Vitamin B12 plays an important role in our health. B12 is one of those foundational vitamins humans need throughout life. At different stages we utilize vitamin B12 differently.
As children, B12 is crucial for the development of the brain as well as forming red blood cells, protecting your nervous system and even synthesizing DNA.
As a developmental nutrient we couldn’t grow into healthy children, teens, young adults and full adulthood.
But vitamin B12 does not act alone. Other B vitamins, minerals and plenty of other letter vitamins like C, D, E, A and of course K allow us to grow into healthy individuals.
Take for example a child who for whatever reason has developed a deficiency in one important vitamin. Say, vitamin D. Without adequate levels of vitamin D we can’t develop strong bones and teeth. Without B vitamins like folate (vitamin B9) that same child could have neurological defects like spina bifida – even before he is born.
Without vitamin B12 that child might become anemic or have difficulty with fatigue or nerve damage.
You see, all vitamins and minerals work together to make sure the body is in balance. When the balance gets out of whack we develop health issues.
Let’s get back to our initial example, vitamin B12. It isn’t enough that we need enough of this crucial vitamin, but we need the correct kind. As is common in a modern food system synthetic ingredients are used because they are cheaper and easier to source, and include in bulk manufacturing.
This comes at a disadvantage when it comes to health because the active form of vitamins is usually more effective that artificial ones.
That’s where methylation comes into play. Methylation is a fairly simple yet very important biological process. To break out the geek speak it is the transfer of four atoms, a carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms from one substance to another.
What does that even mean?
Without getting too much into the complex science, the true reason we need methylation is for important nutrients to be converted into a form our bodies can use.
When proper methylation occurs our neurological, cardiovascular, reproductive, and detoxification systems all fire up for optimal efficiency. In other words our body can utilize the food we eat to get stronger, smarter and healthier.
If it weren’t for methylation we’d all be deficient in all the important vitamins and minerals. Even though science created artificial vitamins to make food and supplement cheaper, it has also led to the creation of methyl vitamins like vitamin B12 methylcobalamin that effectively bypass the need for our bodies to convert them into the active form we need.
Methyl B12, Methyl B6 and Methylfolate were created to allow us to skip the methylation step in our bodies and get the nutrients where we need them quicker and more efficiently.
An easy way to look at the difference between methyl folate and folic acid can be found in the video below