Suppliant your diet and when

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble element and, as the term suggests, is soluble in water; it is only partially accumulated in the body. Therefore, it must be regularly ingested through food.

Those who follow or would like to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may have already heard of this vitamin, as this type of diet may often require specific supplements.

With Dr Martina Anderson, nutritionist at H. Medical Care, we find out what it is for and where to find it.

What is it for?

B12 is involved in various roles, which are fundamental for ensuring perfect body functioning. In particular, it is necessary for the metabolism of amino acids and nucleic acids – together with folic acid, it assists in synthesising DNA and RNA – and fatty acids. It is also essential in the production of red blood cells and the formation of bone marrow. Vitamin b12 blood testing and rebalancing also promote the transformation of nutrients into energy and reduce stress by increasing good mood.

Our nutrition

It is present in foods of animal origin, found in enzymatic form, therefore linked to proteins, and made available thanks to some gastric enzymes. We find it in particular in:

  • Meat;
  • Fish;
  • Liver;
  • Milk;
  • Egg;

The amount of B12 absorbed compared to that present in foods is 60% for meat and milk, 30-40% for fish products and, according to some studies, less than 10% for eggs. Furthermore, about a third of it is lost during cooking.

The daily requirement of B12 for adults corresponds to approximately 2-2.4 mcg, generally taken following a normal diet. However, pregnant or breastfeeding women must take a larger quantity to provide the right amount to the fetus.

Deficiency: what does it cause?

It is difficult for those who follow a varied and balanced diet to register a deficiency; this type can occur in subjects who follow a vegan diet or when the absorption mechanism does not work well in the intestine.

In the case of malabsorption, the causes can be inflammatory diseases, malabsorption diseases (e.g. celiac disease), proliferation of bacteria, drugs, decrease in gastric acidity, especially in the elderly or absence of the intrinsic factor; the latter is, in fact, responsible for the absorption.

Vegan diets and the low Vitamin B12 blood test levels are caused by the lack of foods of animal origin that contain it.

The main consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency is a form of anaemia defined as “pernicious”, resulting from poor production of blood cells, which can cause paleness, weakness, tingling in the limbs and fatigue. In more serious cases, there can also be consequences for the nervous system.

The diagnosis is made through tests: if a deficiency is suspected, the levels in the blood are evaluated, and the size of the red blood cells is checked to ensure it is not too high.

A deficiency should be avoided in pregnant women to avoid harmful consequences on the unborn child.

Vegan diet

For the moment, there are no processed plant foods that could satisfy human B12 needs.

Some algae, brewer’s yeast, and some foods of oriental origin such as tempeh (derived from soybeans) and Kombucha (Chinese tea) contain B12 but in tiny proportions, useless for human needs since they are not assimilable from our organism.

For this reason, those who eat only plant-based foods need to take this through specific supplements; consuming fortified foods, i.e., added with them, can also be helpful. Even in newborns of vegan mothers, it is important to start treatment with supplements immediately after birth to prevent deficiency.

What is the relationship between B12 and protein?

B12, folates, and the vitamin C complex are fundamental as they support and help our body produce proteins. Furthermore, consider that when our body absorbs it, it does so using stomach acid, which separates it from the proteins associated with foods and binds it to another molecule, facilitating its absorption.

It plays a very important role in the metabolic process. Promoting the production of red blood cells and facilitating protein metabolism protects the nervous system’s integrity.

Can you have a low level: what are the symptoms and causes of the deficiency?

The deficiency depends on poor or inadequate absorption and storage capacity. This Vitamin B12, blood test deficiency, could be avoided in vegan subjects by taking food supplements that compensate for its level.

The diagnosis is usually made by examining the results of tests following the appearance of symptoms such as:

  • Anemia;
  • Sense of respiratory weakness and muscle fatigue;
  • Tingling in the hands and feet;
  • Pallor;
  • Feeling dizzy;
  • Confusion;
  • Walking difficulties

An excess can be produced: what are the causes and symptoms?

When it is high, the cause can frequently be attributed to various pathologies that are very serious for our health:

  • Liver diseases;
  • Myeloproliferative disorders;
  • Solid neoplasms;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Alcoholism

It is important to remember that the presence of high levels does not inevitably mean the presence of these diseases. Furthermore, an excess of this brings with it several symptoms of its own:

  • Tremor;
  • Swellings;
  • Excessive nervousness;
  • Rapid heartbeat;
  • Kidney problems

Many patients with these symptoms wonder how to lower it when

is so high, but it is important to remember that none of these disorders tend to last long, given that the quantity of this excess is eliminated quickly thanks to urine.

What are the main problems linked to excess?

Nutritionists recommend a daily intake of 2.4 micrograms per adult. If we take a greater quantity of vitamin tested levels, our body will not be able to dispose of the excess properly, and we risk incurring the following side effects:

Heart failure: Too much in our body can lead to the heart not pumping blood properly, causing episodes of heart failure. For this reason, patients with heart problems must refrain from taking excessive doses (especially in the form of injections), especially if not under close medical supervision.

Hepatic and renal failure. Both liver and kidney cells can be damaged by excess intake of this type of vitamin, causing significant damage to these two organs.

Formation of blood clots. Another negative effect of excess is that it facilitates the formation of blood clots. This can become very dangerous because it impedes normal blood flow. Therefore, people familiar with blood clots or stroke should also avoid further intake.

Vision problems. It is also possible to suffer from blurred vision due to the build-up of this vitamin in the body.

How to lower it?

An excess of Vitamin B12 in blood tests can lead to some contraindications. For this reason, it is important to know how to lower it by paying attention to your diet.

To counteract hypervitaminosis, it is a good idea to give up some foods of animal origin, such as:

  • Egg;
  • Milk and derivatives;
  • Meat;
  • Fish

It is important to reduce the use of legumes, soy, wheat germ, and other products of plant origin that contain them.

Physical activity is another key factor in fixing the levels, which promotes its disposal through sweat. Drinking plenty of water for waste exit through urine is also recommended.