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1. Your body will harmlessly excretewhatever Vitamin B12 it doesn’t use from supplements. And you pay about as much for a high dose as for a low dose. So the exact dosage isn’t so important.
2. Our bodies can store Vitamin B12, for various lengths of time, depending on age, physical condition and other factors. But it’s best not to rely on that. At times of high stress, illness, pregnancy etc, the body’s stores of B12 can be used up very quickly.
3. I’m not sure why almost all of the Vitamin B12 supplements have huge doses. It could be that it’s difficult to package tiny doses which aren’t enough to fit on the head of a pin, but I doubt that.
4. It’s possible that massive doses of Vitamin B12 are meant as insurance that you’ll absorb what you need, but I’m sceptical about that too.
5. The RDA’s for all vitamins and minerals are set high for safety’s sake. 10 mcg of B12 is about 4 times what your body actually needs to use on average, per day.
6. Critical factors in B12 absorption are the presence of an enzyme called intrinsic factor in the intestines, and villi, tiny hairs in the intestinal walls. Even if you take in large amounts of B12 in your food, or supplements, if you can’t absorb it well, you may still become deficient. That’s more common in people over 50, but it’s a good idea for everybody, not just vegetarians or vegans, to get B12 levels tested with every physical checkup.
7. One of the best ways to get B12 is in animal products where it comes with the food (grows on it, actually). Other good sources for vegans, are B12 enriched foods such as non-dairy milk and yogurt, and nutritional yeast. Read labels before you buy to make sure that Vitamin B12 is included in enriched foods.
8. If you feel you need to take a separate B12 supplement, or your health professional recommends it, the best form is sublinglual tabs or spray of Methylcobalamin B12 (better absorbed than Cobalamin, which the body must first convert to Methylcobalamin).
9. Take a B12 supplement at least several times a week in addition to the other sources in your diet, preferably with food.
10. It’s better to be safe than sorry, because a Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in permanent brain damage, hearing loss, nerve damage and so on. Experts on vegan nutrition, such as Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis recommend regular B12 supplements for vegetarians and vegans.