Folate, Vitamin B12 Deficiencies Common and Correctable. But Too Much Hurts!

Topics: Vitamins and Supplements

Want an easy way to reduce your risk for colon cancer and a heart attack at the same time? An excellent study of thousands of men and women, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that up to 20% have low levels of folic acid and vitamin B-12.

Folic acid is vitamin B9; folic acid and folate are the same compound. Best food sources are tomato juice, green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okra, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy, pinto and garbanzo beans.

Folate helps to change the proteins your genes make to keep them from breaking. It also reduces the level of homocysteine in your body, preventing oxidation of plaque. You need 800 mcg daily.

Vitamin B-12 is difficult to absorb for some older people: best sources are meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk and eggs. You need at least 4 mcg daily. It is used to manufacture new cells, and helps break down fatty acids and amino acids.

Folate and B-12 should be taken together: vitamins can be as powerful as medicine, and work together.

And like medicine, too much can have side effects. See, for example, the new U.K. Food Standards Agency report: too much beta-carotene, niacin, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin B6 can harm you. Find out what’s in your food and multivitamin!