Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin- 1 of 8 B vitamins. This water-soluble vitamin has many important roles, like creating energy, maintaining healthy tissues, and brain function. B12 is found naturally in some foods, but supplementing with B12 can be a good idea to keep your levels in check!
Health benefits of vitamin B12:
Heart and blood function
Megaloblastic anemia prevention (a condition characterized by enlarged red blood cells due to vitamin B12 deficiency)
Neuroprotection and nerve function
Forms of vitamin B12:
There are four different forms of B12:
Methylcobalamin and Adenosylcobalamin are both naturally occurring co-enzymes found in food. These are active forms of B12, which means they are available for automatic use to the body. These help with energy, muscle function, DNA synthesis, and nerve function.
Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of Vitamin B12 which the body must convert into Adenosylcobalamin and Methylcobalamin before it can be used. This is the cheapest and most common form of B12 - remember that when looking at supplements! This form of B12 is also what can be seen in fortified cereals and other man-made foods.
Hydroxocobalamin is highly bioavailable and is used to treat serious deficiencies. This might be found in a B12 shot or IV drip, and is long-lasting.
Vitamin B12 in Food:
B12 is found most commonly in animal products like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
Out of the 4 forms of B12, the three found naturally are methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and adenosylcobalamin.
Here are some foods with top amounts of b12:
Beef Liver: 70.7/3 oz
Oysters: 14.9/3 oz
Fortified Nutritiona l Yeast: 15mcg
Tuna: 9.3 mcg/3 oz
Salmon: 2.6/3 oz
Lean Ground Beef: 2.4/3 oz
Cheddar Cheese: 0.5mcg/1.5 oz
Egg/cooked: .05mcg/ 1 egg
Top B12 Picks:
I always take methylcobalamin, which is more readily available since your body doesn't have to convert it to use it. I would avoid supplements with cyanocobalamin- this is a cheaper, synthetic form that is more difficult for your body to utilize (and impossible if you have the MTHFR gene mutation!)
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