As someone who’s invested in health and fitness, I’d be willing to wager a guess that your daily vitamin stack includes B12. Essential for a variety of crucial roles in optimal bodily function, vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, aids in red blood cell production, metabolic processes, and shielding against neurotoxin damage.

Every cell in our body leans on vitamin B12 for optimal performance. From fostering the growth and regeneration of red blood cells to managing metabolism and safeguarding the central nervous and endocrine systems, B12 serves as a cornerstone for overall health. It even plays a part in strengthening neurotransmitters in the brain and ensures the liver’s efficient utilization of stored vitamins and minerals.

But in today’s fast-paced world, the rising concern about vitamin B12 deficiencies is becoming hard to ignore. Contrary to what many believe, the root cause isn’t just about insufficient dietary intake—it extends to how effectively our bodies absorb this vital nutrient.

Understanding the Deficiency Dilemma
A shortage of B12 can lead to an array of health issues, including anemia, nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms span from fatigue and shortness of breath to numbness and tingling sensations in the extremities. A severe deficiency can escalate to nerve damage, highlighting the vital need to maintain healthy levels of this essential vitamin.

The key to getting enough of this vitamin isn’t just about the foods you eat or the supplements you ingest.

Numerous factors contribute to B12 deficiency, with the digestive system playing a critical role. Weak adrenals, gastrointestinal problems, deficient kidney function, a congested liver, stress, processed food consumption and the use of antibiotics can disrupt proper digestion, absorption, utilization and elimination, leading to B12 deficiency.

The key to getting enough of this vitamin isn’t just about the foods you eat or the supplements you ingest. In fact, a protein produced by the cells in the stomach lining, called the intrinsic factor, dictates how well B12 can be absorbed. Sadly, modern lifestyles have led to diminished amounts of intrinsic factor in many of us, making B12 absorption inefficient and making the vitamin almost useless.

Debunking the Dietary Myth
Contrary to common belief, relying solely on animal foods for B12 isn’t the solution. When ingesting protein-rich meals like eggs, meat, fish,
or chicken, the body can only digest about 20 per cent of it. The undigested protein disrupts the probiotic bacteria in the gut, the primary source of B12. Instead, the answer lies in the external parts of organic foods, often termed as prebiotic or elevated biotics. These microorganisms absorb the sun’s energy and release B12 upon their “death,” supporting the body’s health. Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, concord grapes, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, leeks, dates, carrots, peas, sprouts, microgreens, herbs, wildfoods and seaweed are excellent sources of elevated biotics. Opting for fresh, organic produce straight from the garden or growing your own at home
is a wise choice.

Health, in the end, isn’t just about loading up on B12-rich foods or supplements. Whether you’re a meat-eater or a plant-food lover, your lifestyle matters. Prioritize good digestion, soak up a healthy dose of sunlight for vitamin D, and maintain a happy gut—these are the real heroes in the B12 story. Embrace a natural lifestyle, concentrate on organic, whole foods, and keep your gut healthy
to pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant life.

Supplements: Not a Simple Solution
Taking B12 supplements isn’t as straightforward as it seems, as B12 naturally combines with other B vitamins. Remember, it’s not just about what you ingest; it’s about how your body assimilates and utilizes these essential nutrients.

Photography by, Active Vegetarian

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