The Scientific Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Health
Vitamin B12 is often lost among the other B vitamins, or B complex supplements. However, this particular B vitamin, called cobalamin, is responsible for energy, red blood cell formation, nerve function, and for protecting the heart from inflammation and disease. B12 is considered essential because it’s not one the body produces on it’s own. Rather, B12 is limited to consuming animal products (i.e., fish, eggs, dairy, poultry, and red meats) or foods fortified with vitamin B12, or administered orally through injection or supplementation. Unfortunately, most north american adults are not getting adequate vitamin B12, according to the National Institutes, Health of Office of Dietary Supplements, which recommends 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily for the average adult.
Keep reading to find out how vitamin B12 protects us from various health conditions:
1. Natural mood-booster
Move over vitamin D, you’re not the only mood booster in the house! Research shows that vitamin B12 is also linked to improving overall mood because it aids the metabolism and synthesis of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that affects positivity and wards of depression. In fact, several research studies published by the National Institutes of Health indicate that low vitamin B12 levels are quite common in patients with brain and mood and brain disorders (i.e., dementia and depression).
2. Improves brain function
Low vitamin B12 levels have long been linked to the deterioration of cognitive function, particularly in older age groups. Scientists believe that adequate levels of B12 vitamin protect the brain from mental decline, memory loss, and brain atrophy associated with early onset dementia. However, the good news is that you can easily consume or top up vitamin B12 stores with supplementation to boost memory and overall brain function.
3. Supports bone health
Vitamin B12 levels are also closely related to healthy bones. For instance, a 2005 research study published by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, found that low bone density is common in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency, which leaves patients at higher risk of poor bone health, bone fractures, and osteoporosis.
4. Protects heart health
Vitamin B12 has also been linked to heart health, according to research from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a nerve and neurology study, researchers noted that low levels of B12 were common in patients with low blood homocysteine, a common amino acid that contributes to cardiovascular disease when found in high levels in the blood. However, upping your intake of vitamin B12 may reduce homocysteine levels, and protect heart health.
5. Prevents anemia
We already mentioned that Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation. While that might not mean much to you on it’s own. Without adequate stores of vitamin B12, megaloblastic anemia can develop. Anemia refers to low red blood cell count, which in turn impacts overall energy when oxygen transport to your muscles and essential organs is low.