You may have found yourself feeling worn-out, tense or irritable. Sometimes, you may find that you are all out of energy in the middle of the afternoon. You could have decided that you should skip your regular gym workouts because you feel that you just don’t have the strength for it. You may have started buying and drinking more and more energy drinks or espresso to re-energize.
The fact of the matter is that:
You are NOT alone.
Your fatigue and loss of energy may be due to a deficiency in an essential nutrient called Vitamin B12. In this article, we’ll go over how Vitamin B12 benefits your energy levels and helps keep you energetic.
What is Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is essential for the overall healthy functioning of the body.
It is one of the eight B-vitamins that helps convert complex carbohydrates from your food into glucose, which supplies your body with the energy it needs for the day. Besides its important role in energy production, Vitamin B12 benefits many other essential components of your overall health, including:
- Regulating your mood
- Supporting your mental sharpness and alertness
- Helping prevent memory loss
- Improving your ability to concentrate
- Helping Vitamin B9 with the production of red blood cells
Going back to energy levels:
Many healthcare professionals will often receive patient complaints about feeling tired and fatigued. After running some tests and examinations, these patients might discover that their feelings of fatigue and loss of energy may be due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Believe it or not, Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common.
Since most dietary B12 is obtained primarily from animal products such as eggs, milk, and red meat, vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk of being deficient in this essential nutrient.
According to a systematic review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition journal in 2014, with few exceptions, many studies have documented high Vitamin B12 deficiency prevalence among vegetarians. Vegans who don’t use Vitamin B12 supplements especially are at higher risk of deficiency.
Additionally, the elderly and people with various health conditions that limit their ability to absorb Vitamin B12 are at risk for B12 deficiency.
So, what does that mean?
The phenomenon is called food-cobalamin malabsorption (FCM), in which the stomach lining has a reduced ability to make intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a type of protein that binds to Vitamin B12 and allows it to be absorbed by the body.
As you age, the tissues in your digestive system start to break down. The stomach lining has a reduced ability to produce hydrochloric acid, which plays an important role in extracting Vitamin B12 from the food you eat. In addition, H. pylori bacteria may lead to the formation of stomach ulcers, which could lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency. Clearly, Vitamin B12 deficiency is a widespread major problem for these groups of people.
What is the Best Form of Vitamin B12?
Did you know that Vitamin B12 comes in FOUR different forms?
Vitamin B12 has three natural forms that are commercially available, as well as one synthetic, man-made form that is used in some supplements and fortifying foods.
The three natural forms of Vitamin B12 are:
- Hydroxocobalamin, abbreviated as OHCbl
- Adenosylcobalamin, abbreviated as AdoCbl
- Methylcobalamin, abbreviated as MeCbl
There is also a fourth, synthetic form known as cyanocobalamin.
OHCbl, AdoCbl, and MeCbl are bioidentical to the Vitamin B12 forms that are naturally occurring in our human physiology, and in animal foods.
CNCbl occurs only in trace amounts in human tissues because of cyanide (rapidly acting, potentially dangerous chemical) intake from smoking and other sources.
Cyanide is a rapidly acting and potentially dangerous chemical that, in large doses, may prevent cells from using oxygen, eventually leading to their death. One recent study focused on the bio availability and utilization of certain forms of Vitamin B12 supplements with the potential to decrease B12-related genetic polymorphisms. A primary objective of this study was to determine whether supplementation with a certain form of Vitamin B12, or a combination of different Vitamin B12 forms, provided any benefits for the general population, or for individuals with single nucleotide polymorphisms.
For those who don’t know:
Polymorphisms are the occurrence of two or more clearly different forms of DNA sequences among individuals, groups, or populations.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms, also known as SNPs, are the most common kind of genetic variation among people. Each SNP represents a difference in a nucleotide, which is a basic structural unit of nucleic acids such as DNA, in B12-related pathways.
Back to the study:
This study was conducted based on a meta-analysis of research articles that were published up to June 2016 that examined Vitamin B12 and its different forms, its metabolism and absorption in the body, and metabolism-related disorders. Human, animal, and test-tube studies were included in this meta-analysis. Many clinical studies included in the meta-analysis showed that both methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin, which are the two most common forms of Vitamin B12 used in supplements, improve Vitamin B12 status.
One animal study included in this meta-analysis found that supplementation with methylcobalamin B12 had 13% greater retention in the liver than did supplementation with cyanocobalamin B12. The urinary excretion of cyanocobalamin was three times greater than that of methylcobalamin. The researchers of three human studies concluded that cyanocobalamin has lower bioavailability than the other forms due to its lower efficiency in cellular uptake and metabolic activation.
But why is that?
The lower efficiency in metabolic activation comes from cyanocobalamin needing to be broken down into cyanide and cobalamin to be converted into the more bioactive forms of Vitamin B12 in the human body. This metabolic reaction may not be efficient in those individuals who have single nucleotide polymorphisms on Vitamin B12 metabolic pathways because of the synthetic, man-made nature of cyanocobalamin.
Other researchers were concerned that long-term supplementation of cyanocobalamin from supplements and/or fortified foods may result in the accumulation of cyanide in human tissues. Overall, this makes cyanocobalamin an inferior form of Vitamin B12 to be used in supplements or B12 injections.
So, what does science have to say about the other forms of Vitamin B12?
One cellular study showed that, when Vitamin B12 is supplemented as adenosylcobalamin, lysosomal reduction to cobalamin, which is the active form of Vitamin B12 in the body, was 67 times slower than the reduction of methylcobalamin to cobalamin.
Lysosomes are involved in digestion and waste removal.
You may be wondering:
Why is that important?
This means that adenosylcobalamin supplementation may result in slower biosynthesis of intracellular adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin, compared to methylcobalamin supplementation. The researchers who conducted the meta-analysis concluded that there is no reason to use other forms of Vitamin B12 in supplements other than methylcobalamin.
That’s because methylcobalamin is currently the most cost-effective, naturally occurring form of B12, and the majority of individuals are likely able to properly metabolize it.
How Does Vitamin B12 Benefit Energy Levels?
Now we’ve come to the big question:
What role does Vitamin B12 play in energy levels and production?
It’s complicated because there are many ways in which Vitamin B12 benefits your energy levels. Vitamin B12 is a cofactor for the enzymatic reaction that leads to the production of succinyl-coenzyme A, or succinyl-CoA, which may enter the Krebs cycle or the respiratory chain.
The Krebs cycle and respiratory chain are the last two stages of cellular respiration, or aerobic respiration, which is the process of breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and/or proteins into a form that the cells can use for energy.
So, what happens in these two stages?
In the Krebs cycle, acetyl-coenzyme A, or acetyl-CoA, which was produced in the previous stage called pyruvate oxidation, goes through a series of redox reactions and produces a small amount of ATP molecules, or energy, as well as NADH and FADH2. These two molecules then go through the respiratory chain, or electron transport chain. This is the stage in which NADH and FADH2 deposit their electrons into the chain and, after a series of reactions, produces most of the ATP molecules in the entire process.
These ATP molecules supply the cells with energy that they need to function.
But that’s not all!
In its role as a cofactor for the formation of succinyl-CoA, Vitamin B12 is essential in the formation of hemoglobin of red blood cells.
Hemoglobin helps transport oxygen to other cells and tissues in the body. Oxygen is a crucial part of the cellular respiration process of converting glucose into ATP.
Red blood cells remove the carbon dioxide produced by aerobic respiration and carry it to the lungs to help you breathe.
To that point:
Studies have shown that Vitamin B12 deficiency reduces endurance work performance. Physically active individuals have expressed interest in Vitamin B12 due to its role in the production of red blood cells, which further highlights the importance of the nutrient in its effect on energy levels.
Liposomal Vitamin B12 Technology
If you’re looking for ways to keep your Vitamin B12 levels within a healthy range, then you should consider a Vitamin B12 Supplement. More specifically, you may want to consider Liposomal Vitamin B12.
But what is liposomal technology anyway?
Liposomal Technology uses micro sized fluid filled liposomes to protect and deliver nutrients directly into the cells and tissues of the body. These liposomes are very similar to human cells, which makes it easier for them to be transported within the body. As a result, nutrient absorption is greatly increased, and there is less intestinal discomfort than with using standard oral supplements.
Liposomal Technology provides several different advantages, including:
- Micro-sized encapsulation that protects against the harsh acidity of the gastrointestinal tract
- Increased delivery to cells, tissues, and organs
- Higher absorption rates and bioavailability than other standard oral supplements
- Noninvasive compared to intravenous supplementation
- Lower doses provide the same effects as high-dose standard oral supplements
- Helps put nutrients to use by the body faster
- Prevents gastrointestinal distress usually experienced with standard oral supplements
One study published in the Global Drugs and Therapeutics journal in 2018 investigated how Liposomal Vitamin B12 supplements affect B12 levels in the bloodstream, and whether the effect could be reproduced regardless of medication, basic biometric differences, and lifestyle choices.
A case series study was organized with 53 people above the age of 50 years old, non-vegetarian, and had baseline Vitamin B12 levels of less than 225 pg/mL. For reference, normal Vitamin B12 values range between 160 pg/mL and 900 pg/mL. Values that are lower than 160 pg/mL may be a possible sign of Vitamin B12 deficiency. So the people involved in the study had relatively low blood levels of Vitamin B12.
The participants received Liposomal Vitamin B12 Supplements three times a day, equal to a daily dose of 1,000 mcg of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 levels were measured before supplementation, one week after the start of supplementation, as well as one month and two months after the start of supplementation. This study lasted over a period of 7 months.
After one week of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 54.68% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 93.6 pg/mL. The median level was measured at 281 pg/mL. After one month of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 105.51% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 191 mcg/mL. The median level was measured at 362 pg/mL.
After the end of the second month of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 270% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 314 mcg/mL. The median level was measured at 480 pg/mL. The researchers concluded that Liposomal Vitamin B12 Supplements successfully increased blood levels of Vitamin B12 regardless of lifestyle, demographic, and biometric factors. Liposomal Vitamin B12 is highly effective in treating B12 deficiency in a very short period, in a noninvasive manner.
Why You Should Consider a Vitamin B12 Supplement?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that serves several crucial roles in the body, with two of the most important being its roles in energy production and metabolism, and the production of red blood cells. You should take the necessary steps to keep your levels of Vitamin B12 within a healthy, normal range to keep yourself energized and alert.