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National Institutes of Health defines vitamin B12 as a vital vitamin B that is needed for proper functioning of the nerve tissue and brain’s health. It helps tackle health issues like mental dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, clogged arteries, diabetes, weak bones and more. Vitamin B12 can even be applied on the skin mixed with avocado oil for psoriasis and eczema. You can consume it through adequate diet or through tablets and supplements.
What Is Vitamin B12?
Often referred to as Cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that synthesizes red blood cells. It is considered as the most structurally complicated vitamin. It is naturally found in meat, fish and dairy products while industrially produced through bacterial fermentation synthesis.
Benefits Of Vitamin B12 Tablets
B12 is a crucial vitamin for the functioning of your brain and nervous system. It is also involved in the formation of red blood cells. Your cell’s metabolism depends of the vitamin B12 level of your body. Other benefits of this vitamin are briefly stated as follows:
Benefits Of Vitamin B12 For Health
1. Treats Anemia
Sufficient intake of vitamin B12 helps treat low red blood cell counts that result in a condition called anemia. According to Acda Med Scand, vitamin B12 supplements can prevent and resolve the effects of anemia.
2. Prevents Eye-Diseases
Researches show that the intake of vitamin B12 helps prevent eye diseases like age related macular degeneration. Harvard Medical School confirms that vitamin B12 reduces the risk of developing eye diseases by lowering homocysteine levels.
3. Prevents Major Birth Defects
A fetus’ brain and nervous system require sufficient vitamin B12 to develop properly. According to a study by University Health News, the risk of premature birth and miscarriage is likely to be more amongst women with lower levels of vitamin B12.
4. Supports Bone Health And Prevents Osteoporosis
Bones with decreased levels of vitamin B12 have delicate and fragile structures leading to the risk of osteoporosis. Studies from National Institute of Heath state that adequate intake of vitamin B12 can strengthen bones, especially in women.
5. Improves Symptoms Of Depression
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. This vitamin helps increase the generation of serotonin production which helps lift your mood and prevents the effects of depression. MRC Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory also backs the fact that vitamin B12 has vital effects on neurological functioning, dealing with stress and mood regulations.
6. Benefits The Brain
Lower levels of vitamin B12 result in the loss of memory in older adults. Supplementing with this vitamin can improve memory, even in the absence of a clinically diagnosed deficiency. A study from the National Institutes of Health suggests that vitamin B12 also benefits the cognitive function to lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzeimer’s and dementia.
7. Improves Heart Health
Heart diseases are a common cause of death across the globe. The University of California, San Francisco states that sufficient intake of vitamin B12 keeps homocysteine (a common amino acid) levels in control, which in turn reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Benefits Of Vitamin B12 For Skin
Adds Glow To Skin
Deficiency of vitamin B12 can affect the body’s cell production resulting in pale and yellow skin. Dermatologist Greene says that the intake of adequate vitamin B12 can restore a healthy glow back into your skin.
Benefits Of Vitamin B12 For Hair
Improves Hair Growth
Vitamin B12 stimulates the growth of red blood cells, which are carried to the scalp and hair follicles to improve hair growth. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health quotes that vitamin B12 also helps strengthen and nourish your hair for better density.
It is important to keep yourself adequately packed with vitamin B12 to stay well nourished and healthy.
Deficiency Of Vitamin B12
According to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies across the world. Vegans who avoid dairy products and meat are unable to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 leading to frequent deficiencies. Some of the other causes of this deficiency are constipation, loss of appetite and weight. The deficiency of vitamin B12 is commonly referred to as anemia.
Even the slightest of deficiency can trigger symptoms like depression, confusion, memory problems and fatigue. Some people even suffer from a higher risk of developing psychosis, mania and dementia.
Risks And Precautions When Consuming Vitamin B12 Capsules
Most of the times, vitamin B12 supplements are not associated with any side effects. However, in quite rare cases, serious allergic reactions are reported when vitamin B12 is injected. Triggered vitamin B12 can lead to rosacea and acne too.
Special precautions and warnings that should be followed:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume vitamin B12 by mouth in amounts more than 2.6-2.8 mcg per day.
- Avoid the use of vitamin B12 after a surgical stent placement as it may increase the risk of blood vessel narrowing.
- Do not use vitamin B12 if you are allergic to cobalt and cobalamin.
- Avoid the intake of vitamin B12 if you suffer from hereditary eye diseases as it may harm the optic nerve even more, thereby leading to blindness.
- Consuming vitamin B12 can rarely cause low potassium levels due to the production of new red blood cells. If this condition hits you, you may start to experience side effects like muscle cramps, weakness and irregular heartbeat. You must consult a doctor immediately in this case.
How To Consume Vitamin B12 Capsules?
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a variety of animal foods and some fortified products. Beef liver, fish, eggs, milk, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast and more are all good sources of vitamin B12.
If you are consuming extended-release tablets of vitamin B12, then you must swallow them as a whole and not crush or chew them. Doing so will release the drug all at once and will lead to the risk of side effects.
If you opt for wafers or chewable tablets, then chew them thoroughly before swallowing.
A study by The National Institutes of Health states that the dose for vitamin B12 should go up to 6 mcg for vegans, breastfeeding women should opt for 2.8 mcg and pregnant women should pick 2.6 mcg. Adults over 50 years should use supplements with 100-500 mcg of vitamin B12 while higher doses can go up to 1000 mcg. Adults under 50 can consume 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 as a regular dosage.
Some Fun Facts About Vitamin B12
- Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for dementia.
- Heavy drinking increases the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- The body does not store vitamin B12 for long.
- The deficiency of vitamin B12 increases with age.
Vitamin B12 is available in natural form in dairy products and meat. However, sometimes, it may not be possible for the body to absorb adequate amounts of the same due to unhealthy eating habits and vegetarian or vegan diets. In this case, it becomes essential to intake vitamin B12 supplements in the form of capsules. These make your neurons work properly while synthesizing red blood cells.