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July 2016

Vitamin B-12 and Itís Health Benefits

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble B–vitamin and a key nutrient vital to health.  It is most often associated with boosting energy.  B12 also regulates red blood cell formation, is essential for normal neurological function and development of the brain.  In addition to these critical functions, research has suggested vitamin B12 may have other health benefits especially as we age.

Benefits of B12
Adequate levels of B12 has linked this vitamin to:

  • Protecting the brain from shrinking, which is associated with impaired memory and dementia.
  • Improving bone density, reducing the risk of fractures.
  • Boosting mood and countering depression.
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and possibly stroke.

The B12 Challenge

  • It may be a difficult to get enough B12 due to poor absorption, digestive disorders, gastric surgery or dietary preferences.
  • B12 relies on acid in the stomach to be absorbed.  As we age stomach acid decreases.  When taking antacids on a regular basis B12 absorption may be impaired. 
  • B12 is found only in animal products.  If these foods are restricted, your B12 may fall short.
  • Signs of B12 deficiency are; anemia, fatigue, loss of appetite, sores of the mouth or tongue, numbness in the hands or feet, dizziness, poor memory and depression.

Optimize B12– Your Daily Goal is 2.4 ug Daily

Include a variety of B12 rich foods daily such as; fish, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products.  B12 in dairy products and fish may be better absorbed.   B12 in fortified foods does not require stomach acid to be absorbed.

Even if you eat adequate amounts of B12 it may not be absorbed.  Get your B12 level checked.   Ask your doctor if you need to supplement.  The Institute of Medicine and Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults age 50+ obtain most of this vitamin from supplements and B12 fortified foods to enhance absorption.

Cooked Clams

3 oz.

84 ug

Fortified Cereal

3/4 c

6.0 ug


3 oz.

2.5 ug

Lean Beef

3 oz.

2.4 ug

Wild Salmon

3 oz.

.9 ug

NF Plain Yogurt

1 c

1.5 ug


1 whole

.6 ug

Cooked Poultry


.3 ug


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