Something that I’m noticing in working with clients who are 50 or older is that most don’t know that they should be taking B12 by supplement. This is not a new recommendation, but it is little-known.
B12 is required for our brain’s function. If our B12 is low, we lose cognitive function. The scary thing about B12 is that even if we get our B12 back up to healthy levels, any cognitive function lost is lost forever. It never comes back. Less scary, but still important, low B12 makes us have low energy and feel tired.
The recommendation for B12 is:
- 2.4 micrograms for men & women 19 years & older
- 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women
- 2.8 micrograms for breastfeeding women
B12 is found in dairy foods, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. As such, vegans of all ages are recommended to take a B12 supplement. Either as a vitamin or nutritional yeast.
The first step in absorbing B12 from the food we eat requires our stomach acid. In a significant portion of people over 50 years old, stomach acid weakens. The result is that they can’t absorb the B12 from the food they eat. Currently there isn’t a test to find out who has this lower stomach acid and who’s stomach acid is normal. Because of the scary consequences of low B12, it’s recommended that everyone over 50 years old take a B12 supplement. B12 from supplements doesn’t require the stomach acid step for absorption.
If you take a multivitamin for 50+ you’re likely already getting B12. The B12 is one of the differences that makes vitamins specific for 50+. To be sure, check your vitamin’s label. Don’t take a multivitamin? Look for a B12 vitamin or B complex with approximately 2.4 micrograms of B12. It’s one of the easiest steps for brain health.
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