Vitamin B12 Recommendations

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin important for red blood cell production, brain health and DNA synthesis.

A deficiency in this key vitamin can cause serious symptoms, including fatigue, nerve damage, digestive issues and neurological problems like depression and memory loss.

Vitamin B12 is available only in animal foods like meat, fish, eggs, and milk or brewer’s yeast.

Aging affects how well you take in and use B12 from foods, so people over 50 should get most of their vitamin B12 from fortified foods or dietary supplements because, in most cases, their bodies can absorb vitamin B12 from these sources.

B12 deficiencies are also more prevalent in vegans or vegetarians than in meat-eating people due to B12 being in animal products.

B12 Supplement Recommendations

At least 2,000 mcg (µg) methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin once each week, ideally as a chewable, sublingual, or liquid supplement taken on an empty stomach

or  at least 50 mcg daily of supplemental cyanocobalamin (you needn’t worry about taking too much)

or  3 servings of B12-fortified foods a day (at each meal), each containing at least 190% of the Daily Value listed on the nutrition facts label (based on the new labeling mandated to start January 1, 2020—the target is 4.5 mcg three times a day).

Those over 65 years of age should take at least 1,000 mcg (µg) cyanocobalamin every day.

 

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Aspirin or Pycnogenol for Heart Health?

I recently received a question asking, “is it better to take a baby aspirin or pycnogenol, a natural bark extract, to prevent blood clots (platelet aggregation) and improve heart health?”

My Answer:

Take aspirin if your doctor concurs. “The degree of measured anti-inflammatory potential of pycnogenol on COX enzymes (targets of Aspirin) are still lower than Aspirin itself.” (COX enzymes makes prostaglandins, creating inflammation. Aspirin prevents the prostaglandins from ever being synthesized).

What Aspirin Does

Aspirin interferes with your blood’s clotting action. When you bleed, your blood’s clotting cells, called platelets, build up at the site of your wound. Aspirin therapy reduces the clumping action of platelets in the vessels that supply blood to the heart and possibly prevents a heart attack. Aspirin “thins” the blood and helps prevent blood clots from forming. So it helps prevent heart attack and stroke. Aspirin also helps reduce inflammation. It has been suggested that inflammation may play a major role in cardiovascular disease.

For individuals who have already had a heart attack or stroke, or have other evidence of coronary artery disease, such as angina or a history of a coronary bypass operation or coronary angioplasty, the FDA states that there is more benefit than risk of taking aspirin. They feel that the available evidence does not supports the use of aspirin for preventing a heart attack or strok and that there are risks of bleed in the brain and stomach. 

https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm390574.htm

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm390539.htm

To see the guidelines about taking aspirin, go to this Mayo Clinic article: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/daily-aspirin-therapy/ART-20046797

You should not start aspirin therapy without discussing it with your doctor. The benefits and risks of aspirin therapy vary for each person.

Sources:

https://examine.com/supplements/pycnogenol/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1019-PYCNOGENOL.aspx?activeIngredientId=1019&activeIngredientName=PYCNOGENOL&source=0

http://www.docsopinion.com/2013/05/03/inflammation-and-heart-disease/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317089/

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