Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamine, is one of the most important nutrients required for many vital biological functions in the body. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause symptoms like exhaustion, brain fog, headaches, pale skin, heart palpitations, irritability, constipation, anemia, mouth ulcers, poor memory and loss of appetite. The main sources of vitamin B12 include red meat, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, and liver.
Why Is Vitamin B12 Required By Your Body?
1. Helps Energy Production
Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of healthy red blood cells, the synthesis of DNA, and energy metabolism. It helps convert carbohydrates to glucose, which provides energy to your body. Without adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in your body, you can experience fatigue, breathlessness, and exhaustion.
2. Prevents Nerve Damage
Vitamin B12 fulfils an important role in maintaining neurological health. It is required for the formation of the sheath—the myelin sheath—that covers and protects the neurons and helps in the proper transmission of nerve impulses. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to psychological problems.
3. Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Consuming meat provides your body with an amino acid called homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine is a risk factor for heart disease and is associated with low levels of vitamin B12. Increasing your uptake of vitamin B12 can lower homocysteine levels and can reduce the chances of heart disease.
4. Necessary For Bone Health
Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of bones. A healthy supply of vitamin B12 in your body can increase bone density and can prevent osteoporosis.
5. Improves Mood
Vitamin B12 works closely with vitamin B9, folate, to produce adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe helps boost mental clarity and improves mood. SAMe is used to treat depression, safely and effectively.
6. Required For Healthy Hair, Nails, And Skin
Vitamin B12 helps govern the pigment production of your skin. It prevents hyperpigmentation in certain areas of the body that are likely to darken. Without adequate amounts of vitamin B12, your nails can become pale and brittle as this vitamin helps in the absorption of iron, which is necessary for healthy nails. Vitamin B12 also helps in the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the living portion of your hair through the roots of each strand.
7. Aids In Digestion
Vitamin B12 aids in the proper functioning of the digestive system. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to constipation.
8. Required For Healthy Pregnancy
Folic acid is one of the major requirements of a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 is equally as important as folic acid. Vitamin B12 helps prevent neural tube defects and other neurological damages, helps maintain the health of red blood cells, and helps in the production of DNA in infants.
9. Prevents Cancer
Methylation of DNA, an important part of gene regulation, is necessary for normal mammalian development. The vitamin, folate, provides one of the major carbon groups required for the methylation of DNA. Without vitamin B12, folate cannot be converted into its active form and DNA replication can get hampered, resulting in DNA damage. Proper supply of vitamin B12 can prevent this damage that can lead to the development of cancer.
10. Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
When you get older, you can be a victim of Alzheimer’s disease which is caused by progressive failure of your brain cells. Since vitamin B12 is important for protecting and preserving neurons, it helps prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ensure that you supply your body with adequate amounts of vitamin B12 for proper health. If you are vegan, take supplements for this vitamin as it is mainly acquired from animal sources. Remember that there is no tolerable upper limit to the amount of vitamin B12 you can consume but consuming this vitamin in excess does not result in additional health benefits.