Understanding the Importance of B-12

Vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body. No fungi, plants, nor animals are capable of producing vitamin B-12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis. There are, however, some plant foods that are natural sources of B-12 because of bacterial symbiosis (an interaction between species). B-12 can be produced through a bacterial fermentation - synthesis. This synthetic B-12 is used to fortify foods and sold as a dietary supplement.

According to George Malkmus, author of The Hallelujah Diet book, Vitamin B-12 is produced naturally in our bodies, by the intestinal flora God intended to be present in our digestive systems. Unfortunately, in our modern society we rarely receive enough intestinal floras from vegetables due to cooking and processing, and because of the necessity to thoroughly wash pesticides off produce before eating.

Yes, it’s true that an individual can get B-12 from animals. When an animal eats grass with the naturally occurring bacteria, this bacteria keeps their intestinal flora thriving. This, in turn, produces B-12.  In other words, livestock ingest the natural bacteria while grazing, accounting for the presence of vitamin B-12 in meat.  However, the health risks of eating meat today, outweighs the benefits of consuming meat for the sake of B-12. Which is why, I recommend B-12 supplements.

Not all B-12 supplements are the same. Sold on the market today are two types of cobalamin; methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. The difference between the two is methylcobalamin is made from carbon and hydrogen, whereas, cyanocobalamin is made using cyanide (a poisonous substance). Research indicates that the small amount of cyanide is not harmful. However, it’s probably fair to say that most people would prefer not the ingest cyanide at all. Besides, your body has no use for the cyano-compound and will try to convert any cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin as soon as it is ingested.

Cyanocobalamin is heavily used by pharmaceutical companies and appears in multivitamins. Why? Because synthesizing the cyano-form is much cheaper than making methylcobalamin.  Methylcobalamin is what the body needs and wants. For more information about B12, check out this information from the National Institute of Health: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

The next time you are out looking for a B-12 supplement make sure to get the one that benefits the body more.

I encourage you to do your own research!

Peace & Blessings,

Dr. Bradley