(NaturalNews) One of the pitfalls of pursuing a healthy diet is that we are sometimes blind to nutrients we may be missing. And in the world of healthy eating, one of the most common nutrient deficiencies involves vitamin B-12, a crucial nutrient for nerve health and the construction of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is especially common among vegetarians and vegans, but it's also surprisingly common in meat eaters, too. Why? Because vitamin B-12 can only be absorbed in the small intestine, and due to common intestinal ailments, even many meat eaters who consume high levels of B-12 are unable to absorb it in their gut.
This leads to a series of seemingly "mystery" health symptoms that actually have a simple common cause: Vitamin B-12 deficiency!
Here are some of the most common symptoms of deficiency (do you experience any of these?):
* Chest pain or shortness of breath * Fatigue or unexplained weakness * Dizziness, trouble with balance, and fainting * Confusion, memory loss or dementia * Coldness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet * Slow reflexes or diminished nervous system function * Pale skin or yellowing of the skin * Sore mouth and tongue
If you (or someone you know) shows any of the symptoms listed above, I urge you to immediately investigate vitamin B-12 and determine if a deficiency in this nutrient may be causing your symptoms!
Again, vitamin B-12 deficiency is especially common in vegans and vegetarians because typical vitamin B-12 sources (meats, yogurt, etc.) are simply not present in their diets. But even meat eaters can be deficient in B-12 due to poor digestion. This is especially true for older people who suffer a diminished ability to absorb nutrients in their small intestine.
In addition, diabetes medications and even pain pills can interfere with B-12 absorption, and intestinal parasites can also strongly block its absorption in the gut.
Solutions for vitamin B-12
Traditionally, people who are deficient in vitamin B-12 have received injections of B-12. This is extremely effective because it bypasses the digestive tract and goes right into the bloodstream. But it has one obvious downside: It requires being injected! So most people aren't interested in this method.
Instead, most people supplement their vitamin B-12 using nutritional supplements. But here's where this can go wrong: The most commonly available form of vitamin B-12 on the market is the cheap synthetic form that's actually bound to a cyanide molecule (yes, cyanide, the poison). It's called cyanocobalamin, and you'll find it in all the cheap vitamins made by pharmaceutical companies and sold at grocery stores and big box stores.
Action item: If you have any vitamin B-12 supplements, check the ingredients label right now to see what form of vitamin B-12 they contain. If they contain cyanocobalamin, throw them out!
Cyanocobalamin is a cheap, synthetic chemical made in a laboratory. It's virtually impossible for you to find this form in nature. Low-end vitamin manufacturers use it because it can be bought in bulk and added to products with claims that they "contain vitamin B-12!" What they don't tell you is that the vitamin is bound to a toxic, poisonous cyanide molecule that must then be removed from your body by your liver. Cyanocobalamin is also up to 100 times cheaper than the higher quality methylcobalamin which we'll talk about below.
As Wikipedia explains: "A common synthetic form of the vitamin, cyanocobalamin, does not occur in nature, but is used in many pharmaceuticals and supplements, and as a food additive, because of its lower cost. In the body it is converted to the physiological forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, leaving behind the cyanide..." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12)
Removing the cyanide molecule from the vitamin and then flushing it out of your body requires using up so-called "methyl groups" of molecules in your body that are needed to fight things like homocysteine (high levels cause heart disease). By taking low-quality cyanobalamin, you're actually stealing methyl groups from your body and making it do more work at the biochemical level. This uses up substances such as glutathione that are often in short supply anyway, potentially worsening your overall health situation rather than helping it. This is one of the reasons why low-grade vitamins may actually be worse for your body than taking nothing at all!
Cyanocobalamin, in summary, is a low-grade, low-quality and slightly toxic (cyanide) form of vitamin B-12 that's used by all the cheap vitamin manufacturers. I recommend avoiding it completely. It won't kill you to take it, of course, but there's a better solution for B-12.
The better choice: Methylcobalamin
The proper form of vitamin B-12 to supplement is called methylcobalamin. This is the form that exists in nature, and it is pre-methylated, meaning it's ready for your biochemistry to put to immediate use. Methylcobalamin has several key advantages over cyanocobalamin:
* Increased absorption * Better retention in tissues * Contains no toxic cyanide * Supports production of SAMe
As explained by Ed Sharpe:
"The coenzyme form of vitamin B12 is known as methylcobalamin or methyl B12. It's the only form of vitamin B12 which can directly participate in homocysteine metabolism. In addition, converting homocysteine to methionine via methyl B12 generates an increased supply of SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine), the body's most important methyl donor." (http://www.health101.org/art_methylcobalamin...)
Every informed nutritionist knows that methylcobalamin is far superior to cyanocobalamin. That's why companies like Ola Loa (www.DrinkYourVitamins.com) use only the high-end "methyl" form of B-12.
B-12 injections obviously require injections from a trained medical professional, so few people pursue this route. Sublingual absorption is a viable route, but nearly all the sublingual B-12 products use the cyanocobalamin form of the vitamin (with the cyanide molecule).
A vitamin B-12 skin patch is now available that delivers methylcobalamin through the skin, using a small medical-grade patch placed behind the ear. Each patch delivers 1000 mcg of methylcobalamin (1,666% DV) in a steady release over a 1-2 day period, after which the patch may be removed and discarded.
In addition to methylcobalamin, each path also delivers 400mcg of Folic Acid (another form of a B vitamin), which is widely known to work synergistically with methylcobalamin to help support healthy heart function and nervous system function*.
B-12 energy patch works through skin absorption
The B-12 Energy Patch is available now in packs of 8 patches (a 1-2 month supply) from the NaturalNews Store. This 8-pack carries a list price of $39.95, but through our volume purchasing, we are able to offer it to NaturalNews readers at 53% off the list price.
When purchased in a 3-pack (total of 24 patches), the price is lowered even more to 57% off the list price.
* These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease.
What customers say about this B-12 patch
(From Amazon.com) For me a much better alternative to effective sublingual pills
"B12 is running low in my family tree. A couple of relatives have been regular at getting B12 shots. I never felt like I needed the shots, because I thought I could get by with red meat, liver and sublingual pills. I decided to try the patches just to see... I did not expect them to be more effective than sublingual pills.
I must say I was wrong. From the first patch I noticed the boost, which is at first more subtle than the more noticeable boost of the sublingual pills giving you more B12 in a shorter time span. But it picks up over time and feels way more efficient. By way of example, I used the big plate in my road bike and did not pant at the top of three bad climbs hours after getting the patch. To get this kind of effect with sublingual pills after getting low of B12 would take over ten days for me and quite a bit of dedication remembering to keep supplementing. It can get rather tedious waiting for the pills to dissolve under the tongue.
The second day I used two patches right behind the ear, but they both fell off, presumably from the sweat biking. Yet the day before the one patch I tried less close to the ear stayed put biking and after two showers, and I had no dropped patches since. If you exercise, watch out for areas where sweat would accumulate.
I think there is no comparison between this brand and the other one advertised. For four bucks more, you get half the patches and the wrong type of B12 -- cyanocobalamin instead of methylcobalamin. Read about it because cyanocobalamin has to be turned into methylcobalamin by the liver. You can spare that. My doctor put me on cyanocobalamin initially and I turned to methylcobalamin with much greater results. Also, this brand I review has the daily allowance of folic acid as an added bonus (read up on the benefits of taking folic acid with B12), rather than selenium.
I've had no side effects and no skin reactions with this product. I am so satisfied I have ordered a B-complex as a patch from a different company. It is advised to have a B-complex if you supplement in big doses with any vitamin of the B family."
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.