Sacred Truth Ep. 55: Vitamin B12 For Great Energy
The least understood of all nutrients, Vitamin B 12 is a huge molecule. It has long been known as “the energy vitamin.” And rightly so. You need to have lots of it in your body in order to thrive and protect yourself from fatigue and degenerative conditions. Vitamin B12 plays a major role in DNA synthesis, the formation of healthy blood cells, and the production of energy in your mitochondria. Yet Vitamin B12 deficiency is now rampant. At least one in four people in the Western world are seriously deficient in this essential nutrient. Meanwhile 50% of the population in the world now has blood levels of Vitamin B12 in the sub optimal range.
Why should you care about making sure that you have enough Vitamin B12? First of all, this remarkable vitamin is essential for building myelin in your body. Myelin is a fatty material that encloses the axons of neurons. It provides a sheath of electrical energy around your cells so your nervous system functions as it is meant to do. This helps nerve impulses move speedily and makes it possible for the cells all over your body to communicate with each other. When the myelin sheath is damaged the body becomes prone to all sorts of degenerative conditions, including spinal cord injury, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. Your body needs an abundance of Vitamin B12 for many other purposes as well. It’s essential for adrenal hormone production, maintaining a healthy immune system, having balanced moods, and experiencing good memory function and mental clarity as well as physical and emotional vitality. If you don't have adequate levels of Vitamin B12 in your blood you are more likely to experience tingling in your hands, legs, and feet, weak muscles, problems with your memory, apathy, and even depression.
The scientific term for Vitamin B12—this water-soluble nutrient—is cobalamin. But, unlike other water-soluble vitamins, B12 is not rapidly removed from your body when you urinate. Instead, it is taken into your kidneys, your liver, and other important organs, where it may remain for long periods. So you can be deficient in Vitamin B12 yet not know it for several years because your body has simply not been absorbing Vitamin B12 from your foods.
Perhaps the most important cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency is what is known as food-cobalamin-malabsorption syndrome because your body is not making what is known as intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a protein made by your stomach that binds to Vitamin B12. It’s meant to grab the B12 molecule as it passes through the small intestine, carrying it on to the large intestine where it can be absorbed into the body, eventually end up in your bloodstream. But if you are depleted of stomach acid, as many people are—especially if they have been using anti-acid medications or eating a lot of cereal and grain-based carbohydrates—which create gastric reflux and indigestion—you are likely to be low in stomach acid. When stomach acid is decreased in this way, intrinsic factor can’t absorb B12 properly and your health suffers.
As we get older, levels of Vitamin B12 in our bodies tend to decrease. A study of over hundred older men and women showed that we become more susceptible to atrophy or shrinkage in the brain—a well-known characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Here are a few habits you will want to avoid to help prevent this: Don’t drink more than three or four cups of coffee each day. Even better, limit your organic fair trade coffee to only one or two a day. Stop taking prescriptions drugs that diminish Vitamin B12 in the body. Do not use antacids and other drugs to treat ulcers. Change the way you are eating then you will find that most of these problems clear up naturally within a few weeks. Finally, never take antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary. If you do, make sure you counter their effects by using a top quality probiotic for many weeks as soon as the antibiotics have finished.
How do you make sure you get enough Vitamin B12? It’s difficult to manage if you are vegetarian. It is virtually impossible if you are vegan. Eggs are a good source of Vitamin B12 provided they come from a free-range pastured farm. If they are genuinely free range, a great way to eat eggs is to put them raw into some sort of smoothie. Good sources of Vitamin B12 are also found in organic chicken, grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, and seafood that did not come from fish farms. Unfortunately—and this is something few people are aware of—more than half of the seafood in the world is now either contaminated with heavy metals and harmful materials from fish farms where these fish are raised on quite hideous foods. Certified grade A raw milk also contains good quantities of Vitamin B12.
There are medical tests that you can take if you suspect you may be B12 deficient. Your health practitioner can organize this as well as help determine the underlining cause of deficiency and how it should be treated. The problem with these tests is that they are not very accurate and, as yet, few doctors are aware of the seriousness with which Vitamin B12 deficiencies must be treated. You can, of course, look for one of the under-the-tongue sprays, although the human body often does not absorb these efficiently. Personally, I prefer occasional Vitamin B12 injections. It is still legal in many countries for you to do these yourself. If you live in a country where they are not legal, your health practitioner can inject them for you. What is important is that when you have an adequate supply of this vitamin in your body, especially as you get older, to help prevent many potentially life-destroying conditions that result in a B12 deficiency.