Vit. B12 or cobalamin is essential for the proper functioning of your body. Its sources include animal products or supplements and injections.
It allows proper DNA synthesis and RBC formation and promotes nerve cell function.
The following are the scientific benefits of Vit. B12 :
- Aids Anemia Prevention and RBC formation
Deficiency in B12 levels can prevent proper development in RBCs as they may make them larger and oval in shape. This may cause megaloblastic anemia, which hinders RBC ability to for proper movement.
This can also cause weakness and fatigue.
- Could Prevent Several Birth Defects
Ample B12 content in the blood is important for healthy pregnancies. Fetus’s nervous system and brain require ample B12 levels for proper development.
B12 deficiency may cause birth defects, miscarriage, and premature birth. Those who had below 250 mg per dl levels of Vit. B12 had 3 chances of bearing children with various birth defects.
Necessary B12 levels must be maintained for an defect-free pregnancy.
- May Prevent Osteoporosis and Aid Bone Health
Adequate B12 content may be vital for bone health. A study showed those having a B12 deficiency to have a lower bone density as well.
This increases the chances of having osteoporosis. Women are more susceptible to this issue.
- Reduces Risks Of Suffering From Macular Degeneration
This is a condition that affects the eyes. Having adequate Vitamin B12 levels can prevent related risks. It can also lower homocysteine levels, which are amino acids found in the bloodstream.
High homocysteine levels can cause macular degeneration. A study which involved 5000 women, who were aged 40+ found Vitamin B6, folic acid & Vit. B12 as useful for reducing risks. Risks lowered by 34% in normal cases and 41% in severe cases when supplements were taken for 7 years.
- Improves Your Depression Symptoms and Mood
While this process is not fully understood, B12 has a important role to play in metabolizing and synthesizing serotonin, which regulates the mood.’
Hence, deficiency in Vit. B12 is likely to cause depressed moods. To counteract this, B12 supplements are recommended.
Vit. B12 deficiency is linked to 2x risks of facing severe depression.
However, the supplement’s effects in this regard are effective only if there is a pre-existing Vit. B12 deficiency.
- May Prevent Neuron Loss
Vit. B12 could reduce memory loss and prevent atrophy in your brain. Those in the early stages of dementia showed omega fatty acids and Vit. B12 to slow mental decline.
However, more studies are required for cementing this claim.
- May Provide Energy Boosts
Vit. B12 plays an active role in energy production, although it doesn’t provide energy on its own.
While B12 supplements have no use in people with ample levels, it may improve fatigue symptoms in people who suffer from a Vit. B12 deficiency.
- Decreases Homocysteine and improves heart health
Homocysteine, an amino acid, has links to increased heart disease risks. Having a B12 deficiency can elevate homocysteine levels. Increasing B12 intake may correct this situation.
However, no concrete scientific evidence exists for this claim. More studies are needed in this aspect.
- Enables Healthy Nails, Hair, and Skin
Low Vit. B12 levels may cause angular stomatitis, vitiligo, hair changes, nail discoloration, hyperpigmentation, and other dermatologic symptoms. Increasing B12 intake can help resolve these conditions.
However, supplements won’t work effectively if you already have ample Vit. B12 daily intake.
Who Could Have A Vit. B12 Deficiency?
6% of those aged 60+ in the UK and USA have Vit. B 12 deficiencies. Over 20% have borderline or low levels.
Those who are risk include:
- Proton pump inhibitor users
- Metformin users
- Those on a vegan-based diet
- People who have undergone bowel resection or bariatric surgery and similar surgeries
- Those with certain gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease
- Older adults
HCL production in older people is diminished, causing lower B12 absorption. Vit. B12 is found only in various animal products, thus jeopardizing vegans.
Deficiency may be treated via intramuscular or oral injections.
Vitamin B12 aids bodily functions, maintains healthy skin and hair, improves one’s mood, support bone health and prevents birth defects.
Receiving ample amounts of Vit. B12 via your diet is highly important.