vitamins

Vitamin B12 T-Shirt Giveaway

Who’s ready for this giveaway to finally happen?!! Yeah, me TOO!! I got sick this past weekend and I was finally able to finish the B12 drawing. It had already taken me longer than I originally anticipated so I’ve decided to extend the giveaway until the 22nd. Oh, you’ll be happy to know I got an A in Chemistry and its the end of General Chemistry for me!

Vitamin B12 Molecule - Cobalamin

Take a moment to admire this beast! I’m very happy with how it turned out, and although it’s only an artistic rendition of the molecule and is quite clearly exaggerated, it does help to have something to visualize. I’ve been looking at some other vitamins to research and I’m SOOOO glad many of them are less complicated than this.

Let’s get down to business! I’m teaming up with my peeps over at NY Custom Utica for this giveaway. We’ll be giving away 3 DTG printed t-shirts, to 3 different winners, with the above illustration printed across the chest. If this sounds like something you’d like to win, here’s how to get entered:

  1. Answer the questions to this Cobalamin survey. (Must include email or I can’t notify you of winning!)
  2. Read this article about Cobalamin.
  3. Answer the questions to this followup survey about Cobalamin. (Again, must include email or I can’t notify you!)
  4. For 3 extra entries, use the rafflecopter widget below to *like* me on facebook, follow me on Twitter, and/or leave a comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About NY Custom DTG Printing and Personalized T-Shirts:

Although the most popular method of printing t-shirts is screen printing, NY Custom Utica t-shirts are printed using Direct To Garment Printing (DTG) which is the process of using inkjet printers to print an image directly onto t-shirts without the use of screens that are needed for screen printing, which requires a lot of setup e.g., creating screens for each color.

In addition, DTG printing uses eco-friendly, water soluble ink, unlike some screen printing methods that layer Plastisol (a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer) on top of the t-shirt. The only requirement for DTG printing is for the image to be high resolution, resulting in photograph quality printing with no setup fee or minimums for custom t-shirts.

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:

  • You must be 18 years or older to enter.
  • The winners have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states.
  • NY Custom Utica will ship the prize to the winners within 30 days of contest end.
  • The winners will be chosen randomly and will each receive:

    • One white, unisex, Gildan, G200 6.1 oz. Ultra Cotton® T-Shirts made in 100% preshrunk cotton (in a size of the winner’s choosing) printed with the B12 illustration across the chest.

Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

What Is the Chemical Term for B12 and What Does it Look Like?

As you likely guessed from the title of the article, B12 is often called Cobalamin. There are actually 4 forms of cobalamin (methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, cyanocobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin)(1), but for simplicity’s sake I’ll just refer to B12 as Cobalamin. We can get into the differences in the four types at a later time. Below is what cobalamin looks like in a simple structural form. The molecular formula for cyanocobalamin is C63H88CoN14O14P meaning there are 63 carbon (C) atoms, 88 hydrogen (H) atoms, one cobalt (Co) atom, 14 nitrogen (N) atoms, 14 oxygen (O) atoms and one phosphorous (P) atom.

Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin

What are B12’s Primary Functions?

You’ve probably seen B12 listed on energy drink labels and assume it has something to do with. . .  well, energy. It is more of an assistant than an actual energy producer in the way you may be thinking. Cobalamin plays a role in synthesizing DNA – an essential aspect of red blood cell formation, as well as maintaining the myelin sheath around nerve fibers – providing aid in healthy nervous system activity(2).

Another important role of vitamin B12 is in the metabolism of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that at increased levels indicates the possibility of and/or can increase a persons risk of cardiovascular disease(3)(4). Cobalamin works alongside Folate and B6 to help with this metabolism and when there are low levels of available cobalamin, homocysteine levels will increase since the cobalamin provides an important role in this process(5). So, when you see cobalamin listed on your energy drink label, it’s not directly giving you energy, its aiding bodily functions that help maintain normal operations.

On the topic of energy drinks, I personally don’t drink them, but I had a look at one of those 5-Hour Energy labels and see that it contains 500 mcg of Cyanocobalamin, which is listed as 8333% of your daily value. Cobalamin is a water-soluble vitamin and excess is filtered by the kidneys (only a small amount is stored in the liver) so the vast majority of what you comsume is simply being passed in your urine.

In fact, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), according to The National Academies Press, for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg per day for adult men and women. Some people 50 years and older may have absorption problems because they are not producing enough stomach acid to properly break down food and release the vitamin. Because of this, they may have to consume foods that are fortified with B12 or take supplements(2).

B12 Deficiency and Toxicity

Though there is no known toxicity from consuming an excess of B12, I am curious whether the increased consumption of drinkable supplements like 5-hour energy, will cause us to start seeing side-effects from consuming excess B12. From what I understand, there has not been adequate research into the effects of B12 consumption at the level that which is now possible with supplemental B12. It’s unlikely that you’d simply eat an excess of B12 from food, but when supplements can cram upwards of 16000% of your daily need into one serving it makes me wonder if there is a possibility for toxicity. I’m not a Registered Dietitian (yet), nor can I call myself any kind of health professional (yet), but I think common sense plays a role here: more is not always better. I just wonder at what point can the body simply cannot keep up with the excess or maybe an infinite amount can be taken without issue.

Deficiency, on the other hand, is definitely a concern. Not consuming enough B12 or being unable to absorb enough can cause pernicious anemia, nerve damage, disorientation, problems with memory, dementia, and tingling and numbness in limbs(2)(6). As mentioned earlier, older individuals may have trouble absorbing the vitamin due to decreased stomach acid production, and vegans and other non-meat-eaters fail to consume the vitamin from it’s most common source. Options for individuals with low intake or poor absorption can increase their consumption of food fortified with B12, take supplements, or get injections of B12(7).

What Foods DO You Naturally Get B12 From?

The answer is simple. MEAT! This is why vegans and vegetarians often have a B12 deficiency, particularly if they don’t eat foods that are fortified with the vitamin. Animal products including clams, crab, ground beef, salmon, eggs as well as fortified cereals, fortified soy milk, and dairy such as yogurt and cheese all contain B12.

There are lots more foods that contain cobalamin so if you would like to look up other good food sources there are a many resources available for this. The two that I recommend using (as I’ve used them myself) are the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, and SuperTracker on ChooseMyPlate.gov. If you want to look up what foods contain B12, I recommend using the USDA Database, but if you want to see what nutrients are in the foods you’re eating, and track it, I suggest SuperTracker.

Now that you have read up a bit on B12, Please follow this link to fill out the second survey. By filling out this, and any of the previous B12 surveys, and entering your email you will be entered into a giveaway for a t-shirt with my illustration of B12 (in-progress below) printed on it!

B12 Cobalamin Molecule Illustration by Sara Kerr The Kerrminator

I’ve added a couple additional ways to get entries into the giveaway, so feel free to use this rafflecopter widget below to score a couple more chances at winning:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Terms and Conditions:

  • Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states -Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
  • Prizes will be shipped within 30 days of giveaway end
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected

References and Resources:

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalamin
(2)Thompson J, Manore M, Vaughan L. The Science of Nutrition. 3rd ed. Pearson. 2014. Pages 301-304, 326-328, 491-492.
(3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homocysteine
(4)https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin
(5)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNKVrSAvYnw
(6)http://www.virtualmedstudent.com/links/nutrition/vitaminB12.html
(7) http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12


*Disclaimer: I, Sara Kerr, am an Undergraduate Student at Oregon State University and I do not provide this information as a licensed medical professional. It is for your information only – you should do further research and consult your doctor or a Registered Dietitian before taking any supplements or changing your diet. That being said, if you have any questions, I’d be happy to find out what I can as a student, but you should always consult your doctor before making lifestyle/diet changes. Oregon State University is not affiliated with this blog. I operate this blog personally and independently from any companies or institutions.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamin B12?

The results of the previous vitamin survey are in! I’ll be doing my research project on vitamin B12. There is a link below to the second survey, which will take a little bit longer than the first, but should be pretty quick (less than 10 minutes).

Vitamin B12Fill out the questions to the best of your knowledge without any help from others, books, the internet, etc. This survey is meant to assess YOUR current knowledge of vitamin B12 so I can base my article around what people want to learn about it or what they should know about it. Don’t worry about getting the correct answer, just worry about answering honestly. In other words, it’s OK to know nothing about B12 so don’t guess, simply select “I have no idea” or leave it blank if you don’t know.

As an extra incentive, if you include your email at the end of the survey, you will be entered into a giveaway for a B12 t-shirt, custom designed by me. If you fill out the next survey, you will get another entry! I’ll be giving away a couple t-shirts so there will be multiple winners! (I will not use your email for any reasons beyond informing you of the third and final survey, when the B12 article is published, and if you win the giveaway!).

Thank you in advance!

Follow this link to the B12 Survey.

FYI – For those of you who missed the first article, this survey is being used for the purposes of gathering information about what I should devote my research on for my chemistry class project. I had people vote on vitamins and minerals that they want to know more about and vitamin B12 is of the most interest to people. My project will be to assess where peoples’ knowledge of B12 is lacking so I can devote a blog article to informing my readers about B12 (such as where it comes from, what it does in the body, what it looks like, etc.). After the article is publish, I will post a third and final survey to assess whether my article was helpful and if you now know more about B12 than you had previously. If all goes well, I’d like to continue with this sort of thing (with t-shirt giveaways and all!) so I can deepen my own knowledge of vitamins and minerals while spreading what I’ve learned to others.

Oregon State: Nutrition Major Year One

I’ve waited far too long to post an update! Three terms went by and I’m halfway through the summer term. I had the intentions of leaving some remarks along the way, but it’s hard enough keeping up on school, let alone my blog and even drawing. Not to mention having a wedding to plan. Meh. Too much stuff.

Excuses aside, I’m here now. The first year at Oregon State was great! I think I only had one professor I didn’t particularly care for. Most of my professor-related issues are with a some staff members at the local community college that I’ve been taking a few core classes at. I’m intending to go full time at the university and say ‘sayonara’ to the community college, come Fall.

I was pleased with a class I took and OSU with Neilann Horner because she incorporated a bit of illustration with her assignments. I think teachers who integrate creativity with the sciences understand what it means to have a well-rounded education and that it’s not all about niche-learning. These diagrams were for two assignments from last term.

Digestive SystemKrebs Cycle

Unfortunately, I have only dabbled in a couple of the true nutrition-related classes so I can’t share a whole lot of information yet, but it’s my plan to start shifting this blog to more health/nutrition related topics. I have a chemistry term-project that I have to get rolling on and I’m recruiting you! There is a link to a brief survey at the end of this article that I would love for you to fill out. There will be at least one more (possibly two) surveys after this. I’ll explain more below.

In the mean time I want to break the news about my part in a local start-up company called Workout Bunnies. I was hired as an illustrator to design t-shirts for the company and have since taken a more active role in promotion and marketing. It was back when I had applied and got accepted to OSU for Nutrition and I couldn’t help but feel the timing was kismet. I’m very excited about the potential of this company because it falls right into place with my career and I feel I can grow right along with it.

In a nutshell, Workout Bunnies is a social-networking site designed around finding workout partners in your area. We (myself and company founder, Samuel Brackeen, IV) would like to take the company in more directions than just that, but for now we’re working on establishing ourselves as a workout-partner-finder as well as selling t-shirts. I’ll be posting about a Workout Bunnies t-shirt giveaway in the next few days so stay tuned (aka subscribe so you don’t miss it or follow me on facebook or twitter 😉 ). Also, if you have an android phone, download the Workout Bunnies app and leave a review – it will help greatly with further development. Iphone users – your app is coming soon so hang in there! You can still use the main site for now.

Workout Bunnies Hiker Bunnie T-Shirt Design

Now for this chemistry project survey. First off, you will be doing me a great favor by completing this survey series so please please please take a couple minutes to fill this first one out and if you’re feeling extra generous, please spam your friends with the link (below) as well. My project idea is basically research-based. I want to choose a vitamin or mineral that you, my readers, know little to nothing about and I will research it, write an article with information about what the vitamin does for you and in what foods you can find it, etc. There will be another survey at the end asking you what you know now and to see if it helps you with food choices.

Click this link to the survey (it’s only 3 questions):
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VrzadAEHpwn9BYuscVgdt6_qwlhe-TY15Nhtav2UdbI/viewform

Thank you! 🙂