B12 Supplementation – Definitely Not Nonsense
Moving on from our last article on Vitamin D and the iffy-at-best methodology that has been used to treat people with problems seemingly related to a deficiency of Vitamin D, that, as it turns out, is rarely treated adequately via the “meddling medical and pharmaceutical businesses.” We’re talking about issues ranging from the established daily value (i.e. minimum to maximum values for a healthy person) to the possibility that the supplements themselves aren’t helping, at all, and that the once-futuristic notion of obtaining nutrition via pills isn’t even close to adequate compared to what humans have been doing from the get-go: Eat the right food and go outside occasionally…and throw some exercise in there. It’s a sort of cosmic irony, that the correct answer is often the old practice. This, of course, isn’t meant to discredit the possibility of science eventually finding a better solution in the future, as much as it should raise some questions that we’ll explore more specifically in the next article. What brought us to a world of supplementation and what are we really using them for? Which ones are useful and which aren’t? For now, let’s address this one: Are there any legitimate supplements that we absolutely have a handle on (or, perhaps, a partial-handle on)? Yes – B12 is one of them, and it’s a major problem in the veg community.
According to webmd, “vitamin B12 does a lot of things for your body. It helps make your DNA and your red blood cells…” Further, it goes into detail about the causes, symptoms of, and treatments for vitamin B12 deficiency. Vegetarians and furthermore vegans have trouble in this area due to the restrictive nature of B12 in foods, that is, most people get B12 from animals, and the numbers don’t lie:
It seems that 68% of vegetarians and 83% of vegans are vitamin B12 deficient, compared to 5% of omnivores that suffer from the effects of what is generally extremely treatable. Chriskresser.com goes into detail about the four categories of B12 deficiency:
- Stage I & II: plasma and cell stores of B12 become depleted and the concentration of holotranscobalamin II is reduced.
- Stage III: functional B12 imbalance characterized by elevated homocysteine and urinary MMA concentrations in the blood.
- Stage IV: clinical signs of B12 deficiency become evident.
What’s urgent about keeping up with one’s B12 intake is simple: Most symptoms don’t show up until one is already deficient, and with a possible side-effects such as nerve damage, waiting to get treatment is no laughing matter.
Once again, we’ll cite webmd for what the veg community should be doing, particularly vegans:
“If you don’t eat animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits how well your body absorbs nutrients, experts recommend taking a B12-containing multivitamin and eating breakfast cereal fortified with vitamin B12.”
This raises another question amongst the health conscious: Shots or pills? While I myself have found shots to be significantly more effective in managing B12 supplementation, according to these studies from 2006 by the AAFP, “high-dose oral B12 was as effective as intramuscular injection at achieving neurologic and hematologic response.”
Image source: http://www.best-multivitamins-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/vitamin-b12-facts-multivitamin-review1.jpg
Other source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933506/?tool=pubmed