Hope you are enjoying the week so far. It has been a bit gray and rainy, but I like to think of it as fueling the growth of all the glorious plant life that is starting to peek out from the trees and the earth. I also know it is nourishing the wonderful vegetables I will be getting at the farmer’s market in the next few weeks and months!
I talked about Vitamin D3 a few weeks ago, and I wanted to talk about another important supplement: B12 (cobalamin). As we move towards a more clean diet and cut back on animal products, it is important to supplement with B12.
What is B12 and why do we need it? This important water-soluble vitamin is used for many functions of the body. It can be stored in our liver for some time. We need B12 to maintain our energy and help prevent fatigue! It also helps promote healthy brain and cardiac function and helps us sleep better, as it has a critical role in the formation of melatonin, which is commonly referred to as the “sleep hormone”. It also supports the optimal metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, promotes healthy cell growth and repair, and activates the vitamin folate in the body.
Plus, Vitamin B12 supports and protects our nerves. It develops and maintains fatty sheathes which act as a cover and protector of nerve endings. We don’t want to burn our nerves out! The great Yoga Master, Paramahansa Yogananda, spoke often of protecting our very important nervous system to maintain calmness and vitality in our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of our being. If we find that we are often agitated over little things almost daily, it is really important to do something about it! It will burn us out for the long term, waste energy and exhaust our life force- our inner light.
Since Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal sources of food, if we are vegetarian or vegan we must supplement. It is true that B12 if found in sources like sea vegetables and nutritional yeast, but this is one vitamin we need to be fully sure we are receiving in a bioavailable form.
However, for those of us that do eat meat, it does not automatically mean you are safe! Meat-eaters can still have low levels of Vitamin B12! Even if one eats sources that contain it, one might not be adequately absorbing it. Absorbing and utilizing Vitamin B12 is actually fairly complex, and there are many places where we could run into trouble. If we are low in hydrochloric acid, which releases B12 from food, our bodies may have issues absorbing B12. The stomach lining could also be lacking in its ability to produce intrinsic factor, a protein that is needed to bind to B12 in the small intestine to allow the body to absorb it.
The synthetic type of B12 found in supplements is called cyanocobalamin. Check with your doctor if you are unsure of the level of Vitamin B12 that your body needs, but 500-1,000 mcg is generally considered a good daily amount. Be careful not to take Vitamin C at the same time, as it can virtually eliminate the absorption of B12! Only up to 500 mg of “C” should be taken at the same time. Over and above that, we may run into issues.
Be sure to take care of yourself and protect yourself with B12 supplementation! I hope you will see marked improvement in your sleep and provide some headache relief. :)
By the way, if any of you have any other “green” cleaning ideas apart from the ones that I mentioned in my post last week, I’d love for you to share! I’m really into the “green” cleaning thing right now. I went to a vegan restaurant the other day and they were spraying the tables down with this disgusting toxic spray!! It really creeped me out. Yes the food was organic and vegan, but then we are to be surrounded with chemicals infesting the air all around while eating?? So ironic. Sometimes the connection isn’t made that all our choices matter- not just food.
Okay, back to work!