What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is an often overlooked nutrient that plays an important role in your heart health, DNA synthesis, and so much more. Unfortunately, low levels may go unnoticed due to a lack of knowledge about your vitamin B12 intake. In this article, we explain how boosting your vitamin B12 levels can help you feel energized and achieve peak overall health.
Vitamin B12—also known as cobalamin—is an essential complex B-vitamin in the human body. It plays key roles in DNA synthesis, oxygen transportation, energy production, and nervous system function.
Unlike the other B vitamins, some of your vitamin B12 intake is stored in the liver. Plus, a small amount of B12 is synthesized by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. However, even these doses don't always provide enough vitamin B12 to meet the dietary guidelines for young adults and older people. Because of the essential role they play in the human body, it's imperative that healthy people replenish their levels of B12 through modern nutrition and/supplementation. Get enough B12 on a regular basis with the help of dietary supplements designed for you.
Dietary Sources of B12
Vitamin B12 is obtained from animal products such as dairy products, eggs, liver, red meat, poultry, and seafood. A small amount of your daily value may also be found in fermented soybean products like tempeh. Because animal foods are the best source of vitamin B12, vegans and vegetarians may experience a B12 deficiency. If this applies to you, the best way to improve your endurance and low vitamin B12 levels are with tablets of this dietary vitamin.
How Vitamin B12 Works
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating a variety of metabolic and physiological processes. It is involved in many different areas of the body and is a common form of nutrients for the blood, nerves, and gut. A systematic review is an indicator for all the places and receptors that rely on a positive vitamin B12 status to function properly.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of SAM-e (or S-adenosylmethionine), a methyl group donor used in methylation reactions in the body (2). It helps to synthesize DNA and RNA. These are important nucleic acids that carry the genetics of each living cell and pass on your cellular blueprint each time a cell divides.
B12's role in methylation ensures the proper development and function of the nervous system by assisting with the production of the myelin sheath (3). This is a covering that protects nerve fibers and ensures rapid nerve transmission so you can respond to stimuli quickly. This has a significant effect on your endurance and helps guarantee that no permanent damage comes to your nerves from outside pollution.
Risk Factors for a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Many adults are living with sub-optimal B12 levels since this vitamin is found primarily in animal products. Naturally, this means vegans and vegetarians who don't eat animal foods may be at increased risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, people with low hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach are at risk for B12 deficiency as they have trouble with B12 absorption. This often affects older adults over the age of 50 as stomach acid levels decline with aging (1). Digestive disorders, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and certain medications also increase the risk of B12 deficiency.
If you think you may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, it's important you learn the signs and neurological symptoms. Especially if you are at higher risk, be aware of the signs you aren't getting enough vitamin B12 intake. Some of the symptoms of low B12 include:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Numbness and tingling of the extremities
- Poor concentration
Fortunately, B12 supplements are widely available to correct deficiencies. and help you get your adequate intake and high doses of vitamin B12 that you may be missing from food products alone.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 levels affect healthy adults in various ways. Whether you're at the risk of deficiency, or just looking to improve your overall health, consider the positive effect of vitamin B12 on your body. Here are some evidence-based health benefits of consuming vitamin B12.
Supports Healthy Blood Cell Formation
Vitamin B12 is involved in the formation of healthy red blood cells needed to transport oxygen to each cell, tissue, and organ in your body. Without sufficient B12, you may develop megaloblastic anemia, a condition that causes malformed red blood cells (4). This results in fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness as your cells are deprived of the oxygen necessary to produce energy and function optimally. This can also lead to heart disease, anemia, or problems with cognition throughout your different systems due to oxygen shortage and low dietary intake.
As is the case with all the complex B vitamins, B12 is involved in converting dietary fats and proteins into usable energy in the mitochondria of the cell. Without the proper intake of this important nutrient, you'll feel tired and slow throughout your day because your cells aren't producing enough energy. By ensuring your cells produce energy efficiently you'll have more capacity to perform mental and physical tasks optimally without cognitive impairment.
Promotes Cognitive Function
Its role in the development and function of the nervous system makes vitamin B12 a key nutrient for cognitive function and health. Even moderately low folate levels are associated with poor cognitive function and the development of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease (5, 6). Improve your memory and general neurology when you supplement your vitamin B12 shortage with a normal vitamin intake.
B12 is an important mood-boosting nutrient, and a deficiency significantly increases your chances of suffering from depression or other mental health issues. Enough vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin and dopamine. Healthy levels of these "feel good" neurotransmitters balance brain health and promote feelings of happiness and motivation.
Research has shown that depressed patients respond well when conventional medication is combined with vitamin B12 supplementation (7). If you have depressive symptoms, talk to your health professionals about your medical condition to see if this guideline for supplementation may be a good idea for you.
Supports Heart Health
If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it's important to optimize your vitamin B12 status via a balanced diet and supplementation. Vitamin B12 reduces levels of an inflammatory protein called homocysteine. This is promising because elevated levels of homocysteine in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease (8). Eliminate a high risk of cardiovascular disease or heart attack when you commit to a regular supplemental vitamin for your B12 intake.
Make Vitamin B12 Part of Your Daily Diet
Okay, you knew it was coming... time for a shameless plug. Do you think the benefits of adding vitamin B12 to your daily diet could help you? Create a personalized daily vitamin pack with VitaRx that includes vitamin B12 and any other vitamins, minerals, or supplements you think could help. Start by adding vitamin B12 to your custom kit here!