Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in many different areas of your body from red blood cell production to supporting nerve function to producing DNA. In short, your body needs this vitamin for many reasons.
But how do you know if you’re getting enough? As part of our wellness testing services, we review your lab work and assess for any nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin B12.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at nine benefits of vitamin B12 and how Treva Mitchell, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, and Cherlonda Westley-Henry, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, at F.I.T Medical Weight Loss & Optimization in Tomball, Texas, ensure your levels are optimal.
Vitamin B12 serves many purposes in your body, including:
Your red blood cells carry oxygen and other nutrients throughout your body. Low red blood cell counts can contribute to iron-deficiency anemia, fatigue, and, if left untreated, problems with your organs.
Vitamin B12 is especially important for expectant mothers. It can support healthy pregnancy by reducing your risk of neural tube defects and miscarriage. Because your blood volume increases during pregnancy, B12 also helps your body ramp up red blood cell production.
While you might think of vitamin A as the “eye vitamin,” B12 is equally important. It can reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.
B12 can help you manage stress. It can also decrease your risk of developing depression by increasing serotonin.
Did you know that vitamin B12 can slow cognitive decline and promote healthy brain function? B12 deficiency is associated with memory loss, especially in aging adults.
B12 is well-known for its ability to boost your energy; however, it’s not a stimulant. It doesn’t give you the same “wake up” as a cup of coffee. So how does it work? B12 gives your body the tools it needs to convert the food you eat into energy.
Vitamin B12 decreases the amino acid homocysteine, which can have a positive effect on your heart. In one study, researchers found that vegetarians tended to have low B12 levels. Supplementing with B12 could help you regain some of the heart-protective effects of the vitamin.
B12 helps with your body’s cell production, including the cells in your hair, skin, and nails. Vitamin B12 is so well-known for its role in promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails, you may even notice that some shampoos are fortified with the vitamin.
A B12 deficiency is linked to higher rates of obesity, and when it comes to weight loss, vitamin B12 can play a few roles. It can support your energy levels. Without ample energy, it’s harder to make it through your workout.
Additionally, B12 helps your body form new red blood cells. Without adequate red blood cells, you’re at risk of anemia and fatigue — neither of which will help you reach your workout goals.
Your body doesn’t produce any B12, which means you need to consume it from your food. B12 is found in poultry, fish, dairy products, meat, and fortified products.
Because vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products (with the exception of fortified cereals or other products), strict vegans may not have optimal B12 levels. Additionally, certain diseases such as Celiac disease and Crohn's disease can make it hard for your body to absorb the vitamin from your food.
You can ensure your levels are optimal by:
We understand the complex relationship and functions of each micronutrient, including B12. To learn more about vitamin B12 injections or to explore the benefits of functional medicine, call our office or book an appointment online today.