I just read this email from Dr. Mercola from (http://www.mercola.com/ )
Very interesting...read on:
With a 25% chance every cell and tissue in your body has less than optimal levels of this nutrient, your metabolism can be totally inefficient in burning fat, generating energy, and absorbing vital nutrients.* Here’s what to do…
Many experts previously believed that strict vegetarians were the primary group that could develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. If you had adequate stores of this important nutrient in your body, the experts believed you were “safe” for many years from developing a B12 deficiency..
Now we know better.
Vitamin B12 depletion and deficiency are much more common than previously thought, especially in the over-60 population. In fact, it’s believed that almost one in four people over 60 have deficient levels of this vital vitamin.
Equally disturbing are emerging signs that other age groups harbor suboptimal blood levels of B12 as well.
Why is vitamin B12 deficiency such a big deal?
Your body depends on vitamin B12 for a host of functions, including…
Helping to maintain normal energy levels*
Promoting healthy neurological activity, including mental alertness*
Supporting normal homocysteine levels for healthy cardiac function*
Helping to ease occasional stress and sleeplessness*
Maintaining healthy cell growth and repair*
Promoting normal immune function*
Supporting normal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats*
When your blood levels of vitamin B12 are low, one or more of these functions may be disrupted.*
Without adequate blood levels of B12, you can experience symptoms related to low energy, mental fatigue, mood changes, sleep difficulties, and even occasional indigestion.*
Your body relies on the efficient conversion of carbohydrates to glucose – your body’s source of fuel – just like your car needs to be able to use gas to run smoothly. Vitamin B12 plays a major role in that conversion in your body.* Likewise, B12 enables your body to convert fatty acids into energy as well.*
Contrary to what you might have heard, there’s really no solid evidence that supplemental vitamin B12 helps you lose weight.
Overall, vitamin B12 is a nutrient your body cannot do without for efficient, healthy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.*
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
Vegetarians have an increased need for vitamin 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.
Do You or a Loved One Experience Any of the Following?
Not many know it, but if you or a family member experience:
Tiredness and feelings of weakness...*
Less-than-optimal nervous system functioning...*
Less-than-optimal eye health...*
Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss...*
Occasional constipation and gas...*
Feelings of mild moodiness...*
A tendency toward nervousness...*
Less-than-optimal liver or heart health...*
Premature grey hair...
Occasional digestive issues...
...you may need to supplement with vitamin B-12, even if you eat foods rich in B-12. Oddly enough, that wasn't a typo.
You can eat plenty of meat, poultry, lamb's liver, brewer's yeast, clams, eggs, herring, mackerel, kidneys, milk, dairy products, or seafood -- and still have low levels of B-12. How can that be?
It could be because your body is unable to absorb it from your gut. You see B-12 needs the help of a protein in order to be absorbed. That protein is called intrinsic factor. And because the lining of your stomach makes intrinsic factor, people with less-than-optimal gastrointestinal health often need to supplement with B-12.*
Likewise, most people over the age of 50 have a limited ability to absorb B-12, too. Thus, the need for supplementation