Do You Really Need A B12 Supplement?
Do You Really Need A B12 Supplement?
Almost every supplement for energy contains an additional B12 supplement. You need this vitamin for energy, don't you?
That can get a little complicated, and I'm sure you're confused. It took us a little bit to figure out what we need and how to do it right.
If you're eating a healthy diet filled with vegetables and good quality meat, chances are you don't need a B12 supplement. But, if you don't eat a lot of meat, are vegetarian or vegan, or need a little bit of an energy boost, a B12 supplement might help you.
What B12 Does In Your Body
Cobalamin, B12, is a vitamin primarily used to maintain healthy energy levels within each individual cell. When you run low on B12, your body slows down the production of s-adenosylmethionine or SAM. SAM is absolutely vital for energy production.
But, in the body, different forms of this vitamin do different things. It's also critical for creating blood cells that carry oxygen. The best type of supplement contains the various forms that will describe later in this article.
Overall, vitamin B12 is responsible for:
Cellular energy generation to maintain healthy energy levels
Maintaining healthy nerves
Strengthening the immune system
Creation of red blood cells
Signs & Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
Usually, a deficiency in B12 is diagnosed via a blood test, and people most often feel it with a lack of energy. But, those are not the only deficiencies.
Unexplained weight loss
Numbness in hands and feet
Many of these issues may be attributed to other health problems or deficiencies, but talking to your doctor to discover the cause is highly recommended if you are experiencing them.
Not All B12 Supplements Work
A supplement is one of the easiest ways to get your B12 levels up. But, not all supplements are created equal.
Several versions of B12 exist. The most common and synthetic form is cyanocobalamin. Some supplements do use this, especially ones that include B12 at low levels. It's considered toxic at higher levels and the body utilizes it quite poorly.
That is one reason why you want to pay attention to what is precisely in your supplement.
Three of the different versions of B12 are useful and easily usable in the body:
Adenosylcobalamin – An active form to produce energy at the cellular level
Hydroxocobalamin – A natural form most frequently used to detox the body
Methylcobalamin - An active form that is readily available for the body to absorb
Each of these types of B12 works in the body naturally, mimicking how your body produces and utilizes the vitamin. Your supplements should reflect what your body naturally uses. That's why we also recommend adding in specific other cofactors that help B12 along.
Additional Supplements to Help Absorb The Maximum Amount of B12
Just like other vitamins and minerals, B12 needs certain other nutrients to be absorbed quickly. These additional nutrients are good for the body and let your body utilize the B12 better.
The first of these is folate. Folate helps your body absorb B12, helping to stimulate the specific receptors in the intestine to facilitate the active transport of the vitamin into your blood. You do want to make sure that you are getting folate and not the extremely similar folic acid. Many supplements will use folic acid because it's cheap and easy to synthesize, however, it's only about 40% usable within the body, meaning you're going to flush the rest down the toilet.
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages between the brain and the nervous system. This is one supplement you don't see very often. It's a very natural molecule in the body that helps you sleep better, improves your mood by balancing dopamine, and for women, can help reduce PMS. It works with B12 to soothe your nerve cells, making them healthier.
Inositol is similar to the other B vitamins and once considered B8. It helps vitamin B12 and is especially important in your system on the neurological side. It can help decrease pain, help with depression, and help balance the chemicals in the brain. Combining it with the energy production from B12, lets your body move closer to a natural state.
Your supplement doesn't need the extra nutrients, but they do help. The big thing you want to keep in mind is the type of B12 you're getting and get the natural forms. When you choose the right kind of supplements, you'll be able to get your energy levels back up and help your body naturally move towards a balanced state.