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Vitamin B12 -- Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 promotes normal nerve cell activity, the replication of DNA, red and white blood cells, blood platelets, not to mention SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methione) which affects our moods. It's also necessary for the metabolism of the protein, fat and carbohydrates we eat.

Together with folic acid and B6, vitamine B12 controls levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High blood plasma levels of homocysteine show an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Some doctors believe this is a much more significant sign of potential heart problems than is the well-known test for cholesterol. As many as half of all heart and stroke patients have elevated levels of homocysteine. (Versus 5% of the entire population.)

It's also possible that homocysteine contributes to Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, pregnancy complications and osteoporosis.

Vitamin B12 has been found to reduce levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol.

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes pernicious anemia, weakness, a sore and inflamed tongue, diarrhea, poor appetite, mental deterioration, dementia and fatigue.

Some studies have shown that B12 supplementation improves the condition of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

One small study found that even people who didn't have a deficiency had more energy after receiving an injection of B12. This is probably because not have a deficiency is not the same as having an optimum amount. Few of us have optimum levels of any vitamin, so the injection spiked their health up.

Because it's found only in animal foods such as beef, pork, liver, fish, organ meats such as liver, whole milk, cheese and eggs -- vegans are at risk of a B12 deficiency. They should take a supplement that supplies all the B vitamin family, because they act together.

If you take a B12 supplment you'll just urinate any excess that your body cannot use. However, some people have allergic reactions to Vitamin B12 injections. But that's not how most people take their vitamins.

If you're on the antibiotic tetracycline, don't take B12.

By: Richard Stooker

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