Your guide to the B12 vitamin
One of the most essential vitamins for bodily health is vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin. Although it’s needed for your body to perform certain functions and boost overall health, your body doesn’t actually create it naturally. You have to consume it through animal products or an oral supplement or injection. Those with vegan or vegetarian diets are at great risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, as are those with digestive diseases like Crohn’s and celiac disease. Here’s a guide to this essential vitamin: its benefits, which foods contain it, and a general Q&A.
1. B12 encourages red blood cell formation
One of the primary benefits of B12 is the role it plays in helping produce red blood cells in bone marrow. These cells keep the blood healthy and pumping at a steady rate. However, those deficient in B12 produce red blood cells which are larger and more oval than their healthy counterparts.
These unhealthy blood cells have trouble moving from bone marrow to the bloodstream, which causes megaloblastic anemia. Those with this type of anemia frequently feel highly fatigued and weak. However, B12 prevents this illness, helping to keep your blood healthy and flowing.
2. Can prevent birth defects
Pregnant women should take a healthy amount of B12, either from food or oral means. Recent studies have found that the brains of fetuses need an adequate amount of B12 to develop properly and form without problem.
If pregnant mothers don’t have a sufficient supply of B12 at the start of pregnancy, the risk of birth defects, like neural tube defects, increases. In addition, B12 deficiencies may also lead to miscarriage. Pregnant mothers who need to increase their vitamin B12 intake, or others who may be deficient, can take oral supplements like HealthImpaq Premium Liquid Vitamin B12.
3. Supports bone health
In one study of more than 2,500 adults, those with B12 deficiency had lower than average bone density, while those who maintained a steady level at average or above average density of bone. In addition, vitamin B12 also increased heart function, greatly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Strong bone density is important to prevent bone-based diseases like osteoporosis, and those with fragile bones are more prone to breaking bones over a prolonged period of time. Additionally, studies have confirmed this link between osteoporosis and low B12 levels, especially in women.
4. Reduces risk of macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a disease which affects your eyes, particularly your central vision. The disease is common in those of older age but maintaining healthy B12 levels may actually prevent risk of the disease, even the elderly.
Researchers have observed B12 lowering levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in your bloodstream. Elevated levels of this acid has been associated with increased risk of macular degeneration based on age factors. The evidence was further bolstered in a study which included five thousand women over the age of forty.
5. May improve symptoms of depression
Although more research is still being conducted into this particular effect of vitamin B12, early research indicates that the vitamin may elevate mood and prevent symptoms of depression. Vitamin B12 does this by synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a chemical which primary in regulating mood and stress responses.
Lack of B12 most likely leads to decreased serotonin, which in turn depresses mood and which can lead to depression over a long enough period of time. High vitamin B12 levels are frequently linked to greater outcomes and increased recovery odds for those suffering from major depressive disorder. While boosting low B12 levels generally helps those with depression, research is less concrete for those who already have adequate levels of the vitamin.
6. Prevents the loss of neurons
One of the most startling links to B12 deficiency has been that of memory loss and other nervous system problems. Those with lower B12 levels have been shown to have greater severity and frequency of memory loss, especially older adults. B12 helps prevent this problem because it reduces the chance of brain atrophy, or the loss of neurons in the brain.
This atrophy is frequently linked to neurological problems like memory loss and dementia. One study used a combination of B12 and omega-3 fatty acid supplements to show a slowed mental decline in those taking the supplements. B12 provides many beneficial effects for the nervous system on top of preventing brain atrophy. Though more research is needed, the initial results have been promising.
7. Boosts energy
It’s long been known that B12 improves energy and has been touted frequently as the go-to product for those needing a pick me up. In fact, all B vitamins play an important role in producing energy, though they don’t produce energy directly.
Those with low vitamin B12 levels can take the supplement to improve energy levels, though individuals with sufficient amounts of the vitamin actually show greatly reduced benefit in energy levels when consuming vitamin B12. One of the tell-tale signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, accurately enough, is a frequent showing of fatigue or lack of energy.
8. Foods with high B12
There are a number of foods you can eat every day to increase your intake of vitamin B12 without resorting to oral supplements or injections. The vitamins is found in many types of fish and shellfish, such as clams, sardines, tuna, trout, and salmon.
Additionally, there are many types of grains which possess vitamin, especially those which have been fortified. These include fortified cereal and fortified nutritional yeast. Finally, many types of meat and dairy products contain high amounts of the vitamin, foods like animal liver and kidneys, beef, eggs, and milk and other dairy products.
How much B12 does your body need daily?
The recommended daily dosage for B12 is only 2.4 micrograms, though you can take higher amounts safely, as any excess will simply pass through your urine.
Does vitamin B12 help you lose weight?
No, vitamin B12 has not been linked to weight loss. Although, the vitamin does produce energy, which can be helpful for losing weight.
Is Vitamin B12 good for energy?
Yes, vitamin B12 is a great source of energy. In fact, it’s one of the best sources of energy that we know of today.
Is Vitamin B12 important for pregnancy?
Yes, vitamin B12 is extremely important for pregnancy, as it helps prevent many birth defects and can even prevent miscarriages.