Have you heard everyone talking about Vitamin B12 but don’t know why it’s so important for you? The good news is that you probably get enough of it without really knowing where you’re getting it from. So let’s take a closer look at this Vitamin, find out why it’s so beneficial, and discover exactly where you can get it from.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, otherwise known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in a your overall health and well-being. Ensuring that you get enough Vitamin B12 in your diet is incredibly important and a lack of it in your diet can adversely affect your physical and mental health.
What are the benefits of B12?
There are many benefits to making sure you reach the optimum intake level of Vitamin B12. These include:
- Playing a vital role in helping your body produce red blood cells, which are critical for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of Vitamin B12 cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly, which could lead to megaloblastic anemia
- Supporting good bone health. Studies show that maintaining optimum levels of Vitamin B12 contributes to healthy bones, and that over time, a deficiency in this vitamin could lead to the weakening of bones, and in turn, osteoporosis
- Supporting healthy hair, skin and nails. Seeing as Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the production of cells, it’s evident that making sure you have enough of this vitamin in your diet is necessary for healthier hair, skin and nails. Low levels of Vitamin B12 can cause various dermatologic symptoms such as nail discolouration, changes in hair, and even hyperpigmentation
- Contributing to healthy brain development. Vitamin B12 helps the regular functioning of the brain, nerve cells and blood cells, and is sometimes taken to reduce memory loss and poor concentration. It can also boost your mood and energy levels, important for maintaining good overall wellness
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
It’s important to make sure you have the right levels of Vitamin B12, but sometimes you may not know if the levels of this Vitamin in your body are low. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of a Vitamin B12 deficiency to prevent yourself from becoming anemic. These include:
- Weakness, tiredness or lightheadedness, fatigue
- Loss of vision
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness
- Pale skin
- Loss of appetite
- Mental issues such as memory loss, depression or changes in behaviour
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms are not exclusive to a Vitamin B12 deficiency, so it’s important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist for more time than is normal.
Where can you get Vitamin B12?
So you want to make sure that you’re getting enough Vitamin B12, but where can you get it from? You’ll be happy to know that Vitamin B12 is naturally found in most animal products, so for a lot of people it’s easy to get adequate levels from your regular diet. These foods include:
For some people with special diets, like vegans, getting enough Vitamin B12 isn’t as easy. But there are still ways to make sure you can maintain healthy levels of this vitamin without eating any animal products. These include:
- Vitamin B12 oral supplements, which can be taken daily
- Foods fortified with B12, including some cereals, some plant milks and some soy products
- Vitamin B12 injections, which are effective in raising blood levels of B12, and preventing and reversing deficiency
Vitamin B12 is responsible for many functions that contribute to your overall health and well-being, including supporting bone health, brain health, maintaining healthy skin and hair, and regular formation of red blood cells. Getting enough Vitamin B12 through your diet is extremely important, but if you struggle to maintain healthy levels or you are vegan, then simply taking oral supplements, or getting regular Vitamin B12 shots, will do just as well!
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