Tag Archives: poor digestion

Vitamin B12 – the modern day deficiency

Simon Cowell, Katy Perry and Madonna all apparently have injections of B12, the nutrient which helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak.

The total amount of vitamin B12 stored in body is about 5mg in adults with around 50 per cent of this being stored in the liver – for several years if needed.

This sounds positive – and it’s fair to say that nutritional deficiency of this vitamin should be rare. But as approximately 0.5 per cent of this is lost per day by secretions into the gut, and not all these secretions are reabsorbed, deficiency is becoming more predominant than ever.

How fast B12 levels change in the body depends on the balance between how much is obtained from the diet and the amount lost.

However the vitamin is very poorly absorbed and the rate of absorption is decreasing rapidly as our modern Western diet moves from one of fresh meats and seasonal vegetables to more processed foods, resulting in our digestive efficiency reducing.

BetterYou B12 Boost Spray
BetterYou B12 Boost Spray is an excellent supplement that increases absorption rates through the lining of the mouth

A healthy digestive system will absorb only one per cent of the B12 from our diet. However our ability to produce the acids necessary for absorption is reducing dramatically and deficiency is now being reported more and more, even amongst the most seemingly healthy. Worryingly deficiency in infants appears to be becoming even more prevalent than amongst adults.

The result is that more and more of us now require B12 supplementation.

The tissue lining of the mouth offers a strong alternative for effective absorption of our nutrients. Vitamin sprays like the BetterYou B12 Boost supplement spray is a good option.

Research carried out by Cardiff University investigating sublingual vitamin absorption found that nutrients are absorbed faster through the sub-lingual membrane – below the tongue and soft palate, and the buccal membrane – the inner lip and cheek area, than any other tissue area, other than the lungs.

Absorption rates were found to vary depending upon the type of the nutrient. B12 offers potentially better absorption rates than other nutrients, as this vitamin is water soluble, entering the membrane tissue more readily.

Written by BetterYou


CLA – a promising new supplement for Crohn’s?

A recent pilot study, soon to be published in Clinical Nutrition, has tested the effects of the supplement Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) on patients with Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease is digestive condition marked by inflammation and irritation in the intestines. Symptoms include pain, bloating and diarrhoea, and the condition may lead to narrowing of the digestive tract as result of scar tissue build up. Diseased areas of the gut tend not to absorb nutrients efficiently, leading to malnutrition. The exact cause of Crohn’s is unknown, although hereditary and immune factors appear to play a role.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a promising new supplement in the support of Crohn's Disease

The study, conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech, found that Crohn’s patients who took supplementary CLA showed significant improvement. 50% of the participants who tried the supplement showed marked improvement in both quality of life and in disease activity.

In conventional medicine, Crohn’s is treated with anti-inflammatory medications as well as drugs that suppress the immune system, such as steroids.

It is thought that CLA has anti-inflammatory effects, which explains its benefits in Crohn’s patients. Furthermore, CLA supplements appear to be free from the side effects associated with anti-inflammatory drugs. In this particular study CLA was well tolerated by all of the participants.

Dietary sources of CLA include dairy products and certain types of meat such as beef and lamb. Unfortunately some sufferers find that foods such as dairy exacerbate Crohn’s symptoms. A good way to include a dietary source of CLA would be to eat kefir, a cultured milk drink popular in countries such as Russia and Romania. This would be easy and inexpensive to make at home using organic milk of grass-fed cows or a milk alternative such as rice milk. It provides a great source of both CLA and probiotics to support digestive health. CLA is also widely available in supplement form.

The recent study was ‘open label’ meaning that no placebo group was used, and participants knew what supplement they were taking. While lead researcher Professor Kim L. Isaacs says the results are promising, he concedes that they will need to be verified in a randomised controlled trial. It is too early to say whether CLA could be considered a treatment for Crohn’s. Hopefully these promising results will encourage more research in this area.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC


Bassaganya-Riera, J., R. Hontecillas, W.T. Horne, M. Sandridge, H. Herfarth, R. Bloomfeld, and K. Isaacs (2012) Conjugated linoleic modulates immune responses in patients with Mild to Moderately active Crohn’s disease. Clinical Nutrition (in press)