The Importance of Vitamin B-12 for the Brain
With the recent passing of Annette Funicello (of Multiple Sclerosis), one of the original Mouseketeers and star of many 1960’s Beach Party movies, the brain has come back into focus again. President Obama has instituted $100 million towards brain research. Alzheimer’s Disease will become more prevalent in the coming years due to an aging Baby Boomer Generation.
The human brain is complex mechanism in its function and is still not fully understood. Yet, we do know one thing, it can become dysfunctional (as what happens in MS and Parkinson’s Disease). Each nerve cell communicates with others throughout the human body. Think of a multitude of string of wires interconnected with each other multiplied by a 100 billion times. Those connections can ultimately lead to total number of connections that would surpass all the atoms in the universe or 10 to the 100 power.
Now, imagine if the insulation on each wire started to disintegrate. There would be a dysfunction in the whole system. You see, each nerve cell has a myelin sheath around the axon. That is like the insulation around copper wire. Both the axon process and copper wire need insulation to fully function. Short-circuits can happen.
That is where Vitamin B-12 comes into play. It helps to build the myelin by bringing methyl groups to each nerve cell. B-12 is also used in other parts of the brain as a “detoxifier” in stopping the effect of glutamate (which leaves the brain in a hyperactive state). Here’s the kicker, the only form of Vitamin B-12 that works in the brain is methylcobalamin.
Vitamin B-12 comes in both a natural and synthetic form. Methylcobalamin is created from the natural form (hydroxocobalamin). The synthetic form (cyanocobalamin) can’t be used by our nervous system. And that’s the one you’d get at the store and it’s cheap. Even the natural form has to broken down in one’s small intestine to be converted to methylcobalamin. And this take good gut health. Many older people suffer from bad gut health. Due to this, even meat-eaters have low B-12 levels. Vegans suffer from B-12 deficiency quite a bit.
If you’re a vegan or an older animal protein eater, you may want to use patches, sublingual or injections that use the methylcobalamin form of B-12. This goes directly into the blood without having to be broken down (since it’s already converted).
Keep your nervous system healthy with the right form and enough of Vitamin B-12.