Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which is, according to the Mayo Clinic, essential for red blood cell formation, production of DNA, nerve function, and cell metabolism. The best ways to get this vitamin are through meat, injections, and supplementation.
Although it is true that the body can store B-12, the bad news is that many of us, even as healthy athletes, simply have a hard time absorbing it. So, deficiencies are more common than healthcare professionals think.
In fact, a 2004 study showed that this deficiency was one of the most common. In the USA the estimated B-12 deficiency is 15% according to NIH, and up to 40% according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
How it works
Vitamin B-12 benefits our body in many ways. The central nervous system needs it, because it will help maintain the health of our nerve cells and neurotransmitter signaling, as well as protecting nerve coverings. Once B-12 levels drop, our cognitive functions will suffer.
Other areas you may not realize that B-12 helps with are digestion and heart health.
How do I know if I am deficient?
There are symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency, but they can be difficult to pinpoint, because they mirror other problems. If you are tired or unfocused, that can be an obvious symptom. Some additional short-term issues like joint pain, memory lapses, dizziness, and muscle pain can be red flags. Over time, more major problems like anemia, major fatigue, nerve damage, mood changes, and intestinal issues will become worse if you’re lacking in this vitamin.
How can I find out if I am deficient for sure?
There is blood work you can do that will show your B-12 levels. The problem with this is that half of people who have B-12 problems will show up with normal levels in blood work. This is an example of how modern medicine can fail at diagnosing and how frustrating this deficiency can be. You should find a doctor who is willing to run more precise testing and not just go by basic blood work.
Vitamin B-12 sounds awesome! What are the benefits overall?
1. Energy: B-12 is needed to convert carbs into useable glucose in the body. If you do not have this, you will get fatigued.
2. Memory: It has been shown that B-12 lowers the chances of Alzheimer's and dementia.
3. Mood: Cranky people might benefit from B-12, because research shows it helps with depression, stress, and anxiety.
4. Heart health: One of the major risks with the heart is high homocysteine levels, which B-12 will lower. Too high levels of this amino acid will increase your chances of a stroke. B-12 also helps with bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.
5. Digestion: B-12 helps balance gut flora, which means a healthier stomach.
6. Immune system: There is research showing that B-12 can help the immune system fight things like cancer.
Ways to increase B-12
Certain foods will boost B-12, specifically grass-fed beef and wild fish. Also, quitting smoking, drinking, and not taking some drugs like anti-acid medication will help boost B-12 levels. Some people choose to inject B-12, but that can become expensive and involve time-consuming doctor visits. The best way to get consistent B-12 is via daily supplementation.
Where to buy and how to use
Vitamin B-12 can be found at any vitamin shop or health food store. However, for best results, you should stack it with other supplements. Rather than purchasing a bunch of supplements separately, a more economical solution is to buy HCGenerate ES. HCGenerate ES contains 2mg of B-12 per serving, along with more than a dozen additional ingredients to give you a boost whether in the gym or the bedroom. You can purchase a bottle of HCGenerate ES at N2BM.com.
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Yours in sport,
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