Ask the doctor: Vitamin B12 essential for thinking skills

Published: September, 2014

Q. Why is vitamin B12 important, and should I check if mine is low?

A. We get vitamin B12 in the diet, primarily from animal sources—meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products. For our bodies to absorb vitamin B12 we eat, our stomach enzymes need to "shake it loose" from the foods that it is attached to. Then, the vitamin needs to attach itself to a protein that is made in our stomach, called intrinsic factor. Once attached, it can be absorbed into the body.

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