Vitamin B12 is often a hot topic, marveled for its energy-boosting effects and the role it plays in maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. Yet at the same time, individuals choosing to adhere to more natural lifestyle and diet choices are often deficient in this vitamin (unfortunately B12 is abundant in liver, fish and eggs). In fact, the World Health Organization notes that the “Population groups who consume low amounts of animal-source foods, not just strict vegetarians, are at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.”
Still, there are food options for those who don’t fully subscribe to a 100% raw, whole foods diet as well as non-food options for such people to obtain their B12. It’s important to note that sources suggesting that vegetables boast significant amounts of vitamin B12 content are unfounded, since 1) many of them have such low levels they aren’t deemed worthy of consideration, and 2) many also contain elements that can actually further exasperate problems caused by B12 deficiencies.
Without proper levels of B12 in the system, people can experience dizziness, fatigue, depression, menstrual difficulties, memory loss and in severe instances, damaging neurological problems.
Top 5 Foods High in Vitamin B12
The foods below are high in vitamin B12. When appropriate, make sure to select organic, 100% grass fed or raw options.
- Beef (red meat, including liver)
- Silken tofu
- Chicken eggs
- Swiss cheese (choose raw cheese)
Non-Food Options to Obtain Vitamin B12
For those choosing not to incorporate dairy and meat into their lifestyle, there are non-food options to obtain vitamin B12:
1. Intramuscular Supplementation (injections): Often costly and painful, injections which while some may find beneficial, others have been known to experience adverse reactions including hives, tingling in their extremities, stomach upset and heart problems.
2. Sublingual (taken orally, often under the tongue and typically a tablet or in liquid form): Studies have shown that a vitamin B12 tablet taken orally is just as effective as injections, yet bypasses the pain often incurred by taking injections. They are also typically less expensive than injections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Although studies to date have failed to show consistent positive effects of oral vitamin B12 supplementation on cognitive function, there is some evidence of improvement in status after vitamin B12 injections in both deficient adults and elderly.”
3. Patches: Raw food advocate and expert Matt Monarch strongly urges B12 patches for their ability to quickly enter the bloodstream and because of effectiveness concerns with the other options. More importantly, many injected and oral methods contain cyanocobalamin, causing adverse reactions as minor as diarrhea, yet as severe as anaphylactic shock and death (most commonly in the case of injections). The patches he says, are the “. . . purest pharmaceutical-grade methylcobalamin human-active B-12 available.”
Choosing the Right Kind of Vitamin B12 Supplementation is Key (Hint: Beware of cyanocobalamin)
While considering the non-food options above, Monarch explains that the pills and shots may use cyanocobalamin which in his opinion, “. . . should be banned” because they “rob us of our methyl groups.” Methylcobalamin B12, found in the patches, is a compound in B12 responsible for helping to fight neurotoxicity and regulate sleep patterns.
To get your vitamin B12 levels up to par, select from the foods above and if they do not fit within your dietary lifestyle, be sure to consider pharmaceutical-grade methylcobalamin human-active B-12 patches.
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