Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin
that is vital for the day-to-day metabolic processes of cells. It
affects the development and maintenance of red blood cells, nerve
cells, and normal myelination (covering) of nerve cells, and it aids in
the production of DNA and RNA, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
We can obtain vitamin B12 only from animal foods, including dairy, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and shellfish, so vegetarians and vegans are often at risk for B12 deficiency. Those on chronic acid-suppressing medications, some oral contraceptives and certain blood pressure medications like hydrochlorothiazide are at risk for depletion. In addition, older people may lose the ability to absorb B12 from food and need to take it in supplemental form to maintain adequate levels.
Physicians have given vitamin B12 injections for years, with mixed results. These injections are only necessary if you fall into one of the above categories, but older people especially might benefit from a Vitamin B12 injection monthly. It is inexpensive and safe.
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