As human beings, we need various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and more to keep ourselves healthy. Unlike Vitamin C and others, the importance of vitamin B12 in our body functions is often understated.
Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that you need for DNA synthesis and energy production. It is particularly important during pregnancy and later months.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults over 19. For pregnant and lactating women, the daily intake is slightly higher.
Animal products, such as milk, meat, poultry, fish, etc., are good sources of vitamin B12. In addition, fortified breakfast cereals, plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, etc., also contain this vitamin. Therefore, including these foods in your diet is an excellent idea to ensure that your body gets the required amount of this essential nutrient.
The lack of vitamin B12 may be the cause of fatigue, poor brain, and blood health, and can lead to low bone density. Here is why you should seriously consider consuming food rich in vitamin B12.
In this article, we delve into the various ways Vitamin B12 contributes to our health and why it is crucial for our bodies.
Let’s get started.
How does Vitamin B12 help improve our body functions?
Some of the primary ways in which Vitamin B12 enhances our health include:
Protects Eye Health
Macular degeneration, commonly known as blindness, often occurs in older adults. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes this eye condition. In other words, a sufficient amount of this vitamin in our body can keep our eyes healthy and our vision perfect.
Helps treat depression
Serotonin chemical, also known as a mood regulator, is a major driver of moods in humans. Quite often, people whose bodies lack this chemical in the required amounts suffer from mental health problems and depression. Studies indicate that Vitamin B12 helps produce the required quantities of serotonin and therefore prevents depression.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the serotonin levels in the body, which may cause depression, anxiety, or insomnia. However, clinical trials have also shown that vitamin-taking B12 supplements along with antidepressants can lead to significant improvements in symptoms of depression.
Improves Brain Health
Besides improving our brain health, Vitamin B12 plays an integral role in smoothing the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Lack of this vitamin causes a condition known as brain atrophy or loss of neurons. When this happens, people suffer from serious mental illnesses like dementia and memory loss. Thus, Vitamin B12 is a major player in facilitating brain functions and keeping it stable.
Regular intake of vitamin B12 can positively affect brain health. For example, it can help repair nerve damage and improve brain function in people suffering from dementia or loss of memory.
Keeps bones healthy
Weak bone structure results in serious diseases like osteoporosis or bone fractures. Vitamin B12 is attributed to increasing bone density and is thus responsible for maintaining healthy bones. People with lower concentrations of this nutrient in their bodies suffer from bone problems.
Studies have shown a direct relationship between vitamin B12 concentrations and bone mineral density. Furthermore, people with a lesser nutrient concentration have been found to have a lower average bone density, irrespective of gender. While more research is needed to establish the facts, the current evidence points to the efficacy of vitamin B12 in preventing bone deterioration.
Studies indicate that Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in producing red blood cells (RBC) in the body. When the RBC count falls, people suffer from anemia which is characterized by fatigue, paleness, and loss of appetite. Lack of Vitamin B12 leads to deformed RBCs, which fail to go into the blood from the bone marrow to provide oxygen to the body. This results in megaloblastic anemia. Thus, Vitamin B12 must be present in good amounts to prevent such illnesses.
The deformed RBC fails to enter the bloodstream from the bone marrow to supply oxygen to the body, leading to megaloblastic anemia. This condition may be characterized by fatigue, paleness, and loss of appetite.
Animal products like poultry, fish, meat, and milk are rich sources of Vitamin B12. Besides good breakfast cereals, plant-based milk, and yeast also contain this nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient required for healthy growth. It contributes to various body functions, including improving brain health, preventing anemia, averting depression, and protecting our eyes. Symptoms associated with a lack of Vitamin B12 include nausea, increased heart rate, fatigue, irritability, trouble walking and other movements, numbness, weakness in muscles, and more. Therefore, you must always maintain sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 in your body.