Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) supports the integrity of the nervous system and is necessary
for the formation of red blood cells. B12 is only found naturally in foods
of animal origin such as meats, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, and shellfish. Vitamin B12 deficiency is possible among strict vegetarians (vegans)—those who eat no animal products, infants of vegan mothers, and more common among
the elderly. B12 deficiency can be avoided by consuming non-fat dairy products
or fortified foods such as commercial breakfast cereals or supplements that contain
vitamin B12. Inadequate consumption of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc among
vegetarians and vegans is also possible but not likely.

Because the body can store a substantial amount of vitamin B12, deficiency can
take years to develop. Overt deficiency occurs in about 3% and borderline deficiency
in up to 20% of persons over age 50. B12 deficiency can cause anemia,
cognitive deficits, and peripheral nerve problems. Some people, especially the elderly,
develop a B12 deficiency because the stomach does not make enough acid,
or enough of a protein, intrinsic factor (IF), that is necessary for the intestines to
absorb vitamin B12 properly. Intestinal diseases like celiac and Crohn’s disease
can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. Vitamin
B12 deficiency can be treated with oral vitamin B12, or in the presence of intestinal
disease or absence of intrinsic factor, with injected vitamin B12. It is recommended
to use the natural form of B12 (methylcobalamin) rather than the synthetic form
(cyanobalamin) because cyanobalamin may impair kidney function in those with
borderline kidney disease.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel