Essential nutrients are one of the major nutrients required to maintain the overall physical fitness of an individual.
Vitamins and minerals are required by the body to boost the immune system, support normal growth and maintain the functioning of cells and organs.
This article is your guide to get you acquainted with the effective health benefits of Vitamin B12 and how our body benefits from it.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin, one of the B-complex vitamins, is an essential nutrient that performs vital functions inside the body. Being a water-soluble vitamin, it needs to be regularly taken from the diet.
The major sources of Vitamin B12 are in animal products like meat, fish, and dairy products. For vegetarians, fortified cereals are the substitute.
Effective Health benefits of vitamin B12
1) Formation of RBC and preventing anemia
Vitamin B12 helps in producing red blood cells which ultimately favours the transportation of oxygen and blood to various parts of the body.
Upon its deficiency, the RBCs lose their regular smalls and round shape and become large and oval.
This irregular shape hinders their movement from bone marrow to bloodstream thus leading to anemia (megaloblastic).
An anemic person suffers lack of blood in the body and experiences frequent fatigue and weakness.
To prevent anemia symptoms, read Ten Super Drinks To Boost Your Immune System
- Keep up the bone health and prevent osteoporosis
Vitamin B12 is one of the major nutrients required to maintain good bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
A study of almost 2,500 adults found that people who were deficient in vitamin B12 also had lower than the normal bone mineral density.
Lack of Vitamin B12 leads to fragile bones which can lead to fractures and porosity.
Osteoporosis is more prevalent in women as compared to men. Menstruation is one of the major reasons women need to keep up with a vitamin and iron-enriched diet to prevent weakness.
Read Homemade Energy Drink For Weakness (Women’s Edition) to boost your energy and prevent weakness.
2) Helps in mood relaxation and alleviating depression
Although the research in this area is limited, it is claimed that Vitamin B12 helps in favoring a relaxing and good mood.
A study found that vitamin B12 deficiency leads to a twofold increase in severe depression.
The science behind this is the decreased serotonin production which is the primary hormone in balancing the mood.
Many people consume supplements in order to uplift their depressed moods when the condition is not close to getting better.
3) Boosting energy levels
Vitamin B12 is said to surge the energy levels in an individual. One of the earliest signs of its deficiency is fatigue or weakness.
The studies as to how and whether this vitamin actually boosts energy are quite limited and confirmed outcomes are not yet observed.
However, it’s a fact that all the vitamins, indirectly, support the energy production processes inside the body.
In order to boost your energy levels, look at 23 Foods Rich In Vitamin C | How to Maximize Their Absorption?
- Essential for neurons in the brain
Vitamin B12 is one of the key nutrients that assist in preventing the atrophy ( loss of neurons in the brain leading to dementia).
In older adults, Vitamin B12 deficiency is said to hamper memory to a large extent thus causing major memory loss conditions.
Older persons with early-stage dementia who were given vitamin B12 supplements to decrease their blood homocysteine levels showed a slower pace of cognitive and clinical decline in one randomized experiment.
Even a little or unnoticed deficiency of vitamin B12 can affect memory.
4) Prevent macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a disease associated with poor central eye vision. In severe cases, it can also lead to blindness in older adults.
Elevated levels of homocysteine, a type of amino acid in the bloodstream, are responsible for age-related macular degeneration.
Supplementing with vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6 may lessen this risk, according to a study including 5,000 women aged 40 and up.
More research is needed in this area to fully determine the effective health benefit of Vitamin B12 for the eyes.
What happens when Vitamin B12 is low or high?
Just as the lack of Vitamin B12 in the body can pose serious threats, its overconsumption through diet can also be harmful.
As already discussed, very low levels of Vitamin B12 may lead to anemia, osteoporosis, extreme fatigue and weakness, and may alleviate cognitive function.
On the other hand, unusually high Vitamin B-12 levels can be a symptom of liver disease, diabetes, or certain types of leukemia.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin B12 for most individuals is 2.4 mcg, while it is higher for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Symptoms associated with Vitamin B12 deficiency
Apart from anemia, Vitamin B12 deficiency also exposes various symptoms, which are-
- a touch of pale yellow on your skin
- a red and swollen tongue
- Pins and needles in the mouth (paraesthesia)
- altered vision
- changes in the way you walk and move
- reduction in mental capacities such as memory, comprehension, and judgment
Older adults and people with GI disorders are more likely to have Vitamin B12 deficiency as compared to those without this problem.
Vitamin B12 can negatively interact with some medications, such as-
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Histamine H2 receptor antagonists
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a very important water-soluble vitamin which the body regularly requires. Animal food sources are the best sources for getting the maximum and effective health benefits of Vitamin B12.