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Active Hydrogen Adrenal Extracts Alanine Alpha-Linolenic Acid Alpha-Lipoic Acid AMP Amylase Inhibitors Arginine Bee Pollen Beta Carotene Beta-glucan Betaine Beta-Sitosterol Biotin Borage Oil Boron Bovine Cartilage Bovine Colostrum Brewer's Yeast Bromelain Calcium Capsaicin Carnitine Carnosine Chitosan Chloride Chlorophyll Chondroitin Chromium CLA Cobalt Coenzyme Q10 Copper Creatine Cysteine DHA DHEA DMAE EGCG Evening Primrose Oil 5-HTP Fiber (Insoluble) Fiber (Soluble) Fish Oil Flavonoids Fluoride Folate Fumaric Acid GABA Gamma-Linolenic Acid Glucomannan Glucosamine Glutamic Acid Glutamine Glutathione Glycine Grape Seed Extract Histidine HMB Hydroxycitric Acid Indole Inosine Inositol Iodine Ipriflavone Iron Isoleucine Lactase Lecithin Leucine Lipase Lutein Lycopene Lysine Magnesium Malic Acid Manganese Mannose Melatonin Methionine Methoxyisoflavone Molybdenum MSM N-Acetyl Cysteine NADH Naringin Niacin Octacosanol Oligosaccharides Olive Leaf Extract Ornithine Oryzanol PABA Pancreatic Enzymes Pantothenic Acid Phenylalanine Phosphatidylserine Phosphorus Phytic Acid Policosanol Potassium Pregnenolone Probiotics Propolis Psyllium Pyridoxine Pyruvate Quercetin Resveratrol Retinol Riboflavin Ribose Royal Jelly SAMe Selenium Shark Cartilage Silicon Sodium Spirulina Spleen Extracts St. John's Wort Strontium Sulforaphane Sulfur Taurine Thiamine Tocopherol Tea Tree Oil Tyrosine Usnic Acid Valine Vanadium Vinpocetine Vitamin A Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B9 Vitamin B12 Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin H Vitamin K Whey Protein Xylitol Zinc
Abalone Shell (shi jue ming)
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
Acanthopanax Bark (wu jia pi)
Achyranthes (niu xi)
Aconite (fu zi)
Acorus (shi chang pu)
Adenophora Root (nan sha shen)
Agkistrodon (bai hua she)
Agrimony (xian he cao)
Ailanthus Bark (chun pi)
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
Albizzia Bark (he huan pi)
Albizzia Flower (he huan hua)
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
Alisma (ze xie)
Aloe (lu hui)
Alum (bai fan)
Amber (hu po)
Ampelopsis (bai lian)
Andrographis (chuan xin lian)
Anemarrhena (zhi mu)
Antelope's Horn (ling yang jiao)
Apricot Seed (xing ren)
Areca Peel (da fu pi)
Areca Seed (bing lang)
Arisaema (tian nan xing)
Ark Shell (wa leng zi)
Arnebia (zi cao or ying zi cao)
Arnica (arnica montana)
Artichoke Leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Ash bark (qin pi)
Ashwagandha (withania somniferum)
Aster (zi wan)
Astragalus (huang qi)
Aurantium (zhi ke [qiao])
Bamboo Juice (zhu li)
Bamboo Shavings (zhu ru)
Belamcanda Rhizome (she gan)
Benincasa Peel (dong gua pi)
Benincasa Seed (dong gua xi/ren)
Benzoin (an xi xiang)
Bilberry (yue ju)
Biota Leaf (ce bai ye)
Biota Seed (bai zi ren)
Bitter Melon (ku gua)
Bitter Orange Peel (ju hong)
Black Cohosh (sheng ma)
Black Plum (wu mei)
Black Sesame Seed (hei zhi ma)
Bletilla (bai ji)
Boneset (ze lan)
Borax (peng sha)
Borneol (bing pian)
Bottle Brush (mu zei)
Buddleia (mi meng hua)
Buffalo Horn (shui niu jiao)
Bulrush (pu huang)
Bupleurum (chai hu)
Burdock (niu bang zi)
Camphor (zhang nao)
Capillaris (yin chen hao)
Cardamon Seed (sha ren)
Carpesium (he shi)
Cassia Seed (jue ming zi)
Catechu (er cha)
Cat's Claw (uncaria tomentosa)
Cephalanoplos (xiao ji)
Celosia Seed (qing xiang zi)
Centipede (wu gong)
Chaenomeles Fruit(mu gua)
Chalcanthite (dan fan)
Chebula Fruit (he zi)
Chinese Gall (wu bei zi)
Chinese Raspberry (fu pen zi)
Chrysanthemum (ju hua)
Cibotium (gou ji)
Cinnabar (zhu sha)
Cinnamon (rou gui or gui zhi)
Cistanche (rou cong rong)
Citron (xiang yuan)
Citrus Peel (chen pi)
Clam Shell (hai ge ke/qiao)
Clematis (wei ling xian)
Cloves (ding xiang)
Cnidium Seed (she chuang zi)
Codonopsis (dang shen)
Coix Seed (yi yi ren)
Coptis (huang lian)
Cordyceps (dong chong)
Coriander (hu sui)
Corn Silk (yu mi xu)
Cornus (shan zhu yu)
Corydalis (yan hu suo)
Costus (mu xiang)
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cremastra (shan ci gu)
Croton Seed (ba dou)
Curculigo (xian mao)
Cuscuta (tu si zi)
Cuttlefish Bone (hai piao xiao)
Cymbopogon (xiang mao)
Cynanchum (bai qian)
Cynomorium (suo yang)
Cyperus (xiang fu)
Dalbergia (jiang xiang)
Damiana (turnera diffusa)
Dandelion (pu gong ying)
Deer Antler (lu rong)
Dendrobium (shi hu)
Devil's Claw (harpagophytum procumbens)
Dianthus (qu mai)
Dichroa Root (chang shan)
Dittany Bark (bai xian pi)
Dong Quai (tang kuei)
Dragon Bone (long gu)
Dragon's Blood (xue jie)
Drynaria (gu sui bu)
Dryopteris (guan zhong)
Earthworm (di long)
Eclipta (han lian cao)
Elder (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis)
Elsholtzia (xiang ru)
Ephedra (ma huang)
Epimedium (yin yang huo)
Erythrina Bark (hai tong pi)
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
Eucommia Bark (du zhong)
Eupatorium (pei lan)
Euphorbia Root (gan sui or kan sui)
Euryale Seed (qian shi)
Evodia (wu zhu yu)
Fennel (xiao hui xiang)
Fenugreek (hu lu ba)
Fermented Soybeans (dan dou chi)
Flaxseed (ya ma zi)
Fo Ti (he shou wu)
Forsythia (lian qiao)
Frankincense (ru xiang)
Fritillaria (chuan bei mu)
Gadfly (meng chong)
Galanga (gao liang jiang)
Galena (mi tuo seng)
Gambir (gou teng)
Gardenia (zhi zi)
Garlic (da suan)
Gastrodia (tian ma)
Gecko (ge jie)
Gelatin (e jiao)
Genkwa (yuan hua)
Germinated Barley (mai ya)
Ginger (gan [sheng] jiang)
Ginkgo Biloba (yin xing yi)
Ginseng, American (xi yang shen)
Ginseng, Asian (dong yang shen)
Ginseng, Siberian (wu jia shen)
Glehnia (sha shen)
Glorybower (chou wu tong)
Goldenseal (bai mao liang)
Gotu Kola (luei gong gen)
Green Tea (lu cha)
Gymnema (gymnema sylvestre)
Gynostemma (jiao gu lan)
Gypsum (shi gao)
Halloysite (chi shi zhi)
Hawthorn (shan zha)
Hemp Seed (huo ma ren)
Homalomena (qian nian jian)
Honey (feng mi)
Honeysuckle Flower (jin yin hua)
Honeysuckle Stem (ren dong teng)
Houttuynia (yu xing cao)
Huperzia (qian ceng ta)
Hyacinth Bean (bai bian dou)
Hyssop (huo xiang)
Ilex (mao dong qing)
Imperata (bai mao gen)
Indigo (qing dai)
Inula (xuan fu hua)
Isatis Leaf (da qing ye)
Isatis Root (ban lan gen)
Java Brucea (ya dan zi)
Jujube (da zao)
Juncus (deng xin cao)
Kadsura Stem (hai feng teng)
Katsumadai Seed (cao dou kou)
Kelp (kun bu)
Knotweed (bian xu)
Knoxia root (hong da ji)
Kochia (di fu zi)
Lapis (meng shi)
Leech (shui zhi)
Leechee Nut (li zhi he)
Leonorus (yi mu cao)
Lepidium Seed (ting li zi)
Licorice (gan cao)
Ligusticum (chuan xiong)
Ligustrum (nč zhen zi)
Lily Bulb (bai he)
Limonite (yu liang shi)
Lindera (wu yao)
Litsea (bi cheng qie)
Lobelia (ban bian lian)
Longan (long yan hua [rou])
Lophatherum (dan zhu ye)
Loquat Leaf (pi pa ye)
Lotus Leaf (he ye)
Lotus Node (ou jie)
Lotus Seed (lian zi)
Lotus Stamen (lian xu)
Luffa (si gua luo)
Lycium Bark (di gu pi)
Lycium Fruit (gou qi zi)
Lygodium (hai jin sha)
Lysimachia (jin qian cao)
Magnetite (ci shi)
Magnolia Bark (hou po)
Magnolia Flower (xin yi hua)
Maitake (grifola frondosa)
Marigold (c. officinalis)
Massa Fermentata (shen qu)
Milk Thistle (silybum marianum)
Millettia (ji xue teng)
Mint (bo he)
Mirabilite (mang xiao)
Morinda Root (ba ji tian)
Mugwort Leaf (ai ye)
Mulberry Bark (sang bai pi)
Mulberry Leaf (sang ye)
Mulberry Twig (sang zhi)
Mullein (jia yan ye)
Musk (she xiang)
Myrrh (mo yao)
Notoginseng (san qi)
Notopterygium (qiang huo)
Nutmeg (rou dou kou)
Oldenlandia (bai hua she she cao)
Omphalia (lei wan)
Onion (yang cong)
Ophicalcite (hua rui shi)
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)
Oryza (gu ya)
Oyster Shell (mu li)
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnata)
Patrinia (bai jiang cao)
Pau D'Arco (tabebuia avellanedae)
Peach Seed (tao ren)
Pearl (zhen zhu [mu])
Perilla Leaf (su ye)
Perilla Seed (su zi)
Perilla Stem (su geng)
Persimmon (shi di)
Pharbitis Seed (qian niu zi)
Phaseolus (chi xiao dou)
Phellodendron (huang bai)
Phragmites (lu gen)
Picrorhiza (hu huang lian)
Pinellia (ban xia)
Pine Knots (song jie)
Pipe Fish (hai long)
Plantain Seed (che qian zi)
Platycodon (jie geng)
Polygala (yuan zhi)
Polygonatum (huang jing)
Polyporus (zhu ling)
Poppy Capsule (ying su qiao)
Poria (fu ling)
Prickly Ash Peel (hua jiao)
Prinsepia Seed (rui ren/zi)
Prunella (xia ku cao)
Prunus Seed (yu li ren)
Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)
Psoralea (bu gu zhi)
Pueraria (ge gen)
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
Pumice (fu hai shi)
Pumpkin Seed (nan gua zi)
Purslane (ma chi xian)
Pyrite (zi ran tong)
Pyrrosia Leaf (shi wei)
Quisqualis (shi jun zi)
Radish (lai fu zi)
Realgar (xiong huang)
Red Atractylodes (cang zhu)
Red Clover (trifolium pratense)
Red Ochre (dai zhe shi)
Red Peony (chi shao)
Red Sage Root (dan shen)
Rehmannia (shu di huang)
Reishi (ling zhi)
Rhubarb (da huang)
Rice Paper Pith (tong cao)
Rose (mei gui hua)
Rosemary (mi die xiang)
Safflower (hong hua)
Saffron (fan hong hua)
Sandalwood (tan xiang)
Sanguisorba Root (di yu)
Sappan Wood (su mu)
Sargent Gloryvine (hong teng)
Saw Palmetto (ju zong lu)
Schefflera (qi ye lian)
Schisandra (wu wei zi)
Schizonepeta (jing jie)
Scirpus (san leng)
Scopolia (S. carniolica Jacq.)
Scorpion (quan xie)
Scrophularia (xuan shen)
Scutellaria (huang qin)
Sea Cucumber (hai shen)
Sea Horse (hai ma)
Seaweed (hai zao)
Selaginella (shi shang bai)
Senna (fan xie ye)
Shiitake (hua gu)
Siegesbeckia (xi xian cao)
Siler Root (fang feng)
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Smilax (tu fu ling)
Smithsonite (lu gan shi)
Sophora Flower (huai hua mi)
Sophora Root (ku shen)
Spirodela (fu ping)
Stellaria (yin chai hu)
Stemona (bai bu)
Stephania (fang ji [han])
Sweet Annie (qing hao)
Teasel Root (xu duan)
Tiger Bone (hu gu)
Torreya Seed (fei zi)
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)
Tremella (bai mu er)
Trichosanthes Fruit (gua lou)
Trichosanthes Root (tian hua fen)
Trichosanthes Seed (gua lou ren)
Tsaoko Fruit (cao guo)
Turmeric (jiang huang)
Turtle Shell (bie jia)
Tussilago (kuan dong hua)
Urtica (xun ma)
Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Vaccaria Seed (wang bu lui xing)
Valerian (jie cao)
Veratrum (li lu)
Viola (zi hua di ding)
Vitex (man jing zi)
Walnut (hu tao ren)
Watermelon (xi gua)
White Atractylodes (bai zhu)
White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)
White Peony (bai shao)
Wild Asparagus (tian men dong)
Windmill Palm (zong lu pi/tan)
Xanthium (cang er zi)
Zedoary (e zhu)

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Vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?

Discovered in 1948, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin absorbed in the intestines and carried throughout the body in the bloodstream. Since it is not stored in body fat, after the body uses what it needs, any excess B12 is excreted via urine or sweat.

Why do we need it?

Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells. It plays a role in the metabolization of proteins and fats and the synthesis of myelin, a fatty substance that encases nerve fibers. Vitamin B12 also displays some antioxidant properties. It works with folate to convert the amino acid homocysteine into methionine, a substance that helps prevent cells from becoming malignant.

Vitamin B12 injections have also been rumored to increase energy, although at present, there has been no scientific evidence to substantiate this claim.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is as follows:

  • Adult men: 2-2.4 micrograms/day
  • Adult women: 2-2.4 micrograms/day
  • Children aged 7-10: 1.4 micrograms/day
  • Infants: 0.5 micrograms/day
  • Pregnant/lactating women: 2.6 micrograms/day

What are some good sources of vitamin B12?

The only natural dietary sources of vitamin B12 come from animal products such as meats, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and fish. Clams and oily fish such as tuna, cod and sardines are particularly high in B12. Most fortified cereals also contain high quantities of vitamin B12.

What can happen if I don't get enough vitamin B12?

While B12 deficiency is rare in young people, the elderly may have trouble absorbing natural vitamin B12 and require supplements. Symptoms of B12 deficiency can include memory loss, instability, disorientation, nerve damage, decreased reflexes and possible hearing loss. A lack of B12 has also been linked with increased levels of homocysteine, which in turn has been associated with heart disease, birth defects and Alzheimer's disease.

B12 deficiency may also be caused by a genetic defect, in which a protein known as gastric intrinsic factor is not present in the body. In such cases, a condition known as pernicious anemia can develop. The condition must be treated with B12 injections, or neurologic damage may occur.

What can happen if I take too much?

To date, no reports of toxicity have been associated with high intake levels of vitamin B12. Because it is water-soluble and is not stored in the body, the chances of enough B12 building up to toxic levels are extremely unlikely.


References

  • B vitamins may cut heart disease risk. Harvard Health News April 1998.
  • B vitamins and the heart: what men can learn from women. Harvard Men's Health Watch June 1998.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989.
  • The effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on older veterans and its relationship to health. J Am Geriatr Soc October 1998.
  • Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet. American Health, 1999.
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