Vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), is an essential water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamin dissolves in water and you’re your body uses these vitamins; the leftover amount leaves your body through the urine.

What are the benefits of vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 plays a key role in the correct functioning of your brain and central nervous system, the formation of red blood cells and the metabolism of every cell in your body. B12 also helps to promote growth, correctly uses fats, carbohydrates, and protein, and improve concentration, memory and energy. We cannot produce B12 ourselves and so we need to get it from foods or supplements.

What may be the symptoms if you are low in vitamin B12?

Whilst your body can normally store vitamin B12 for about one year in the liver, some people may still end up being deficient and this can lead to severe damage to the brain and nervous system.  Symptoms may include:
•    Anaemia and pernicious anaemia
•    Weakened immune system
•    Imbalanced nervous system
•    Unstable balance
•    Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
•    Fatigue and lethargy
•    Weakness
•    Soreness of the mouth and tongue
•    Constipation
•    Poor memory
•    Breathlessness

Hampstead Health Practice support

Hampstead Health Practice oral B12 spray is 300mcg per spray and you can take orally up to four times a day. In total, this is equal to 1200mcg or 1.2mg.
You can tailor make the amount of sprays you do per day from one to four depending on what you have eaten throughout the day.
The oral B12 is easy to take. Just spray into your mouth and the fruit flavour gives you a refreshing taste.
A diet low in vitamin B12, which is found mostly in animal protein, is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, eat meat rarely, anaemic, taking certain medications or substances like alcohol, have pernicious anaemia, or over the age of 50, any of these can lead to B12 deficiency and you may benefit from taking a B12 supplement.  In addition:
If you are over 60 years of age, you may produce less stomach acid and the probability increases.
Intestinal disorders such as coeliac disease (the inability to digest gluten) can also cause deficiency.

Which foods contain vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in some foods - mainly animal products. You can easily get the recommended amounts of vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods including:
•    Organ meats for example beef liver
•    Nutritional yeasts
•    Shellfish such as clams and crab
•    Meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy foods
•    Some fortified cereals and soy products
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 for children under 1 years of age is 0.4 mcg per day, from 1-3 years 0.5 mcg per day, from 4-6 years 0.8 mcg per day, from 7-10 years 1.0 mcg per day, and from 11 years to adult up to 1.5 mcg per day.
These are the minimum amounts and vitamin B12 can be consumed in larger doses because the excess is excreted by the body in the urine or stored in your liver for use when supplies are scarce.  
Fortified vegan foods and supplements are the only reliable and consistent source of vitamin B12 for vegans. There are healthy vegan foods fortified with vitamin B12, the highest of which include commercial cereals, fruit and vegetable juices, dairy substitutes, fortified tofu, and vitamin waters. Since all these foods may have vitamin B12 added to them, their levels can vary greatly.

Here are some examples of vitamin B12 amounts in food:

•    3 oz. of 70% lean ground beef contains 2.56 mcg
•    3 eggs contain 1.2 mcg
•    8 oz. soya milk contains 3.0 mcg
•    100g soya Cheese contains  2.5 mcg
•    100g marmite contains 1 mcg
•    100g lambs liver contains 83 mcg


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