Dr. Daniel Nuzum: What are the benefits of vitamin B12?
The benefits of vitamin B12 are—there are so many different things, it is one of the vitamins that is part mineral, part vitamin. It has a component to it that can be cobalt, but you can also get—there’s also a methyl component that we can put into the mix.
And what we’ve found is the methylcobalamin is the right one to get. You don’t want to get the cyanocobalamin.
But that cobalt in there is the cobalt component of this particular vitamin. So, it’s interesting, this vitamin.
This vitamin is an antioxidant, but it helps with the metabolization of oxygen. It helps the body use oxygen in many different ways. But it helps the red blood cells pick up and release oxygen. And so, when the red blood cells have enough iron and enough B12, they can carry the oxygen around the body and deliver it properly. If they’re missing the B12, they don’t deliver the oxygen very well.
What’s so important about the delivery of oxygen? You get it in and if just flows around, right, Doc?
Well, not exactly. What happens is oxygen gets into the bloodstream. You breathe, and oxygen gets into your lungs. As blood circulates through your lungs, good healthy blood that’s low in oxygen picks up the oxygen in the lungs and then circulates throughout your body, and it releases oxygen into your tissues. As oxygen gets into your tissues, it gets into your cells. Your cells take in the oxygen and the mitochondria, the power generator for your cell, uses oxygen. It, in essence, breathes oxygen also.
B12 is kind of like the—it locks down the oxygen in the red blood cells. The red blood cell can carry it. And then helps to release it so that the cells can pick up the oxygen and use it, and the mitochondria can then burn the oxygen in the process of producing energy.
So, that’s why it’s so important that we have red blood cells that can pick up and release oxygen, right?
And that’s what iron plays a role in that, creating the center portion of the red blood cell, the heme portion. Then we have the B12 in there. And that’s, as far as oxygen metabolism, B12 plays a big role in our utilization of oxygen.
B12 also helps the body metabolize and convert a pro-inflammatory protein called homocysteine into the amino acid called methionine. And we actually need B12 and folate to do that properly. But taking that homocysteine and converting it into methionine takes this pro-inflammatory protein and converts it into a protein that our body can use to detoxify itself.
So, it’s really pretty interesting. The B12 takes this protein that just stimulates more and more inflammation in our cardiovascular system, in our heart, and converts it into a protein than that our liver uses to detoxify all kinds of different chemicals.
So, it’s really, really important how B12 not only helps us metabolize oxygen and works in our bloodstream doing that, but it also works in our bloodstream converting these pro-inflammatory proteins into usable proteins that our body can detoxify itself with.
So, just to recap. The benefits of B12 are improved cardiovascular health, improved mental acuity, improved liver health, and improved detox capacity.
B12 and vegans, are vegans getting enough vitamin B12?
The thing with B12 is B12 is normally bound to some sort of animal protein. For vegans, it can be really difficult for them to get enough of the vitamin B12, unless they’re supplementing from some source.
There are a couple of natural sources of B12 that aren’t necessarily animal protein.
One is spirulina. Spirulina has B12 in it and has significant amounts of B12, and that’s a viable option for most vegans.
Another one is there are cricket concentrates that are very high in vitamin B12, that’s bioavailable, very bioavailable. And that, if a vegan is open to that, cricket extract is another viable source of vitamin B12.
And so, those would be my main go-to’s for most vegans to get a viable and significant source of B12.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Thanks, Doc. I appreciate your wealth of knowledge as usual.
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