency is relatively easy to detect and correct. It can be done through food and through supplements. Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. The foods that supply B12 are principally beef, liver, chicken, fish, shellfish, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. Calcium is also a vital component of the intrinsic factor/B12 metabolism, so if there is any problem with calcium absorption, there is limited absorption of B12. Individuals that have had stomach surgery, such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve are unable to produce intrinsic factor and become very deficient in B12. Also individuals who are on medications such as Omeprazole or metformin have lower absorption of B12. If absorption is low through the GI tract, we can access a second line of defense and administer this vital vitamin through IV or IM (intramuscular) injection.
A second way to supply B12 quickly is through injections. Because the deficiency is relatively widespread, many people regularly get B12 injections to help them alleviate the deficiency. Many people also claim that the injections help with energy level, brain function, mood, and weight loss. We supply B12 injections at IFM to patients for whom they are indicated. If you are experiencing the symptoms, give us a call or make an appointment online. We’re here to help you feel your best.