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Vitamin B12 and it’s Role in Life

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By: Arthur Anderson

Mother Nature has an interesting way of linking us all together.  No, I’m not talking about you and me, I’m talking about man, animals, plants, insects and bacteria.

Humans rely on bacteria in so many different ways.  We’ve talked about the gut biome, but did you know that bacteria are responsible for the production of Vitamin B12.  And only bacteria have the enzymes needed to produce Vitamin B12.

Okay, “So what” you say.  Vitamin B12 is a key vitamin needed for brain and nervous system development in infants and unborn children.  Lack of Vitamin B12 can lead to learning orders in young children.  Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism in every cell in the human body.  Deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, poor memory and autoimmune issues.  B12 is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine so adults who have intestinal disorders and adults over 60 have difficulty absorbing B12.

Here’s the good news, Vitamin B12 is readily available in organ meat, seafood and muscle meat.  To meet the minimum RDA requirements for Vitamin B12 you only need to eat about an ounce of shellfish, or about 3 ounces of Pate (organ meat), or 3-4 ounces of fish, or about 5-8 ounces of red meat.

The challenge comes to those who choose to follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets.  For vegetarians who don’t eat fish they would need about 4-7 eggs per day or 16 ounces of cheese per day.  For vegans, your left with eating certain mushrooms at 11 ounces per day.  Most vegetarians, up to 80%, are deficient in Vitamin B12.

There is one other very good source of Vitamin B12, insects, yes insects.  While most, maybe all, of us don’t have the stomach to cook up a batch of crickets or meal worms there are other ways to eat our insects, through flour and premade snacks.  Cricket flour, for example, contains your RDA requirement of Vitamin B12 in one ounce and its packed with protein too.  If you feel adventurous do some web searches you may be surprised how easy it is to get insect products in an edible form and how nutritious they are.

It’s very easy to have Vitamin B12 tested, just ask to add it to your annual blood testing, especially if you follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets.

There you go guys, everything you wanted to know about Vitamin B12 and more.