You know that vitamins are essential for bodily health. Vitamins perform many different roles in the body, and B12 is no exception. In fact, Vitamin B12 contributes to multiple essential bodily processes, so there are many potential benefits of supplementing with B12.
What Exactly is B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for nervous system functioning, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis. B12 contains the mineral cobalt, and the most common metabolically active form of it is known as methylcobalamin.
The functions of vitamin B12 are truly myriad. B12 is a cofactor (essential helper) to methionine and other compounds in the body, contributing to the formation of DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids, and almost 100 other substrates. This means it is very important.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day for B12 is 2.4 micrograms for adult men and women. It is slightly higher for women who are pregnant or nursing. Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Those on a vegan or vegetarian diet are most likely to become deficient in B12.
The Benefits of Taking B12
Considering the essential nature of vitamin B12, there are many potential benefits to taking an oral B12 supplement. This is especially true for those on a diet with little-to-no foods that contain B12. Here are some of the many potential benefits of taking vitamin B12:
Heart health: B12 contributes to the prevention of heart disease in multiple ways. B12 helps reduce elevated homocysteine levels, which is known to be a significant contributing factor to heart disease. Evidence suggests that B12 can also help regulate high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Preventing neurodegenerative disease: B12’s contribution to neurological health makes it a prime nutrient for helping to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, memory loss, and even brain atrophy (the loss of neurons), This benefit is most probable in those with a B12 deficiency.
Maintaining energy levels: Taking a B12 supplement can bolster your energy levels for more than one reason. First, B12 contributes to the metabolization of carbohydrates, which are the body’s most accessible source of energy. Additionally, B12 supports muscular contraction and endurance because it is necessary for neurotransmitter signaling.
Mitigating depression: B12 contributes to serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and positive feelings. Studies have shown a correlation between B12 and depressive symptoms; B12 deficiency has been linked to depressive disorders.
Preventing macular degeneration: B12’s effect on lowering homocysteine might contribute to reduced risk of macular degeneration (an eye disease that can lead to blindness) in older adults.
Promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails is another benefit of taking vitamin B12. Those deficient in B12 might experience nail discoloration, skin hyperpigmentation, and negative changes to the hair. Supplementing with B12 can help prevent these in individuals who are already deficient in B12.
If any of the above benefits seem to ring important to you or your family members, then adding a B12 supplement to your regime can be very worthwhile. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of supplementing with B12.