B-12 – The Biggest Vitamin
Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is a complex crystalline compound that functions in all cells, but especially in those of the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the bone marrow. Vitamin B12 helps the development of our red blood cells and if lacking in B12, a person will commonly suffer from pernicious anemia.
There are three different forms of B-12 available, the most common form is generally cobalamin. But there is also cyanocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
B12 deficiencies are common in NZ, with up to 25% of the female population being deficient. Almost 30% of women are Fe deficient.
Clinical applications for Vitamin B12
- Cardiovascular: deficiency can cause pernicious anemia, essential for the formation of RBCs, helps prevent stroke & heart attack by lowering elevated homocysteine.
- Conitive: deficiency can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, and glaucoma.
- Female: helps prevent miscarriage, infertility; deficiency during pregnancy can result in impaired development of myelin sheath in offspring. Consumed during pregnancy, helps to prevent most neural tube defects, particularly spina bifida.
- Gastrointestinal: deficiency contributes to Crohn’s disease, hypochlorhydria. Vegetarians, vegans Coeliac’s are deficient.
- Immune system: deficiency leads to a decline in NK cells, Helper-T cells, lymphocytes, and optimises wbc ratios. Accelerates recovery from viral and bacterial diseases. B12 is a useful supplement in many auto-immune cases. Helps to prevent breast and lung cancer.
- Male: impotency and infertility can be caused by deficiencies of B12.
- Metabolic: fatigue and anemia are two of the major B12 deficiencies, B12 improves the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis in DM patients
- Musculoskeletal: retards nerve degeneration in muscular dystrophy, protects against nerve damage in polymyalgia rheumatica, alleviates bursitis.
- Nervous system: alleviates many cases of depression and insomnia, improves circadian rhythm, improves recovery from Bell’s palsy and sciatica, improves intelligence and learning, improves some aspects of MS, alleviates post-herpetic neuralgia, helps control panic disorders, deficiency can cause several nervous-system related disorders such as vertigo and a decreased sense of touch. Diabetic neuropathy
- Oral: angular stomatitis, alleviates mouth ulcers, glossitis (swollen tongue).
- Skin: alleviates eczema, dermatitis, hives and in some cases has shown dramatic results in psoriasis.
More specific applications for the methylcobalamin form of B-12
Methylcobalamin is an active endogenous coenzyme form of Vitamin B12 found more in the cell’s cytoplasm, which transfers a methyl group from an inactive form of folic acid to homocysteine forming the amino acid methionine. Methylcobalamin is the form of B12 used in homocysteine and serotonin pathways, and accounts for approximately 70% of the total blood plasma Vitamin B12 reserves. Clinical trials have shown that supplemental Methylcobalamin is vastly superior to all other forms of Vitamin B12 supplementation in terms of its ability to enhance human health.
- Circulatory: Deficiencies – elevated homocysteine.
- Musculoskeletal: Facilitates maintenance of normal healthy bone-marrow, , the production of blood cells and for manufacturing genetic material
- Occular: Methylcobalamin may help prevent glaucoma.
More specific applications for the adenosylcobalamin form of B-12
Adenosylcobalamin, which is found more in the mitochondria of the cell (the “powerhouse” of the cell), is essential in the formation of haemoglobin and the breakdown of certain amino acids, fats and cholesterol that helps to maintain the correct fatty acids in myelin, the fatty sheath surrounding your nerves. Approximately 70% of the liver’s Vitamin B12 reserves are in the form of adenosylcobalamin. Adenosylcobalamin is formed endogenously (internally) and its impaired biosynthesis can lead to a condition known as Methylmalonic academia.
- Refer to the clinical applications for B-12 in general.
- The more suited B12 for strictly vegan or vegetarians.
- Similar applications as B12, more suited for person with impaired or reduced gastric function, reducing uptake yet requiring vitamin B12.