Vitamin B12 is an incredibly important vitamin for your body. In this blog post, we will be covering a variety of topics related to vitamin B12 including the following:
- Learn how Vitamin B12 is absorbed by the body
- See the medical conditions that interfere with
- Vitamin B12 absorption
- Be aware of the effects of Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Know how to determine your Vitamin B12 blood levels
- Find out how to prevent Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Vitamin B12 in FORVIA® Tablets and Chewables
If you are looking for a multivitamin supplement that can help those with gastrointestinal conditions that may be experiencing malabsorption, be sure to research Forvia. If you are ready to purchase, be sure to visit our website today.
How is Vitamin B12 Absorbed by the Body?
The body’s daily need for Vitamin B12 is small, about 2 micrograms, but even so there can be problems with absorbing enough. To understand individual requirements for Vitamin B12, it’s helpful to know how Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the digestive system. Vitamin B12 from food is absorbed in a two-step process:
- First, B12 binds to intrinsic factor, a protein secreted by cells in the stomach. B12 bound to intrinsic factor passes through the small intestine with other partially digested food until it reaches the last part of the small intestine, the terminal ileum.
- Second, intrinsic factor is attracted to a special receptor in the cells lining the terminal ileum, the Intrinsic Factor Cell-wall Receptor (IFCR). The IFCR binds the intrinsic factor, freeing bound B12 and allowing its absorption through the cells into the bloodstream.
This process of absorption of B12 is efficient, but works only if there are both a functioning terminal ileum and the B12 is bound to intrinsic factor. Some medical conditions prevent absorption by this two-step process because either intrinsic factor is missing or the terminal ileum is damaged or missing due to disease or surgical removal. Certain conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases can create these conditions.
Besides the normal two-step process described above, a small proportion of B12 in tablet or capsule form can be absorbed throughout the small intestine. This happens by diffusion, or the process by which a high concentration of material on one side of a membrane, such as the membranes of cells lining the intestine, passes through the membrane to an area of lower concentration. The rate and amount of material that can diffuse varies with the characteristics of the particular material. For vitamin B12, about 1-2 percent of an oral dose can be absorbed this way.
What Conditions Interfere with Vitamin B12 Absorption?
As discussed above, Vitamin B12 must be bound to intrinsic factor for normal absorption. Because intrinsic factor is produced in the stomach, conditions affecting stomach function can interfere with the availability of intrinsic factor. Some of these include the following:
- Gastric bypass, as in weight loss surgery
- Stomach ulcer
- Low stomach acidity
- Gastrectomy (surgical removal of all or part of the stomach)
Vitamin B12 bound to intrinsic factor is absorbed only in the last part of the small intestine, the terminal ileum. Conditions that affect the ileum can block or reduce the absorption of vitamin B12. Some of these include the following:
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease or celiac sprue
- Surgical removal of portions of the ileum
A vegetarian or vegan diet does not interfere with absorption but does reduce intake of B12. Plants do not contain Vitamin B12, which is present only in animal products, so strict vegetarians and vegans are at risk of B12 deficiency. People on these diets should take a daily vitamin supplement containing Vitamin B12 or eat foods fortified with B12, such as cereals.
What are the Effects of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be serious and irreversible. Prolonged B12 deficiencies are associated with neuropathy of the spinal cord and brain. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include numbness in feet and legs, difficulty walking and psychiatric or cognitive problems. Psychiatric problems include irritability, apathy, somnolence, excessive fatigue, suspiciousness or paranoia, emotional instability, confusional states, and psychosis.
How Can I Determine what my Blood Levels of B12 Are?
Your doctor can order tests for determining levels of B12. A common test is plasma B12. Another test that is a sensitive indicator of B12 status is serum methylmalonic acid. If you have a condition that can reduce your absorption of B12, you may wish to discuss periodic testing with your doctor.
How can you Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
There are three strategies for maintaining B12 blood levels when medical or surgical conditions prevent sufficient absorption from your diet. All of them involve administering cyanocobalamin, the form of B12 generally used to enrich foods and vitamin supplements. Some people may also consider Intramuscular injections, which are generally administered monthly. Another option is to do an intranasal spray, which is a prescription product administered weekly. One of the easiest, most popular choices for getting vitamin B12 in your system is by taking oral, chewable, or sublingual tablets daily.
If there is adequate intrinsic factor and absorptive capacity of the ileum, Vitamin B12 in a tablet or chewable tablet can be absorbed like food. Oral Vitamin B12 is also absorbed throughout the small intestine by passive diffusion. About 1% of oral Vitamin B12 is absorbed through the passive diffusion route, so it takes a dose of 800 to 1000 micrograms of Vitamin B12 to meet the needs of people with conditions that prevent normal absorption. General purpose vitamin supplement products generally contain only 2 to 12 micrograms of B12.
Vitamin B12 in FORVIA Tablets and Chewables
The recommended daily dose of two FORVIA Tablets or Chewables provides 1000 micrograms of Vitamin B12. This provides enough Vitamin B12 for most people that don’t absorb B12 from food to absorb enough to maintain normal levels of Vitamin B12 without the need for monthly injections or prescription intranasal sprays. In addition, daily FORVIA supplies the other vitamins and minerals most often deficient when malabsorption conditions are present, such as those with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or have had weight-loss surgery.
For more information on FORVIA multivitamin/mineral Tablets and Chewables visit our website today.
© 2019. FORVIA is a registered trademark of Inovera Bioscience, Inc.