Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's on your Tounge ?

Vitamin B12 is crucial because of its highly important role in hematopoiesis: the production of blood cells. It is naturally abundant through the animals we eat, primarily clams, liver, and trout, though the animals themselves do not synthesize the vitamin. Bacteria that live symbiotically within the animals form B12 as a byproduct, which attaches to the protein. Bacteria and archaea are the only organisms capable of this synthesis.

For vegetarians, B12 fortified breakfast cereals give 100% of the recommended daily. Dietary supplements also provide an animal-free source, and while it acts fundamentally the same as natural sources, it is not readily absorbed. Research shows that only a very small fraction of the B12 provided in pill form actually gets used; the rest gets converted into incredibly bright yellow urine. For individuals who have difficulties absorbing through the digestive tract, injections are available.

Deficiencies in B12 result in symptoms of fatigue, headaches, depression, and weight loss, among others. This is easily seen on the tongue, which can turn pale, swell, and bleed.

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Photo credit: Doctorspiller

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