Absorption of vitamin B12 starts in the stomach, where hydrochloric acid first separates vitamin B12 from the protein attached to it. Vitamin B12 is freed up by hydrochloric acid and then combines with an intrinsic factor which is a protein made by the stomach. The bound vitamin of vitamin B12 and the intrinsic factor is then absorbed into the body via the small intestines.
Older adults are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. With age, the stomach’s production of acid reduces significantly, translating to a limited cleavage of vitamin B12 from the ingested food. The decreased production of the intrinsic factor by the stomach as one age limits the absorption of vitamin B12.
Vitamin supplements and fortified foods help alienate vitamin B12 deficiency, especially in older adults. This is because vitamin B12 contained in supplements and fortified foods is in a free form that makes it easy for its absorption into the body. In addition, some vitamin B12 supplements and fortified foods are manufactured in forms such that they can be easily absorbed sublingually via the tissues of the mouth.
Apart from older adults, the other groups of people that are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency are individuals with pernicious anemia, gastrointestinal disorders, individuals with prior gastrointestinal surgery, vegetarians and their infants. Pernicious anemia and gastrointestinal disorders affect the gastric mucosa in the stomach, interfering with the production of the intrinsic factor, which in its inadequacy results in mal-absorption of vitamin B12. Vegetarians are predisposed to vitamin B12 deficiency because they do not feed on animal flesh and their products, which are the natural sources of vitamin B12 and are only limited to animal products.
To ensure adequate consumption of vitamin B12, an individual should of animal foods which are the natural sources of the vitamins. These animal foods include fish, meat, dairy products and all other animal products. In special cases where an individual experiences abnormities in vitamin B12 absorption, he can supplement the deficiency of vitamin B12 in his body by the use of supplements and fortified foods.
Based on what I have learned in this chapter, I do not think that a young, healthy omnivore needs any vitamin B12 supplementation. This is based on the fact that the omnivore can acquire sufficient vitamin B12 from its natural food sources which are animals and their products.
Building is fastest in the young adult phase, as it normally takes between three and four months. This makes it very necessary for Sarah’s daughter to start building her bone mass density as she is only fourteen years old, which guarantees quick transformation and results. Any measures to delay the process to later years will deem it difficult for her to build her bone density as she will be older and might be susceptible to hereditary osteoporosis.
The minerals and vitamins most important for building strong bones are Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D. These minerals and vitamins can be acquired from different food sources. Magnesium is acquired from whole grains, dark , dried beans and legumes. On the other hand, calcium is gotten from dairy products, sardines, green leafy vegetables, and foods made from fortified flour. Vitamin D is found in high quantities in Cod liver oil, salmon, Tuna fish, beef liver, sardines, and dairy and plant kinds of milk fortified with vitamin D.
EH. Damayanti D, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Beeson WL, Fraser G, Oda K, Haddad EH. Foods and supplements associated with vitamin B (12) biomarkers among vegetarian and non-vegetarian participants of the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) Calibration Study of Nutrients 2018; 10: 722. [PubMed abstract]
Green R, Allen LH, , Brito A, Gueant JL, Miller JW, et al. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Nat Rev Dis Primers 2017; 3:17040. [PubMed abstract]
Langan RC, Goodbred AJ. Vitamin B12 deficiency: Recognition and management. Am Fam Physician 2017; 96:384-9. [PubMed abstract]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 29/5/2022.
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