When it comes to deciding whether vitamin B12 is beneficial for your whole body, it’s a no-brainer. As a matter a fact, one purpose of vitamin B12 is to support cognitive function. Aside from improving brain health, B12 can also help prevent birth defects, support brain health and a lot more.
Vitamin B12 is known as cobalamin, which is a vital vitamin that the body needs but can’t produce. This vitamin plays many important roles. It supports the normal function of your brain cells and is essential for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis.
It is naturally found in animal products, but it is also added to certain foods and is available as a supplement or injection.
Considering all the benefits vitamin B12 possesses, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’re getting your daily intake?
Benefits of Vitamin B-12
Just in case you’ve underestimated the advantages of this vitamin, here are 12 benefits you should know that’ll serve as reasons why you should make sure you’re getting it.
1. Helps Red Blood Cell Formations and Prevents Anemia
Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in helping your body produce red blood cells. When there is a low level of vitamin B12 in the body, the production of red blood cells is disrupted, resulting in megaloblastic anemia.
When you’re anemic, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your important organs, which will cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness. By taking an adequate amount of this vitamin daily, you’ll lower the risk of becoming anemic.
2. Prevents Osteoporosis and Supports Bone Health
Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in your bone health. Low blood levels of this vitamin have been directly correlated to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Maintaining your daily intake of vitamin B12 can help lower the risk of developing this condition.
3. Prevents Birth Defects
Sufficient vitamin B12 levels are imperative to a healthy pregnancy. A deficiency in the beginning stages of pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects like neural tube defects and can eventually contribute to premature birth or miscarriages.
Appropriate vitamin B12 intake is also important for the prevention of brain and spinal cord birth defects.
4. Promotes Emotional Well-being
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in synthesizing and metabolizing the production of serotonin, which is a chemical responsible for uplifting moods. A low level of vitamin B12 can contribute to decreased serotonin production, which can lead to depression.
High vitamin B12 levels have been linked to effective treatment outcomes and an increasing probability of overcoming major depressive disorder (MDD).
5. Decreases the Risk of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that predominantly affects your central vision. Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin B12 decreases homocysteine levels in the bloodstream, which will help in the development of age-related macular degeneration.
6. Boosts Energy
All varieties of B vitamins play an essential role in your body’s production of energy levels, even though they don’t necessarily provide energy themselves. One of the earliest signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is fatigue and lack of energy. Receiving daily amounts of this vitamin can improve your energy levels if you’re deficient.
7. Improves Brain Health
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with memory loss, in particular, older adults. This vitamin plays an essential role in preventing brain atrophy, which is the loss of neurons in the brain and is often associated with memory loss or dementia.
Consumed on a regular basis, vitamin B12 can help improve memory loss and promote cognitive function.
8. Dissolves Easily in Water
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by the body. Since they are eliminated in urine, a continuous daily supply is required.
9. Improves Heart Health
This vitamin can decrease homocysteine, which is a common amino acid that has been linked to increased risk of heart disease. But more research is needed to understand the relationship between vitamin B12 and cardiovascular health.
10. Supports Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails
Sufficient B12 intake is important for your hair, nails and skin. However, if you are well-nourished, consuming rich vitamin B12 foods are unlikely to improve your skin, nail strength or hair health.
11. Vitamin B12 Is Found In Everyday Foods
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, especially meat and dairy products. Luckily for those on vegans diets, fortified foods can be good sources of this vitamin too. Other foods that contain vitamin B12 are the following:
- Nondairy milk
- Fortified nutritional yeast
- Organ meats
12. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms Can Be Easily Overlooked
If you have vitamin B12 deficiency, you could become anemic. A mild deficiency may cause no symptoms. But if left unattended, it may lead to symptoms like the following:
- Weakness, fatigue or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite or gas
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness and problems walking
- Vision loss
- Mental problems like depression, memory loss or behavioral changes
- Pale skin
If you happen to experience any of the mentioned symptoms, it’s recommended to either consume food with high amounts of vitamin B12 or take supplements until the symptoms have subsided.
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