Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble micronutrient that plays an important role in many aspects of your health and athletic performance. These include the production of red blood cells, mitochondrial efficiency and cellular energy, DNA replication, maintaining the health of your nervous system as you age, and the metabolism of sugars, carbohydrates and fats.
Your body is able to store large amounts of vitamin B12 in your liver to use when dietary supplies are limited. Unfortunately, as you age your ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases, so your daily requirement increases. Athletes may require higher vitamin B12 intake to offset the increased usage during recovery periods.
Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry and dairy. Vitamin B12 is not present in plant foods, so vegans and vegetarians can only get their vitamin B12 with supplements or fortified foods (depending on availability). This becomes increasingly important after the age of 50, when your Vitamin B12 absorption becomes less efficient.
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the health of the nervous system, and the growth and maintenance of your muscles. Genes that affect how well your body absorbs and stores vitamin B12 can influence your levels.
- TCN1 helps to transport vitamin B12 from your small intestine into your blood.
- FUT2 protects dietary vitamin B12 from damaging bacteria as it travels through your stomach.
Find out which variants of these genes you have and learn how your DNA affects your ability to absorb vitamin B12 with Athletigen's Nutrition Report.