• Mary, NP

The Beauty of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin is an essential nutrient many normal and healthy body functions. In particular, it is critical in the production of methionine, an essential amino acid of all proteins. B12 (and methionine) support the structure of nerve cells and production of cellular energy. Additionally, cells that undergo constant and rapid production are better produced in the presence of B12 (and methionine):

  • Unborn baby (fetus)

  • Red blood cells

  • Skin and hair

  • Muscle cells (athletes)

  • Cancer cells, included.

The entire vitamin B family is essential in normal fetal development. They are easily available in a healthy and varied diet. Pregnant women not getting recommended servings of food groups need to take a prenatal vitamin.

For aging women wishing to maintain healthy skin, again the family of B vitamins are very important. Hyaluronic acid (B5) and niacinamide (B3) are found in a variety of skin treatments, serums and creams. We look to dietary intake and parenteral injection for sources of vitamin B12.

Dietary sources of B12 come from meat, nutritional supplements, and to some degree nutritional yeast. Absorption of B12 from the gut is roughly 56%, and is further compromised by common medications (omeprazole (Prilosec), ranitidine (Zantac), antibiotics) and absorption and digestive problems (not limited to pernicious anemia, gastric bypass surgery, etc). Vitamin B12 injections are necessary for those with absorption problems and helpful for vegetarians and others who are looking to boost their active lifestyles.

Being in the family of water-soluble vitamins, vitamin B12 is non-toxic, meaning is does not build up in the body and cause adverse side effects. Injectable vitamin B12 comes in two forms that are equivalent in effectiveness: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. (Don’t be fooled by internet marketing.) Prescribed doses are generally 1000 mcg given at one week to one month intervals, depending on one’s deficit.

As you can probably surprise, the beauty of B12 is not just skin deep. VItamin B12 improves energy, a perfect boost for athletes' endurance and stamina. Vitamin B12 directly lowers homocysteine, a known inflammatory marker that contributes to atherosclerosis. From a psychological standpoint, vitamin B12 improves sleep-wake cycles and staves off cognitive decline... There is nothing in cellular function that vitamin B12 will not help to improve.

We encourage adequate consumption of vitamin B12 through dietary sources. Vitamin B12 injections are an excellent alternative and/or adjunctive option when dietary consumption is compromised.

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