Vitamin B12 is most structurally complex vitamin of B Vitamins. It is basically a water-soluble vitamin so required in sufficient amount daily for bodily needs. As our body cannot produce vitamin B12, it should be included in daily foods or through supplements.
Vitamin B12 benefits our body in various forms including normal functioning of nervous system, synthesis of DNA, energy production and red blood cell production.
Daily recommendation for adults is about 2.4 mcg, though it’s higher for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If a person is lacking essential vitamin b12 then he or she is at risk of vitamin b12 deficiency.
The Vitamin also helps our body in many ways by doing normal functioning of brain, improving memory and prevent heart problems.
And if it is so crucial our body then it’s necessary to consume it daily. It’s found naturally in animal products, but not available in plant foods. However, it is present in many b12-fortified foods and supplements.
Here are the 12 vitamin B12 benefits on your body when you get enough of it:
1. Vitamin B12 may boost energy levels
If you are experiencing fatigue and low that means you are lacking of enough vitamin B12. Vitamin b12 plays an important role in production of energy and thus boost energy levels.
It converts carbs from food into usable glucose that is used as energy in body. If you doesn’t have enough b12 then the body fails to absorb carbs in form of glucose and you suffer from fatigue and weakness.
However, it is not actually providing energy, but it’s necessary in the production of energy. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, body does not store extra amounts and excrete through urine from body.
Go for animal products such as fish, meat, poultry products, eggs and dairy products or if you are vegetarian then you can include fortified cereal and milk products.
B12 supplements or injections are also there to boost energy levels.
2. Improves heart health
A deficiency of b12 can lead to rise of homocysteine levels which is considered as a major risk of heart diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
Studies shows that vitamin B12 protects against heart diseases by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood and improves heart health.
It also helps to control cholesterol levels and fight against high blood pressure.
3. Supports healthy skin, hair and nails
As b12 plays a role in cell production, it is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. People with b12 deficiency often have pale skin, hair problems and nail discoloration.
Vitamin b12 provides great benefits to skin by reducing dryness, redness, inflammation, acne and other blemishes. It helps in reproduction of cells and constant renewal of skin.
It prevents your nails and hair stronger and prevent breakage. It supports in renewal and restoration of cells in hair, skin and nails.
So if you are feeling that your skin, hair and nails are not the way you want then take a look at your b12 level in body.
4. Vitamin B12 prevents anemia
B12 aids in red blood cell formation which are responsible for transporting oxygen to organs. Low level of vitamin b12 results into reduced number of red blood cells and that causes megaloblastic anemia.
In this kind of anemia, cells become large and oval shape, thus unable to move through bloodstream at appropriate rate. It leads to symptoms like weakness and chronic fatigue.
Therefore, b12 is crucial for producing healthy red blood cells to prevent anemia.
5. Keeps nervous system healthy
Vitamin b12 is vital for normal functioning of nervous system. A lack of this vitamin damage the protective layer of myelin that surrounds and protect your nerves. If the synthesis of this central important component is not done properly then it can cause neurological damage.
The deficiency can cause “pins and needles” sensations or tingling in hands and feet, weakness or dementia in severe case. It’s important to take enough of b12 to keep nerve cells healthy and promotes normal neurological activities, emotional stability and mental health.
6. Prevents Memory Loss and minimize the risk of Neurodegenerative Disease
The vitamin plays an important role in improving cognitive function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer and dementia.
It helps to prevent loss of brain neurons (brain atrophy) that is associated with memory loss and dementia, especially in older adults.
An International Psychogeriatrics published a review about association of cognitive impairment or dementia and vitamin B12 with a conclusion that low levels of vitamin B12 definitely cause neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment.
Supplementing this vitamin may improve memory performance and lower the risk of various neurologic and psychiatric disturbances.
7. Vitamin B12 supports bone health
Vitamin b12 is involved in the DNA synthesis and present in all cells, including bone cells. Plus, it take a part in red blood cells formation which are formed in bone marrow.
Some bone-building cells also need adequate amount of this vitamin to function properly. So, if you are unable to get enough of b12, you will be at risk of anemia associated with osteoporosis as well as tend to fracture more bones.
8. Reduce the risk of eye disease – Macular Degeneration
A healthy eyesight is very important. Maintaining enough level of vitamin b12 helps to reduce the risk of eye disease called Macular Degeneration.
Macular Degeneration is kind of an eye disease that mainly affects your central vision. Lower levels of b12 and higher levels of homocysteine are at great risk of age-related macular degeneration.
In a study involving 5000 women aged 40 or older, decreased the risk of macular degeneration by 34-41% with sufficient intake of b12 along with B6 and folic acid.
9. Treats depression and help to regulate your mood
The effect of vitamin b12 on improving mood is not fully understood yet, but it helps to produces brain chemicals responsible for better mood.
This vitamin plays a vital role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps promote feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Vitamin B12 deficiency lead to low serotonin levels which results into depression and anxiety.
Studies have found that regular consumption of this vitamin supplements may improve depression symptoms.
If people who are deficient in b12 take antidepressants along with vitamin b12 then they are more likely to improve depressive symptoms compared to those who only take antidepressants.
Thus, b12 supplements treats depression and help to regulate your mood.
10. Promotes better sleep patterns
It’s not at all a normal thing to struggle falling asleep or not staying sleep. Vitamin B12 helps you to deal with sleep disorders and regulate your sleep-wake rhythm.
The vitamin increases the production of melatonin – the sleep hormone responsible for sleep regulation. Supplements used to treat the sleep-wake rhythm disorder and regulates sleep patterns.
11. Aids healthy metabolism
As it helps with the digestive enzymes production, which ensures the proper breakdown of food within stomach, vitamin b12 is necessary to promote healthy metabolism.
Now the question is how vitamin b12 benefits digestion system? It improves gut health by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria within the gut environment.
It also eliminates the harmful gut bacteria and thus preventing digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease.
12. Important for healthy pregnancy
Enough of vitamin b12 is necessary for healthy pregnancy. It is required to create DNA – the main component of the human body and necessary for growth and development.
B12 is important factor that interacts with folate to create new maternal and fetal cells, thereby preventing major birth defects such as neural tube defects in the newborn.
It’s important to take appropriate amount of vitamin b12 to prevent miscarriage or premature birth.
Vitamins are essential part of body for all organs to work perfectly. Maintaining enough level of b12 in body helps our body to work properly from head to toe. Directly or indirectly b12 is involved in each and every function of human body to work properly.
Most of us get required amount of vitamin b12 from diet, but if you are not including any animal or dairy products then you need to get it from outside supplements.
As it is a crucial element for working of major bodily functions, maintaining a healthy level of this vitamin to benefits your body and stay healthy.