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Vitamin B12 is better absorbed from cow’s milk: study

Consumers may want to skip vitamin B12 supplements and opt instead for cow’s milk, says a Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre study


Sherbrooke, Que. – An Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research centre has found that humans can better absorb vitamin B12 from cow’s milk.

Boy and glass of milkThe Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre also found that vitamin B12 is better absorbed from cow’s milk than when it’s taken in vitamin supplement form.

In fact, one glass of milk can provide 50 per cent of an adult’s daily B12 requirement.

Among animal products, says AnimalFrontiers.org, those from ruminants are particularly rich in vitamin B12, which is naturally synthesized by the ruminal microflora and transferred to milk. Dairy products retain, in general, a major part of the vitamin B12 naturally present in milk, some processing conditions may even add to the basal level by production of vitamin B12 from propionic bacterium in Swiss-type cheeses.

The site also adds that the intestinal bioavailability of vitamin B12 from milk, regardless of the technological process (raw, pasteurized or microfiltered) is greater than the synthetic form used in supplements.

The Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre conducted its study on pigs, which have a very similar digestive system to that of humans.

The research scientists gave pigs either cow’s milk or vitamin B12 supplements to compare the absorption rates of this vitamin.

What they found was that vitamin B12 that is naturally present in cow’s milk is absorbed two times better than synthetic vitamin B12 is.

Pushing their research further, they even discovered how to produce a superior cow’s milk that could meet 75 per cent of an adult’s daily requirement.


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3 Comments » for Vitamin B12 is better absorbed from cow’s milk: study
  1. Jamal Salem Aljifri says:

    Cow’s Milk with no added sugar and flavours was the best choice for me to increase my vitamin B12 levels.
    Much better than vitamin B12 supplements.

  2. Jamal Salem Aljifri - Aden, South Yemen says:

    Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms:
    Fatigue, dizziness, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, burning feet, fast heartbeat, ringing in ears, memory loss, inflammation of tongue, pernicious anemia, yellow tinge to skin and eyes, trouble walking, depression, psychosis and dementia.

    Early detection and treatment is important. If left untreated, the deficiency can cause severe neurologic problems and blood diseases.

    Because vitamin B12 deficiency can often signal that something is wrong in your digestive tract, it’s prudent to investigate an unexpected deficiency – particularly to rule out these common causes:

    Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

    ◆ Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.
    This is because certain types of bacteria use up vitamin B12 for their own purposes, so if you’ve got too many of them hanging around in your small intestine, they can intercept the B12 you’ve consume
    before your own body has the chance to absorb it.

    ◆ Taking too many Anti-inflammatory medication -nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pain-relieving medications and many, many others. Ileitis from any cause, however, will impede vitamin B12 absorption and often cause a deficiency.

    ◆ Weight-loss surgeries and surgeries that have removed part of your small intestine 

    ◆ Dietary deficiency, plants don’t make vitamin B12, vegans (strict vegetarians who do not eat any meat, fish, eggs or dairy products.

    Absorption of vitamin B12:
    The absorption of vitamin B12 from eggs appears to be relatively low at a rate of less than 9%.

    The vitamin B12 from meat, poultry and fish is estimated to be absorbed at a rate of 42% to 61%

    The vitamin B12 contained in milk is estimated to be the most bioavailable, with approximately 51% to 79% absorption. In fact, 1 glass of milk can provide 50 per cent of an adult’s daily B12 requirement.

    The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 a day, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    Bottom line:
    If you’re diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, be sure to ask your doctor what he or she thinks the likely cause is. If there’s no obvious explanation, start looking for one! 

  3. Jamal Salem Aljifri - [email protected] - Aden, South Yemen says:

    Large doses of vitamin C may interfere with absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12. To avoid this interaction, take vitamin C two or more hours after taking vitamin B-12 supplements. Foods with B12 are always the first choice.

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