Boosting Vitamin B12 Intake
Experts believe the recommended dietary allowance should be higher for vitamin B12.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines included vitamin B12 as one of the nutrients in which supplementation may be warranted for older individuals. Because many people over the age of 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods due to a decreased production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the guidelines recommend people in this age bracket consume a B12-containing supplement for B12- fortified foods because those sources don’t require stomach acid for absorption. The RDA is 2.4 mcg/day but some nutrition experts are questioning whether that amount is enough.
Normal ranges for B12 vary slightly among different labs and can range anywhere between 200 to 900 pg/mL. The general consensus is values less than 200 pg/mL constitute a B12 deficiency.
B12 screening typically now relies mainly on serum B12 values, one potential solution is to aim for a higher serum B12 level within the normal range.
The Benefits on Vitamin B12
B12 serves important roles throughout the body. It’s required for proper RBC formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. While neurological problems and certain anemias, such as Megaloblastic and pernicious, are the same the B12 deficiency, other possible health consequences may arise due to inadequate levels. These include the follow:
- Research links B12 and brain function over the years. Declines in cognitive function can be a possible fore-runner to Alzheimer’s disease, a direct link between vitamin B12 levels and this disease’s development is lacking. Brain atrophy is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s theorized that higher B12 levels may modify risk.
- A cause-and-effect relationship between B12 and depression remains elusive, but an association between intake and incidence of depression has been shown.
- Vitamin B12 is important for aiding in osteoblasts and lowering blood levels of homocysteine, which may interfere with collagen cross-linking. Remedying B12 deficiency may be a factor in reducing osteoporosis risk.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The bottom line is that when RDs are counseling patients or clients, regarding their vitamin B12 status, advise anymore with blood level less than 350 pg/mL to take a B12 supplement or, at the least, a MVI formulated for people over the age of 50. For all others, encourage them to eat routinely B12-containing foods, including at least some B12-fortified foods.