Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vitamin B12 & Motivational Kitten

VITAMIN B12: Wins the award for the most structurally complicated vitamin!!

Vitamin B12 is a really awesome vitamin in my book and essential to say the least.

What do you need it for?

1. Major player in the formation of your blood

2. Key role in brain and nervous system function

3. Necessary for proper DNA synthesis, fatty acid synthesis and energy production

Additional health benefits:

1. Combats asthma in children

2. Increased intake has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's in the elderly

3. Plays a role in the production of melatonin = better sleep

4. Tests are still being conducted, but in preliminary results an increase in B12 has shown potential for reducing the replication of HIV in positive patients

5. Increases sperm production in men (you know, if you're into that guys!)

6. Can diminish the annoying ringing associated with all of us rock show goers should be sure to take a post show B12 supplement along with our beer

I mean really, increased sperm, decreased post rock show ear ringing...that's pretty tough to beat in my book!

B12 Deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians and Antacid poppers pay attention!! B12 is acquired through animal related foods, mainly meat. Eggs are a source of B12, but not the greatest. Meat eaters who pop a lot of antacids such as Tums and Rolaids may be on their way to a B12 deficiency as well. B12 is absorbed by your stomach but ONLY if the environment is acidic. If the Ph balance in your tummy has been messed with, your body will not be able to absorb the vitamin. So, take it easy with the Rolaids and non meat eaters, go out and buy supplements pronto!

For the record, I was vegan for almost 7 years. The last few years I really focused on eating healthy whole foods but was still feeling tired all of the time. I wasn't aware of the B12 issue, but that could be a big reason why I felt so much better when I added fish and eggs back into my diet. Pretty interesting.

B12 Deficiency Issues:

1. Pernicious Anemia and Megaloblastic Anemia
Do I even need to tell you what these are? They sound terrifying enough without explanation.

2. Low White Blood cell and platelet counts
I'm sure you can deduce on your own that this would lead to getting sick more frequently.

3. In serious prolonged cases-irreversible nervous system damage and really, nobody wants that.


In general, the symptoms are pretty vague and many cases are asymptomatic but here are some:

1. Lack of energy

2. Irritability

3. Decreased mental function, memory & concentration issues

4. Depression

5. Tingling sensation in the extremities

I'm sure that sounds familiar to lots of us out there. So, get your 1.5 mg a day by eating:

Vegans & Lactose Challenged Vegetarians:

1. B12 Supplements

2. Foods enriched with B12 such as nutritional yeast, soy milk, cereal and energy bars

Meat eaters, Pescatarians & Vegetarians who are Lactose Friendly:

1. Shellfish

2. Trout

3. Shrimp

4. Dark meat of Turkey

5. Chicken Breast

6. Tuna

7. Yogurt

8. Milk
I'm not a fan of milk drinking but if you must

9. Eggs
*not the greatest source because there is something else in eggs that makes it tough for your body to absorb the B12

10. Liver
Yeah, who eats liver? I don't know, but it has TONS of B12

11. Pork & Beef


Hmmmm....well, Jenni M. & I have been a little lonely at boot camp. I do know some of you are traveling and without warp zones it's impossible for you to be there of course. I was wondering what I could say to get everyone who so enthusiastically expressed interest there and working out with us. I guess it's like quitting smoking. You're not going to quit unless you're really ready and I think the same rule applies to starting a workout program. You have to really want to make a change. With that in mind, all I can say is I know how amazing it feels to see results, to reach goals and to put your mind and body into something you can be proud of and it feels pretty fucking amazing. Being fit and caring for your body isn't the be all end all of life's happiness but it sure does add to your quality of life big time. Every single day ends with me knowing that I've accomplished something no matter how crappy the rest of the day went. I've gotten faster, stronger & fitter. I'm guaranteeing that I'll be a functioning, active, independent person for a very long time. I know if I could insert into everyone's brain the way it feels to finish a triathlon, or to do your first pull up, or to run a faster mile in your 30s than you could in your teens, or to fit into a pair of jeans you'd given up on, then you would all be there in a heartbeat. Either way, I'll be there and I'm pretty sure Jenni will be there and hopefully we'll see you all there at some point as well! And if I don't, I am totally making you do push ups at the next bar/show/opening/bbq/bday party I see you at!

Here is your motivational kitten photo of the day. I thought about posting a video of the first woman with an amputated leg to finish an ironman (makes me weep every goddamn time) but I'm sure this is as effective. Everyone loves kittens and not everyone loves emotional moments in athletic events backed by terrible music. We'll save that one for later on.


  1. how do you feel about it being an additive in beverages? there's %20 of daily b12 in several kombucha drinks...

  2. Tara-

    Unless the kombucha has been specifically fortified with B12 then the 20% RDA is extremely misleading. The B12 occurring naturally in plant based products (IE Kombucha, seaweed, miso) doesn't do the trick. Technically there is B12 present so they can put it on the label but the majority of it is "inactive". A small percentage of that 20% may be active (able to be used by your body), but that percentage is miniscule. You can only get significant amounts of active B12 through the sources I mentioned above. That's why it's so important that vegans eat fortified foods and get supplements.

    Think of B12 like the cultures in yogurt. You want live active cultures, or they aren't going to be doing anything for you.

    Great question by the way!

  3. P.S. To clarify-I feel good about fortified foods when people are subsisting on diets that limit the range of foods they eat (such as vegans and vegetarians). If you don't limit your diet I think it's better to be aware of what foods are good sources of certain vitamins, minerals etc and get them naturally rather than through fortified foods.