by Mike Adams
June 21, 2011
One of the pitfalls of pursuing a healthy diet is that we are
sometimes blind to nutrients we may be missing.
And in the world of healthy eating, one
of the most common nutrient deficiencies involves vitamin B-12, a
crucial nutrient for nerve health and the construction of red blood
cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is especially common among vegetarians and
vegans, but it's also surprisingly common in meat eaters, too.
Why? Because vitamin B-12 can only be
absorbed in the small intestine, and due to common intestinal
ailments, even many meat eaters who consume high levels of B-12 are
unable to absorb it in their gut.
This leads to a series of seemingly "mystery" health symptoms that
actually have a simple common cause: Vitamin B-12 deficiency!
B-12 deficiency is shockingly widespread. Studies now show that up
to 40% of the population may be
deficient in vitamin B-12.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of deficiency (do you
experience any of these?):
Chest pain or shortness of
Fatigue or unexplained weakness
Dizziness, trouble with balance,
Confusion, memory loss or
Coldness, numbness or tingling
in the hands and feet
Slow reflexes or diminished
nervous system function
Pale skin or yellowing of the
Sore mouth and tongue
In addition, vitamin B-12 deficiency can
actually cause brain shrinkage, according to a University of Oxford
study. Although more
work needs to be done, research is already suggesting a link between
vitamin B-12 deficiency and Alzheimer's.
If you (or someone you know) shows any of the symptoms listed above,
I urge you to immediately investigate vitamin B-12 and determine if
a deficiency in this nutrient may be causing your symptoms!
Again, vitamin B-12 deficiency is especially common in vegans and
vegetarians because typical vitamin B-12 sources (meats, yogurt,
etc.) are simply not present in their diets. But even meat eaters
can be deficient in B-12 due to poor digestion. This is especially
true for older people who suffer a diminished ability to absorb
nutrients in their small intestine.
In addition, diabetes medications and even pain pills can interfere
with B-12 absorption, and intestinal parasites can also strongly
block its absorption in the gut.
Traditionally, people who are deficient in vitamin B-12 have
received injections of B-12.
This is extremely effective because it
bypasses the digestive tract and goes right into the bloodstream.
But it has one obvious downside: It requires being injected! So most
people aren't interested in this method.
Instead, most people supplement their vitamin B-12 using nutritional
supplements. But here's where this can go wrong: The most commonly
available form of vitamin B-12 on the market is the cheap synthetic
form that's actually bound to a cyanide molecule (yes, cyanide, the
cyanocobalamin, and you'll find it in all the
cheap vitamins made by pharmaceutical companies and sold at grocery
stores and big box stores.
Action item: If you have any vitamin B-12 supplements, check the
ingredients label right now to see what form of vitamin B-12 they
contain. If they contain cyanocobalamin, throw them out!
Cyanocobalamin is a cheap, synthetic chemical made in a laboratory.
It's virtually impossible for you to find this form in nature.
Low-end vitamin manufacturers use it because it can be bought in
bulk and added to products with claims that they "contain vitamin
B-12!" What they don't tell you is that the vitamin is bound to a
toxic, poisonous cyanide molecule that must then be removed from
your body by your liver.
Cyanocobalamin is also up to 100 times
cheaper than the higher quality
methylcobalamin which we'll talk
"A common synthetic form of the
vitamin, cyanocobalamin, does not occur in nature, but is used
in many pharmaceuticals and supplements, and as a food additive,
because of its lower cost. In the body it is converted to the
physiological forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin,
leaving behind the cyanide..."
Removing the cyanide molecule from the
vitamin and then flushing it out of your body requires using up
so-called "methyl groups" of molecules in your body that are needed
to fight things like homocysteine (high levels cause heart disease).
By taking low-quality cyanobalamin, you're actually stealing methyl
groups from your body and making it do more work at the biochemical
level. This uses up substances such as glutathione that are often in
short supply anyway, potentially worsening your overall health
situation rather than helping it. This is one of the reasons why
low-grade vitamins may actually be worse for your body than taking
nothing at all!
Cyanocobalamin, in summary, is a low-grade, low-quality and slightly
toxic (cyanide) form of vitamin B-12 that's used by all the cheap
vitamin manufacturers. I recommend avoiding it completely.
kill you to take it, of course, but there's a better solution for
choice - Methylcobalamin
The proper form of vitamin B-12 to supplement is called
methylcobalamin. This is the form that exists in nature, and it is
pre-methylated, meaning it's ready for your biochemistry to put to
Methylcobalamin has several key
advantages over cyanocobalamin:
Better retention in tissues
Contains no toxic cyanide
Supports production of SAMe
explained by Ed Sharpe:
"The coenzyme form of vitamin B12 is
known as methylcobalamin or methyl B12. It's the only form of
vitamin B12 which can directly participate in homocysteine
metabolism. In addition, converting homocysteine to methionine
via methyl B12 generates an increased supply of SAMe (S-adenosyl
methionine), the body's most important methyl donor."
Every informed nutritionist knows that
methylcobalamin is far superior to cyanocobalamin. That's why
companies like Ola Loa use only the
high-end "methyl" form of B-12.
Why 99% of
vitamin B-12 supplements are wasted
Taking vitamin B-12 as an oral dose is largely a waste of money. As
much as 99% of what you swallow
is not even absorbed... it's just
passed through your body.
There are really only three methods for absorbing vitamin B-12 that
B-12 injections obviously require
injections from a trained medical professional, so few people pursue
this route. Sublingual absorption is a viable route, but nearly all
the sublingual B-12 products use the cyanocobalamin form of the
vitamin (with the cyanide molecule).
A vitamin B-12 skin patch
is now available that delivers methylcobalamin through the skin, using a small medical-grade patch
placed behind the ear. Each patch delivers 1000 mcg of
methylcobalamin (1,666% DV) in a steady release over a 1-2 day
period, after which the patch may be removed and discarded.
In addition to methylcobalamin, each path also delivers 400mcg of
Folic Acid (another form of a B vitamin), which is widely known to
work synergistically with methylcobalamin to help support healthy
heart function and nervous system function.*
* These products are not
intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease.
say about this B-12 patch
For me a much better alternative to effective
"B12 is running low in my family
tree. A couple of relatives have been regular at getting B12
I never felt like I needed the shots, because I thought I
could get by with red meat, liver and sublingual pills. I
decided to try the patches just to see... I did not expect them
to be more effective than sublingual pills.
I must say I was wrong. From the first patch I noticed the
boost, which is at first more subtle than the more noticeable
boost of the sublingual pills giving you more B12 in a shorter
time span. But it picks up over time and feels way more
By way of example, I used the big plate in my road
bike and did not pant at the top of three bad climbs hours after
getting the patch. To get this kind of effect with sublingual
pills after getting low of B12 would take over ten days for me
and quite a bit of dedication remembering to keep supplementing.
It can get rather tedious waiting for the pills to dissolve
under the tongue.
The second day I used two patches right behind the ear, but they
both fell off, presumably from the sweat biking. Yet the day
before the one patch I tried less close to the ear stayed put
biking and after two showers, and I had no dropped patches
since. If you exercise, watch out for areas where sweat would
I think there is no comparison between this
brand and the other one advertised. For four bucks more, you get
half the patches and the wrong type of B12 - cyanocobalamin instead of
Read about it because cyanocobalamin has to be
turned into methylcobalamin by the liver. You can spare that.
doctor put me on cyanocobalamin initially and I turned to
methylcobalamin with much greater results. Also, this brand I
review has the daily allowance of folic acid as an added bonus
(read up on the benefits of taking folic acid with B12), rather
I've had no side effects and no skin reactions with this
product. I am so satisfied I have ordered a B-complex as a patch
from a different company. It is advised to have a B-complex if
you supplement in big doses with any vitamin of the B family."
Whatever form of vitamin B-12 you use,
remember this: avoid cyanocobalamin! (Unless you enjoy eating
cyanide, that is...)