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Q. Dear Terry, “I was told that my B12 levels are low. I’m not really having any symptoms that I know of, but I’d still like to correct the issue. I know some people get B12 injections. Is that necessary? Or can I get B12 from other sources?” — Al P., Lawton, OK

A. Dear Al, Vitamin B12 has many roles and is necessary for many body processes: creating neurotransmitters (our brain’s chemical messengers), supporting mood, boosting our immune system, protecting our nervous system, increasing energy levels, and is important for the health of our hair, skin, and nails.

While B12 injections are an option, you can also supplement your B6, B12, and folate levels. When it comes to B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, using the bioactive or human form is very important.

There are two main forms of vitamin B12 that you will find on the shelf: cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin tends to be cheaper because it is synthetic. This form also needs to go through additional steps in the body to become the active form – methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the form that we use in our bodies and is crucial for optimal health.

The conversion of cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin is very ineffective and it is estimated that anywhere from 30-50% of the population struggles with the conversion of cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin.

Therefore, I highly recommend supplementing with vitamin B12 in its bioactive, human form of methylcobalamin. Vitamin B12 is often combined with B6 and folic acid – their human forms being pyridoxal-5-phosphate and L-methylfolate, respectively. These forms don’t require conversion by the liver, so they can go to work immediately to increase energy levels, boost mood, and optimize metabolism. I would take these B vitamins once or twice per day.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

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