Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, important for energy production, helping to fight fatigue, and tiredness. It's required for a healthy nervous system, cognitive function, and mental health.
B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells, immunity, hormone regulation, and plays a role in homocysteine modulation. High homocysteine levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A deficiency of B12 can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, or mouth sores.
The main sources of B12 are animal products which are considered the best food source, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. Mushrooms, especially shiitake also contain some. Breakfast cereals and dairy free milk are often fortified with B12. Marigold Engevita yeast flakes contain B12 and other B vitamins. The flakes can be included in many recipes.
Supplements include: Solgar Vitamin B12 nuggets, these contain 1000ug of B12 or Solgar liquid B12 which contain 2000ug of B12 per daily dose. What I like about this supplement is that it provides other B vitamins including B5 and B6, both important for energy, cognitive function and to help the body cope with the effects of stress. Better You Boost Oral Spray is an option if you don't like tablets or capsules. It contains green tea and chromium - four sprays per day delivers 1200 of vitamin B12.
B12 is produced by bacteria found in soil as well as in the guts of animals, including humans. The soil needs to contain the mineral cobalt to make B12. The soil is often deficient of this mineral which means that even if you're a meat eater you could be deficient, so it's well worth having your bloods checked regularly.
Tiredness, poor cognitive function, memory, or slow recall could be a first sign of B12 deficiency. It would be a good idea to have your bloods tested if you have these symptoms. If it's very low your doctor may suggest injections to bring your levels back to their optimum level.
If you're vegetarian, vegan or if you don't eat much animal produce you may need to consider supplementing with B12. Call in to your local health store for more advice on diet, lifestyle or supplement advice.