There are so many vitamins and minerals to consider, it can be difficult to know which ones are most important. The truth is, all the nutrients our bodies need are important, but they each serve different functions. Understanding those functions and in which area you could improve is the first step to prioritizing your vitamin intake. Let's talk about vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and its innumerable health benefits, as well as the symptoms of its deficiency.
What is B12?
B12 is part of a complex of B vitamins, found in animal products like meat, fish, dairy and also some fibrous fruits but is commonly taken in supplement form. It has several purposes:
- Promotes healthy red blood cells
- Promotes nerve function
- Creates DNA
- Maintains neurological pathways
- Regenerates bone marrow
How do you know if you have a B12 deficiency?The recommended daily dose is 2.4 micrograms for an adult. Not getting enough in your diet can lead to:
- Depression, irritability and memory loss
- Vision loss
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Tingling or numbness in fingers and toes
So, are you ready to see how B12 is going to improve your health, hair and mood? Here are just 12 of the ways B12 can improve every aspect of your life!
1.Improved Memory: B12 facilitates communication between cells and helps build neurological pathways. Getting enough B12 will grant you mental clarity, as well as preserve your brain for later. It has been related to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
2. Improved Mood: Poor mood resulting from a malnourished brain can be easily reversed with B12.
3. Feeling Energized: Have you ever noticed some energy drinks advertise B vitamins in their ingredient list? That's because B12 and other B vitamins help us metabolize energy and put it to use. This can also be obtained from fresh fruit juices with food processors which are perfect for those little jobs.
4. Healthy Pregnancy: B12 is essential for producing DNA, which is important for every person but especially for pregnant women. Expecting mothers should have plenty of this vitamin to reduce the chance of birth defects.
5. Eczema Treatment: Vitamin B12 is excellent for the skin and can treat and prevent future outbreaks of eczema. These properties also extend to psoriasis.
6. Smooth Skin Tone: Another of B12's jobs is to regulate skin pigment, so having enough is important for even skin tone.
7. Healthy Hair: Hair isn't made of B12, but our bodies do depend on a healthy circulatory and nervous system to grow beautiful hair to its full potential.
8. Improved Digestion: B12 deficiency can cause constipation and diarrhea. Eat a diet with plenty of vitamin B12 rich foods to restore balance to your gut.
9. Cancer Prevention: This remarkable vitamin has been found to help reduce a person's risk of getting certain cancers, including breast, lung and colon cancers. B12 can even aid in cancer treatment.
10. Heart Disease Prevention: Early studies suggest that the homocysteine found in elevated levels among heart disease patients can be lowered by sufficient intake of B12.
11. Boost Immunity: White blood cells need B12 too. It also works with folate, another B vitamin, to help keep your immune system in top shape.
12. Male Fertility: Infertility due to low sperm count can be benefited by B12 treatment to increase the number of sperm and how active they are.
Knowing Who's at Risk
While everyone can benefit from having sufficient B12, some are at more risk than others. Vegetarians risk B12 deficiency because many natural sources are animal products, so if you are a vegetarian, make it a habit to consume as many agents of B12 as you can and don’t forget to wash the farm produce properly before you bring them to use. Take advise from Faucet Assistant on which type of faucet would suit a vegetarian kitchen the best.
The elderly also risk deficiency due to their lowered stomach acid production, which is necessary to absorb B12. That means prolonged use of antacids is not recommended. Alcohol also lowers the body's ability to absorb many nutrients, including B12.
If you don't think you're getting enough in your diet for whatever reason, vitamin B12 supplements are a safe alternative.