Monday, January 30, 2012

Supplement of the Week: Vitamin B12

I wanted to start a series on supplements because I always get all kinds of questions from my closest friends regarding nutrition and vitamins. I constantly hear questions like, "Which supplement would be good for my skin?" "What can I take for hair growth?" "My energy is low...what can I take to boost my energy levels?" I am  no nutrition expert but I am a 4th year pharmacy student graduating in May, so I have had the opportunity to learn about the different kinds of supplements and I want to share that information with all of you.

The first supplement that I wanted to start with is Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin also known as Cobalamin.

Claim: Vitamin B12 plays a role in brain function, formation of the blood and DNA synthesis. It is also used to treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia which is a decrease in red blood cells. 

Recommended intake: Intake recommendations for B12 and other nutrients are established by daily reference intakes (DRIs). Here is a table that shows the DRI's for Vitamin B12 in micrograms.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin B12 
0–6 months*0.4 mcg0.4 mcg
7–12 months*0.5 mcg0.5 mcg
1–3 years0.9 mcg0.9 mcg
4–8 years1.2 mcg1.2 mcg
9–13 years1.8 mcg1.8 mcg
14+ years2.4 mcg2.4 mcg2.6 mcg2.8 mcg

* Adequate Intake
Do you think you are getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet? Here are some food sources of Vitamin B12 that you can incorporate into the foods that you eat.

Breakfast cereals
Vitamin B12 is also available in over-the-counter tablets as well as prescription strength tablets and injections. Follow the RDAs to know how much you may need. You won't really know if you are deficient in Vitamin B12 unless you go and see your doctor to get a blood test. Your doctor can recommend which strength of Vitamin B12 to take if it is indicated for you. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin so the potential for overdose is very low due to the fact that any excess Vitamin B12 that your body doesn't need will be urinated out of your system. Before starting any supplement or vitamin check with your doctor first! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a new supplement every week! If you have any suggestions for a supplement you would like to see featured please comment below!  XOXO

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