Lately, Vitamin B12 has been getting a lot of attention as one of the vitamins that are essential to the body’s ability to function properly. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, people in California are lining up to get shots, supplements, or sprays that contain Vitamin B12.
There’s reason for the interest, said Dr. Zhaoping Li, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who was quoted by the newspaper. "B12 is essential for everyone," he said. It also is known for boosting energy.
Here are six essential things everyone should know about Vitamin B12, including how to make sure it’s part of the daily diet:
1. It helps the body function. According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin B12 supports a healthy nerve and blood cell system; it also prevents some types of anemia.
2. It gives people energy. With too low amounts of Vitamin B12, some people may experience symptoms ranging from weakness and low energy to a loss of appetite.
3. It wards off memory loss. Some studies show that sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 can help with memory loss. That’s why many people often describe Vitamin B12 as a brain food.
4. Tests can help determine deficiencies. If you’re not sure you’re deficient in Vitamin B12 or other vitamins and minerals, your physician can perform tests to determine your levels.
5. Certain foods have high amounts of Vitamin B12. People who are diligent about maintaining a healthy diet can absorb the vitamin through these foods — beef, fish, turkey, chicken, and eggs.
6. Some people are at higher risk for deficiencies than others. Vegans, vegetarians, and older people are at risk for developing deficiencies in Vitamin B12. Because meats, poultry, and fish are the types of foods that have higher amounts of Vitamin B12, vegans and vegetarians may have concerns about getting adequate amounts. Also, many adults over the age of 50 start experiencing conditions that cause the stomach to produce less acid — the key way for B12 to be absorbed in the body. As a result, one in 31 adults over the age of 50 has a deficiency, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.