VITAMINS B12 AND D3: WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
Vitamin D3 and B12 are needed for the proper function of many metabolic processes. Illnesses associated with a deficit are diverse and should be known so that treatment could be sought.
WHY DO WE NEED VITAMIN B12?
It is extremely important for fast-dividing cells and especially for erythrocytes due to its involvement in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Without it, over 100 enzymes, proteins, hormones and lipids cannot be produced.
If you have a B12 deficiency, you’ll develop anemia. Neurological symptoms could appear as well. It sounds scary, but the treatment is easy and affordable. During pregnancy and lactation, a vitamin B12 supplement must be taken together with Folic Acid to prevent maternal anemia.
VITAMIN B12 — WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE DEFICIENT?
Only fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K) are stored in the liver. There is one exception — vitamin B12, which is water soluble. Its reserves are sufficient for 2-4 years.
Low levels of vitamin B12 are usually due to dietary mistakes. It happens often to vegans and vegetarians who do not supplement it.
To be absorbed, B12 has to be bind with a protein called the «intrinsic factor». It is produced in the stomach. Problems arise when there is an autoimmune process against the intrinsic factor or other gastric disease — usually chronic gastritis.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF VITAMIN D3?
Vitamin D3 synthesis requires ultraviolet light and cholesterol. Unlike vitamin B12, it can hardly be obtained from food alone. No need to go to the tanning bed — only 13 minutes in the sun 3 times a week are enough. The best time to do so is at noon when UVB rays are the strongest.
It is both a vitamin and a steroid hormone. Its main function is to stimulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the small intestine. It regulates the immune system and suppresses inflammation as well. There’s a correlation between vitamin D3 blood levels and the chance of getting pregnant. It is important for the development of the fetus and the newborn, so it should be taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers.
VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY
Vitamin D3 deficiency is common. Since it cannot be absorbed in the intestine, calcium is extracted from the bones. This affects their structure and strength. Children develop rachitis, and adults — osteomalacia.
Other signs of vitamin D 3 deficiency include frequent infections, fatigue, depression, muscle pain.
Do not forget that excess intake of vitamins is heavy both the body and the budget. Luckily, now you can get tested to see if you really need them.