Recently, vitamin B12 supplements have been packed into the shelves. You’ve probably seen chewable gummies and capsules in the aisles of local grocery stores and pharmacies. Now it’s time to ask, what’s all the hype around this essential nutrient?
In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of what vitamin B12 is exactly and some of the health benefits of this nutrient.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is used for red blood cell formation, nerve function, and DNA production. The Mayo Clinic states that it is quite rare to have a deficiency of B12 vitamins, as your body can store it for several years. However, following a diet low in meat products, such as a vegan or vegetarian diet, may increase your risk of deficiency. In addition, older people are more likely to be deficient in B vitamins.
According to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, mood disorders (such as depression and confusion), and memory problems. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough B12 vitamins in your diet.
Main sources of B12
According to the Mayo Clinic, the best sources of B12 vitamins are animal foods such as poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Some foods have B12 added during processing. Fortified breakfast cereals or some over-the-counter yeasts are two examples of this phenomenon.
People who strictly follow, given the fact that vitamin B12 is primarily of animal origin Vegetarian or vegan diet It can be difficult to meet this nutrient requirement. In these cases, vitamin B12 can be supplemented. Two common ways to supplement B12 outside of the diet are to use oral supplements or injections.
Seven Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Here are the health benefits backed by the seven sciences of vitamin b12.
1. Reduce the risk of anemia
According to the Mayo Clinic, anemia is a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. This means that blood cannot properly transport oxygen to all parts of the body and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, cold limbs, shortness of breath, and weakness.
Given its role in erythropoiesis, it makes sense that one of the benefits of vitamin B12 is the prevention of anemia. A deficiency of vitamin B12 causes the body’s red blood cells to grow too large and become irregularly shaped. This prevents them from moving properly throughout the body, causing a particular type of anemia called “megaloblastic anemia.”
2. May reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Given the fact that vitamin B12 is very important in DNA function, it makes sense that it is also an important component of bone formation.
A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that people with higher vitamin B12 levels had higher bone mineral density. Lower bone mineral density is an indicator of osteoporosis. This study showed that individuals who do not have adequate vitamin B12 storage may be at risk for osteoporosis.
3. May improve heart health
Homocysteine is a component of amino acids or proteins. When the protein is broken down, homocysteine becomes one of the products. Studies have shown that high levels of homocysteine are risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease or heart disease. In humans, high levels of homocysteine usually indicate a deficiency of folic acid (vitamin B9) or vitamin B12. )
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin B12 (along with other B vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin B6) can lower homocysteine levels. However, it is important to note that NIH reports that taking B12 supplements does not reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
It may be beneficial to look, especially if you are looking for a supplement to improve heart health Omega 3 fatty acid supplement instead of.
4. May reduce the risk of birth defects
As mentioned earlier, pregnant women are advised to add more B12 vitamins to their diet than the average adult. This is because vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with birth defects such as neural tube defects and complications during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women need to make sure that they meet the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 to prevent birth defects in their children.
5. May reduce the risk of depression
Depression is very common, according to the World Health Organization, affecting more than 264 million people worldwide. This mental health disorder can affect individuals of all ages.
A study of women’s health and aging in the United States found that vitamin B12 deficiency was more common among adult women with depression than women without depression. In fact, they found that people with vitamin B12 deficiency were more than twice as likely to be depressed as people without non-deficiency.
Another study conducted supports these results in a population of older people. A study in Rotterdam showed that older people who are deficient in vitamin B12 are more likely to develop depression.
Studies have also shown that vitamin B12 supplementation may improve the symptoms of depression. In a study published in the Open Neurology Journal, 100% of people with depression treated with vitamin B12 supplements showed reduced symptoms of depression after 3 months.
6. May improve your cognition
A study published in the American Academy of Neurology showed that levels of B12 markers in the body were associated with cognitive function and brain volume. The study found that when these markers showed vitamin B12 deficiency, total brain mass was reduced, which could lead to cognitive impairment.
Another study found that people with low vitamin B12 levels had lower memory and learning abilities. These findings demonstrate the importance of having adequate vitamin B12 storage for cognitive function.
7. May improve hair, skin and nail health
One of the most common reasons to take vitamin B-12 is its promised effects on hair, skin and nails. According to the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, vitamin B12 deficiency can generally cause hyperpigmentation, hair changes, skin changes, and glossitis (tongue inflammation). Taking sufficient amounts of B12 vitamins, either through a diet or supplements, can prevent the development of these negative reactions.
How Much Vitamin B12 Do You Need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults are recommended to take 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 per day. Some specific groups of adults require different levels of this nutrient. Pregnant women are recommended to take 2.6 mcg of B12 per day, and breastfeeding women are recommended to increase their daily dose of vitamin B12 to 2.8 mcg.
Given the fact that vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, your body absorbs as much as you need and excretes the rest in your urine. This means that taking more than the recommended amount of vitamin B12 has no benefit. In addition, this means that vitamin B12 is very low in toxicity and is very safe.
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, plays an important role in red blood cell formation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.As I discussed here, getting enough B vitamins, either by diet or supplements, may improve cognition, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of developing it. depression Or reduce depressive symptoms.
Although it is always desirable to get vitamins from the diet, vitamin B12 supplements are generally considered safe, especially for those who eat a diet low in animal foods such as meat, dairy products, and fish. Has been done.
If you’re worried about vitamin B12 levels, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to determine if the levels are actually low and if the supplement is appropriate.
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Seven Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 (Science Backed)
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