Vitamin B12 is normally consumed when individuals are diagnosed with B12 deficiency. But Vitamin B12 benefits include managing the homocysteine levels in the blood, treating cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, etc. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is vital for the functioning of the brain, nerve tissue health, and the production of RBCs.
Like all other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. This implies that it can dissolve in liquid and circulate through the body. B12 can be stored in the body for up to 4 years, and anything in excess is got rid of through the urine.
Vitamin B12 is the largest and most complex B vitamin found only in animal fats and eggs. If it has to be sourced through foods, then meat and eggs have to be included in your diet. Vegans and vegetarians can derive the B12 supplement benefits by including Vitamin B12 supplements in their diet.
What are the Vitamin B12 benefits?
The health benefits of Vitamin B12 are diverse. Some of them are discussed below:
1. Prevents Anaemia
Red blood cell production is greatly aided by vitamin B12 in your body. The generation and development of red blood cells are hampered by low vitamin B12 levels.
A vitamin B12 shortage causes the red blood cells, which normally are tiny and round, to grow and become oval. Megaloblastic anaemia is brought on by the larger and atypical shape of the red blood cells, which prevents them from entering the bloodstream at a normal rate. Anaemia prevents your body from producing enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your important organs. Weakness and weariness are potential effects of this.
2. Prevents Abnormalities in the Foetus
For a healthy pregnancy, adequate vitamin B12 levels are essential. Studies have shown that a foetus’s brain and nervous system need enough B12 from the mother to develop normally.
Early in pregnancy, vitamin B12 deficiency can enhance the chance of birth abnormalities such as neural tube disorders. Additionally, a mother’s lack of vitamin B12 may result in an early birth or miscarriage.
According to one study, women with vitamin B12 levels below 250 mg/dL had a threefold increased risk of having a baby with birth abnormalities compared to those with appropriate levels. In comparison to women with levels above 400 mg/dL, the risk was five times higher for women with a vitamin B12 deficiency and levels below 150 mg/dL.
3. Prevents Osteoporosis and Supports Bone Health
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 benefits the health of your bones. Studies have revealed that those who were vitamin B12 deficient also had lower bone mineral densities than usual Over time, bones with low mineral density can deteriorate and become fragile, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Insufficient vitamin B12 levels have also been linked to osteoporosis and poor bone health, particularly in women. Improve the Vitamin B12 levels to derive the Vitamin B12 uses by either including meat and fish in your diet or by consuming Vitamin B12 supplements.
4. Enhances Mood and Reduces the Symptoms of Depression
Vitamin B12 enables the synthesis and metabolism of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which controls mood. Therefore, a vitamin B12 deficiency may result in less serotonin being produced, which could result in depression. Studies suggest the usage of vitamin B12 supplements to lessen the symptoms of depression in those who are vitamin B12 deficient.
Studies have shown that a combination of antidepressants and Vitamin B12 administered to patients who were Vitamin B12 deficient and also had depression experienced reduced depressive symptoms when compared to patients who were on antidepressants alone.
Studies have also shown that Insufficient vitamin B12 was linked to a twofold increased risk of severe depression. High vitamin B12 levels have also been associated with improved treatment results and a higher likelihood of recovering from major depressive disorder (MDD).
The B12 supplement benefits are visible in the case of persons who are deficient in Vitamin B12 and are suffering from mood disorders and depression. But whether persons with normal B12 levels derive the same benefit is yet to be proved.
5. Reduces the Risk of Macular Degeneration
The age-related eye disease i.e., macular degeneration, will mainly affect your central vision. Adequate levels of Vitamin B12 can reduce the onset of this condition. Studies have shown that one of the health benefits of Vitamin B12 is to decrease homocysteine. Homocysteine is one of the amino acids found in your bloodstream.
Age-related macular degeneration is caused by higher levels of homocysteine. Experiments have shown that women over 40 years using a combination of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and Vitamin B6 supplements had a lower risk of macular degeneration.
Individuals with adequate levels of Vitamin B12 had a 34% lower risk of developing any form of macular degeneration.
6. Boosts Energy Levels
It has long been endorsed that B12 benefits include an energy boost. B Vitamins are no doubt essential to keep the energy level high, but they do not enhance the energy all by themselves. But a spike in the energy levels can be noticed in persons who take Vitamin B12 supplements when they are found to be Vitamin B12 deficient.
In actuality, lack of energy or exhaustion is one of the most prevalent early indicators of vitamin B12 deficiency.
7. Promotes Heart Health
Homocysteine, a common amino acid, is one of the reasons for an increased risk of heart disease. Your homocysteine levels rise if you have a severe vitamin B12 deficiency. According to studies, vitamin B12 helps lower homocysteine levels, which may lower your chance of developing heart diseases.
8. Supports Hair, Nail, and Skin Health
A sufficient amount of vitamin B12 is required to support healthy hair, skin, and nails because this vitamin is essential for cell development. Indeed, low vitamin B12 levels can result in a number of dermatological symptoms such as hyperpigmentation, discoloured nails, hair changes, vitiligo (patches of skin that have lost their colour), and angular stomatitis (inflamed, cracked mouth corners).
Reduction in the dermatologic symptoms is one of the benefits and visible improvements have been seen in the dermatological symptoms of persons deficient in Vitamin B12 on consuming the supplements.
However, taking a supplement is unlikely to improve the condition of your skin, nails, or hair if you have a balanced diet and have adequate levels of Vitamin B12.
9. Helps Prevent Dementia
Memory loss has been linked to inadequate levels of vitamin B12, particularly in older persons.
Loss of neurons in the brain is generally linked to dementia or memory loss. Vitamin B12 may help in preventing the loss of neurons and in turn enhance cognitive performance.
Studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acid and Vitamin B12 supplements, when consumed together, can delay mental impairment in the early stages of dementia.
According to another study, even vitamin B12 levels that are somewhat below average can affect memory. Moreover, those who are not clinically diagnosed with Vitamin B12 deficiency can derive B12 benefits by way of improved cognitive performance.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Who is at Risk?
A lack of vitamin B12 might happen in one of two ways – either you don’t get enough of it in your diet or your body can’t properly absorb it from the food you eat. Vitamin B12 deficiency risk factors for individuals are given below:
- Older people
- Those who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease
- Those who have undergone gastrointestinal procedures such as colon resection or bariatric surgery
- Those who follow a strict vegan diet
- Those who take metformin to regulate their blood sugar
- Those who take proton pump inhibitors to treat their persistent heartburn
Many elderly people have decreased hydrochloric acid output in their stomachs, which reduces the absorption of vitamin B12. Your doctor could advise intramuscular vitamin B12 injections to boost your levels if your body has trouble absorbing it.
The natural form of vitamin B12 is only present in animal fats and to some extent in dairy products and so vegans are generally vitamin B12 deficient. They can derive the benefits from vegan B12 supplements.
Vitamin B12 benefits are manifold. It is essential for various bodily functions and may enhance your health in several ways, including preventing serious birth defects, promoting bone health, elevating mood, and preserving the health of your skin and hair.
It’s essential to consume adequate vitamin B12 through your food. However, supplements are an easy method to improve your B12 intake if you have trouble getting enough or have a health issue that interferes with absorption.