Vitamin B12is an essential vitamin that is necessary in a number of bodily functions such as forming healthy red blood cells and DNA synthesis as well as ensuring nerve cell health and optimal neurological function. Also called cobalamin, this vitamin is water soluble and is found in a variety of food sources such as fish and eggs. It is also available as an oral supplement and injectable.
A deficiency can result in a wide variety of health conditions that can vary in severity from fatigue to permanent neurological disorders. There are a number of benefits of Vitamin B12 that are obtainable from both food sources and supplementation.
1. Energy Booster
A B12 deficiency can result in severe fatigue or tiredness, especially during the day. Ensuring that there are sufficient levels of this vitamin available in the blood can reduce this symptom. Evidence also suggest that supplementation can result in an energy boost in those who are not deficient but are constantly tired.
2. Mental Health
Cobalamin is essential in the production of serotonin as well as the operation of this chemical on the brain and the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and produces positive feelings of happiness and well-being. The vitamin can therefore be used to treat and counteract the symptoms of depression and mood swings, especially in those who present with these mental health conditions as a result of a deficiency.
Another key benefit of Vitamin B12 is that it can delay mental decline and may therefore be beneficial for reducing the signs and symptoms of conditions such as senile dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. The vitamin aids in the repair of cells as well as protects the brain from degeneration and the loss of neurons. Adequate levels of B12 in the bloodstream can enhance cognitive function and improve memory, concentration and focus.
There are many illnesses, diseases and health conditions that can cause the deterioration or malfunction of the nerves in the human body. Not only does B12 protect the nerves and promote nerve function, but it can delay the progress of some of the conditions that result in nerve dysfunction or damage such as shingles or diabetes.
4. Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an age-related condition that results in the deterioration of vision. Common conditions include glaucoma and cataracts. Vitamin B12 assists in regulating homocysteine levels in the body which is a amino acid that has been linked to macular degeneration. However, research is still ongoing as to the other ways in which B12 can help delay and prevent age-related vision problems.
5. Bone Health
Research has revealed that a B12 deficiency is associated with lower bone density. This can result in conditions such as osteoporosis which causes bone loss or "porous bones. Bones that have low density are more fragile or brittle and therefore prone to breaking. One of the most important benefits of Vitamin B12is that it promotes strong healthy bone mass and density.
6. Red Blood Cell Generation
Vitamin B12 is critical to the production of healthy red blood cells in the body which are formed in the marrow of the bones. These red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and remove toxic carbon dioxide. This circulatory function is essential to all bodily function and maintaining homeostasis in the body. This key function of Vitamin B12 is also crucial to many of the other benefits.
7. Cardiovascular Disease
Taken together with folate, B12 can significantly decrease the risk of cardiovascular or heart disease, especially conditions that are related to ageing. This is thought to be due to the significant role that it plays in the formation of healthy red blood cells thereby promoting optimal blood circulation.
8. Maternity Benefits of Vitamin B12
Sufficient Vitmain B12 supplementation during pregnancy is beneficial to both the mother and the baby. It decreases the risk of miscarriage or premature birth and can prevent birth defects from developing. It is also essential to the healthy neurological and physical development of the baby in utero.
Proper B12 supplementation, whether oral or injectable, is highly recommended for every person as it can be difficult to receive adequate Vitamin B12 from food sources. It is also considered to be almost impossible to overdose on this vitamin although there are some side effects that are related to supplementation.