Vitamin B12: Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to vitamins, vitamin B12 often gets put on the b-team, especially because of vitamin C always stealing the limelight. Though B12 happens to play several important roles in our overall body function, even more so than you may have originally thought. This vitamin becomes even more important as you begin to get older. In case you missed my post Is Vitamin C Really Good for You?
Vitamin B12 is crucial for brain health, producing red blood cells, nerve tissue, and so much more. Here’s everything you need to know about vitamin B12. Keep reading to discover Vitamin B12: everything you need to know.
Please check with your medical advisor before taking any vitamins or supplements so they don’t interfere with the medications you are taking right now.
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Fun Facts about Vitamin B12
One of the important roles of this vitamin is to create DNA and red blood cells. Vegans and vegetarians run a higher risk of having the deficiency because most of the foods that contain the vitamin are meat, fish, and other animal products. How’s that for Vitamin B12: everything they need to know.
Our bodies do store the vitamin, but not for a very long period. That’s because vitamin B12 is water-soluble and is released over time when we urinate.
As we grow older, it becomes more important for our bodies to get enough of vitamin B12, but unfortunately, it becomes harder for our bodies to absorb it.
Those who have used alcohol heavily in the past or taken acid-reduction medication may have a harder time absorbing the vitamin.
Symptoms of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Confusion and difficulty thinking clearly
- Problems remembering
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
- Numb feeling in your hands or feet
- Difficulty with balance
- Permanent nerve or brain damage (might possibly lead to anemia)
- Greater chance of getting infections
- Higher risk of dementia and psychosis
Symptoms for Infants
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in infants can be extremely critical to the development of the baby.
- Feeding difficulty
- Reflex issues
- Growth development issues
- Face tremors and irregular movement
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Improves Mood as well as Reducing Depression
Do you ever feel irritable and moody, wondering what on Earth is wrong with you? You may think, maybe that’s just me, or maybe a shortage of vitamin B12 may have something to do with it. Vitamin B12 has been found to improve mood and depression conditions amongst patients. In case you missed my post on Why Vitamin D May Be Just What You Need
Supports Strong Bones
Bone mineral density is extremely important, even more so as you get older. Having the proper amount of vitamin B12 in your body prompts your bones to grow healthy and strong. Bones that begin to deteriorate over time increases the chances of you developing osteoporosis when you grow older (especially in women).
It May Reduce the Risk of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects your central vision. Too much of the amino acid homocysteine has been found to increase the chances of having the disease. Fortunately, vitamin B12 has been found to lower those harmful levels and reduce the risk.
Provides a Boost of Energy
Who couldn’t use a boost of energy? Vitamin B12 does not necessarily produce energy, but it does allow your body to produce that energy more efficiently. Fatigue happens to be one of the early signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Supports Skin, Hair, Nails Health
It’s the job of vitamin B12 to help your body produce healthy cells, including your skin, hair, and nail cells.
Improvement in Heart Health
When the amino acid levels of homocysteine are elevated for longer periods of time, it increases the chances of heart disease. Vitamin B12 in food has been found to actually reduce those levels, but at the present time, there are no studies to prove that the supplemental form has the same effect.
Vitamin B12 may prevent the loss of neurons in the brain. This keeps your brain functioning properly and helping maintain your memory as you grow older, and less likelihood of developing dementia.
Foods with Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 can be found naturally in animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs, as well as several dairy products. It’s not a vitamin that you will find too often in plant foods, so if you’re strictly vegan, you’ll want to be sure to take a vitamin B12 supplement to fill the gap. Here’s a small list of food sources that have high levels of vitamin B12.
- Fish (Salmon, trout, and especially Tuna)
- Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese
- Breakfast Cereal (Fortified)
- Soymilk (Fortified)
Supplements with B12
It’s highly encouraged that you get your vitamin B12 through the foods that you eat because supplements don’t typically help when you have a deficiency. But if you are a vegan, supplements will be the best way for you to get the vitamin that your body needs. Older people also struggle to get enough of the vitamin as well. Supplements with B12 can be taken orally or even as a nasal spray if you choose to do so.
How Much Should You Take?
It’s recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that adults and teens who are over the age of 14 should have at least 2.6 micrograms of vitamin B12 every single day. Women who are pregnant or lactating should take no more than 2.8 micrograms a day. Before you decide to start taking vitamin B12 you should speak with your doctor. Especially if you take other medications that might interfere with the supplements.
Side Effects from Too Much of the Vitamin
There are cases where people have broken out from acne from taking too much vitamin B12, but there are no reports of any harmful side effects from doing so. Taking too much of the vitamin is not considered to be toxic to our bodies, even if you take more than 1000-mcg doses of it. The injectable form of the supplement has been known to have traces of cyanide in it, but several fruits and vegetables that you eat also contain it with no side effects.
Now that you know the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, and also the many health benefits that the vitamin provides, I hope that you plan on implementing it more in your diet on a daily basis. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, at the very least, plan on taking the vitamin in supplement form to help your body get everything that it needs.
What did you find most surprising about vitamin B12 and its many health benefits? Please stock up on the vitamins you use most of the time. Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Vitamin B 12 AdobeStock_207163623 by Reichdernatur, Vitamin B12 Foods Deposit photos_99930184_s-2019
12 thoughts on “Vitamin B12: Everything You Need to Know”
Thanks for this info, Linda. Since I rarely eat animal products, I think I will increase my B12 supplementation.
Hi Roxanne, I read if you are vegan you need B12 according to the book “The China Study”. About 60-70% of my family is Vegan so B12 is what they take. I can’t talk my husband into it but, oh well. LOL! The Vegan part that is. Linda
I’ve read that as we get older, B12 isn’t absorbed as well when taken orally (it was in a book called “Could It Be B12?” with the same list of deficiency signs as you gave). Some doctors are willing to arrange for B12 injections, which can have a much better effect. I know my mother had them for quite a few years (maybe 3-4 times a year), back when we had a local doctor who still did house calls–she said it did give her something of a hot “flush” right afterwards, but then she felt so much better! That much-loved doctor was very often way before his time…
Hi Rhonda, oh my gosh, my mother would get B12 shots, I totally forgot that until you mentioned it. We must listen to our bodies, it’s hard, but we must. Linda
My brother without knowing it became low on B12 . We were on vacation and he woke me up
up, he was sweating and throwing up. He felt awful. We managed to get back home the next day and
he ended up at the ER, no one knew what was wrong. His regular Doctor at the VA Finally figured
it out after many trips to the ER and tests. They increased his B12 intake and it took care of the problem.
He will never forget to take his medicine. Such scary times.
Hi June, oh my gosh, how scary!!! I’m glad the doctors figured out what was wrong with him. Wow, great comment to let us all know this, thank you!! Linda
Hi my daughter has B12 defeciency and painful joints body everywhere…how can I help her..she doesnt eat cereals milk yoghurt.
HI Mpho, I would have her blood tested by your doctor and do what he suggests. Linda
Good article! I would like to add one thing…If you have type 2 diabetes and take metformin for it you may get to the point that you can’t absorb B12 and will need to take shots. I am not familiar with the spray form but sublingual tablets were ineffective for me. Good idea to get your level checked from time to time.
Hi JoEllen, I agree we need to get our levels checked from time to time. We must stay healthy now even more so. Life is crazy right now. Linda
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
HI Clariss, what are the two steps required for our body to absorb vitamin B12 from food? Linda