Most nutrition books will tell you that vitamin B12 is the vitamin that cures anemia, but until recently there was hardly any information on B12 as a supplement for healthy people. New studies show that getting enough B12:
Boosts immune function
Protects against senile dementia
Regenerates cells throughout the body and
Works with folic acid and vitamin B6 to protect the heart.
The latest scientific information on vitamin B12 indicates that it is also essential for maintaining the chemical reactions that create SAM-e, repair DNA, and prevent cancer.
The organ most dependent on vitamin B12 for normal functioning is the brain. That's why it should come as no surprise that people who suffer B12 deficiencies tend to develop mental disorders. B12 is critical in the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin and the mood hormone serotonin.
Vitamin B12 is also essential to the survival of the nerves themselves. The well established information on B12 is that it is essential in the kinds of chemical reactions that "turn on" detoxification mechanisms. These methylation reactions are especially important for detoxifying heavy metals such as arsenic, antimony, and lead.
When B12 goes through its own methylation reaction it becomes methylcobalamin. This form of B12 is superior to other forms of the item in that it does not have to be activated before it starts its work.
Methylcobalamin is a super nutrient for the brain. It protects the brain from the ill effects of aspartame, glutamate, and nitric oxide. It also saves the brain form the damaging effects of poor circulation and hypoglycemia.
Glutamate and nitric oxide toxicity are hallmarks of both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Poor circulation and the resulting low levels of oxygenation is a chronic problem after heart attack or stroke. Low blood sugar is a constant risk in well-treated diabetes.
Methylcobalamin also protects myelin, the "insulation" for cells throughout the central nervous system. Degeneration of the myelin layer is implicated in most cases of memory loss and progressive diseases like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and degeneration of the spinal cord. The information on vitamin B12 recently discovered by French scientists is that the methylcobalamin form of the nutrient promotes regeneration of the insulating myelin and slows the progression of these diseases.
More key information on B12 is that this versatile vitamin assists brain function by lowering concentrations of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid.
By itself, homocysteine isn't bad. It's even part of the process the body uses to make its own SAM-e. But when homocysteine levels build up in the brain, they interfere with the methylation reactions that remove neural toxins.
Studies show that people with elevated levels of homocysteine have trouble remembering and thinking clearly. High levels of homocysteine can cause a condition similar to Alzheimer's disease.
And Alzheimer's disease itself is characterized by high levels of homocysteine, low levels of B12, and deficiencies of the key ingredient in methylation reactions, SAMe. German scientists have found that giving people with Alzheimer's vitamin B12 reduces belligerence and disturbed behavior.
All of this fails to overshadow information on vitamin B12 that it helps in neurological conditions occurring outside the brain. Bell's palsy is a temporary paralysis of the facial nerve, usually following a viral infection. People who have Bell's palsy may not be able to open one eye or to close one side of their mouths. Since this condition involves nerves, and B12 is a key nutrient for nerves, researchers tested B12 as a treatment.
Sixty people with Bell's palsy were divided into three groups. One group was given standard steroid therapy. The second group was given the form of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin plus steroid therapy. The third group was given vitamin B12 alone.
What information on vitamin B12 did the clinical study reveal? The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids recovered in 2 to 9 weeks. The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids plus B12 recovered in 2 to 9 days. The Bell's palsy patients who were given no steroids at all, just vitamin B12, recovered even faster.
High homocysteine levels also affect the heart. There's some evidence that high homocysteine levels may be even more damaging than high cholesterol levels, but taking vitamin B12 protects your heart. By helping the arteries produce an enzyme with the tongue-twisting name methylenetetrahydrofolatereductase, B12 helps the body convert harmful homocysteine into harmless methionine.
A clinical study in Poland found taking just 1000 micrograms (one thousandth of a gram) of vitamin B12 every week, along with 300 mg of vitamin B6 and 5 mg of folic acid every day for two months cut homocysteine levels in half. This B-vitamin combo also reduced levels of thrombin, the clotting agent that sets the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
Protecting your heart against the perils of homocysteine is simple, but most people don't do it despite the efforts of natural health experts all over the world to put out this vital information on vitamin B12. A researcher at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., MD, MSPM, says "approximately 70% of the adult population in the United States is exposed to a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (an elevated plasma homocysteine concentration) that can be easily avoided simply by consuming a B vitamin supplement."
And as if added risk of heart disease from homocysteine weren't enough, there is also evidence that elevated homocysteine is a risk factor for cancer. When homocysteine levels go up, DNA is damaged. Scientists have found cell DNA damaged by homocysteine in persons as young as 18 and as old as 70.
Damage to DNA can cause cancer, and homocysteine can be a cancer risk even if the diet provides normal levels. Protecting your body against the DNA damage caused by homocysteine requires more than just the RDA. Recent studies in Australia found that DNA protection seems to require about three-and-a-half times the amount vitamin B12 the US Department of Agriculture says is enough to avoid disease.
Most people simply don't get this much B12 from diet and supplements. But if you have the information on B12 and healthy living, you can protect your health for just pennies a day. You also will also get a boost to your mood and relief for tired, painful joints. Just be sure your supplement provides you all the B12 you need plus its cofactors B6 and folic acid in an easy-to-take daily dose.
A Trustworthy Comprehensive Product
One company that produces a balanced nutritional supplement with vitamin B12 and its cofactors B6 and folic acid is Xtend-Life Natural Products from New Zealand. Their flagship product, Total Balance
is a balanced nutritional supplement containing B12 and its cofactors and more! It contains all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients you need in a single, easy-to-take blend.
We take it ourselves, and are very happy with the results.