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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12  is known as the “energy vitamin,” and it is essential for many critical functions in your body, including energy production,  supporting your immune system , and helping to regulate the formation of red blood cells.*  Recent studies from the US Framingham trial show that one in four adults in the US are deficient in this vitally important nutrient and nearly half of the population has suboptimal blood levels.
Vitamin B12 is present only in animal sources of food--which is one of the reasons I advise against being a strict vegetarian or a vegan. This deficiency can result in  less than optimal nervous system function, a tendency toward nervousness, and even less-than-optimal eye health.* 

How You Get Vitamin B12 Deficient
The older you get the more likely you are to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.  The two ways that you become deficient in vitamin B12 are from not getting enough in your diet and from losing the ability to absorb it.
I recently visited India which is primarily a vegetarian based culture and current studies there show about 80% of the adults are deficient in vitamin B12. However, vegans are  not the only ones who can become vitamin B12 deficient. 
The older you get the more your digestive system breaks down, especially if you have been following the standard American diet. Specifically the lining of your stomach gradually loses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid which releases vitamin B 12 from your food. The use of antacids or anti ulcer drugs will also lower your stomach acid secretion and decrease your ability to absorb vitamin B 12.  Infection with Helicobactor pylori, a common contributor to stomach ulcers, can also result in vitamin B12 deficiency.
However the main cause of vitamin B 12 deficiency is a term researchers call food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome.  Cobalamin is the scientific term for vitamin B12.   This typically results when your stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor which is a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows your body to absorb it at the end of your small intestine.

What Critical Health Benefits Does this Vitamin Bring to the Table?
For starters, vitamin B-12 helps folic acid regulate the formation of red blood cells, and helps your body use iron*.  In addition, it is also needed for proper digestion, food absorption, carbohydrate and fat metabolism.*  It also helps keep your nervous system healthy by assisting the nerves of your body to function and communicate in an optimal manner.*
But that's not all...far from it! B-12 also helps in cell formation and cellular longevity.*  Plus, it can support female reproductive health, and promote normal nerve growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths.*  These fatty sheaths play a vital role as they cover and protect your nerve endings.*
What's more, this workhorse of a micronutrient is critical to your circulation and adrenal hormone production -- plus, it helps boost your immunity.*  And, oh yes, let's not forget...
Vitamin B-12 supports a healthy mood and feelings of well-being.*  And then there's this -- it also provides excellent support for your memory, mental clarity, and concentration.*
Aside from using B-12 to give you an energy boost, when does it also make sense to supplement with this all-important vitamin?  Well, there are several good reasons to take vitamin B-12
And the first reason to take it is if you are a carb type or a strict vegetarian.

If You Avoid Meat, You Probably Need to Take B-12
Many people avoid red meats for a large variety of reasons. If you are one of them, you are at a high risk for developing vitamin B-12 deficiency. Why? Because plant sources have virtually no vitamin B-12.  And oral forms of B-12 in nearly all supplements are practically useless, as little is absorbed into your bloodstream.
Vegetarians should take this essential micronutrient to ensure an adequate supply of it, because it is found almost exclusively in animal tissues.  And, the few plant foods that are sources of B-12 are actually B-12 analogs -- not the form that provides all the benefits of the real deal. Simply put, an analog is a substance that blocks the uptake of true B-12.  The result being, your body's need for the nutrient actually increases
Furthermore, your body's need for this nutrient may also increase if you take Metformin©.  Metformin may interfere with calcium metabolism.  And this interference may reduce B-12 absorption, because this absorption requires calcium.
Studies suggest that 10% to 30% of patients taking Metformin show evidence of reduced vitamin B-12 absorption.  That's why it is important to speak with your doctor to discuss the best way to maintain B-12 levels when taking this medication. 
Now, if getting a good night's sleep has also become increasingly more difficult for you, here's...

What Your Sleeping Difficulties May Be Trying to Tell You!
If you suffer from sleeping difficulties, I recommend taking vitamin B-12 during the day.  I believe it can help you.  Here's why. 
B-12 plays a vital role in melatonin production.  Melatonin has been called "the sleep hormone" because it is responsible for letting you get a good night's sleep.  
As you age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to get a good night's sleep because your body becomes less efficient at making this hormone.  And that's why it's a good idea to take B-12 to help you sleep like a baby each night. Moreover, a lack of adequate B-12 can have other annoying consequences too. 

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