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THE SUPPLEMENT PLACE

Vitamin B12

Foods with Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is an essential nutrient that may be linked with healthy brain function, cell formation, metabolic functions, and hormonal balance.* It is not produced naturally by the body and must be consumed through diet or supplements. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, heart palpitations, and pale skin.* Meat and fish are good sources of B12 and vegetarians can be particularly at risk of a deficiency. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and needs to be consumed most days since it does not get stored in the body.

Vitamin B12 supplements

B12 supplements are often included as part of a “B complex” supplement which includes other B vitamins, but can also be found as a stand-alone supplement. 

The body needs vitamin B12 to convert carbohydrates into glucose, and a deficiency can cause fatigue and weakness.* 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is linked to cognitive functions because of its role in neurotransmitter signaling. Vitamin B12 supplementation may be linked to a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.*(1)

Vitamin B12 may help to regulate the nervous system and reduce depression and anxiety.* Along with folate, B12 is necessary for the production of a compound called SAM (S-adenosyl methionine). SAM is crucial in dealing with stress and mood regulation.* (2) Vitamin B12 may also be essential for concentration and cognition, and its deficiency can cause attention disorders.*

Vitamin B12 may be linked to low levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can pose a significant risk to heart health if levels rise too high.* (3) There is also evidence that vitamin B12 could help to lower cholesterol (4) and blood pressure.*

Vitamin B12 is essential for cell reproduction and thus benefits the skin, hair, and nails.* It may reduce the potential for acne, blemishes, and skin dryness.* (5) It also promotes hair and nail health.*

Vitamin B12 is vital for the digestive system due to its role in the production of digestion enzymes. It helps in promoting “good” gut bacteria.* 

Woman shaping her hands in a heart on her stomach

An adequate amount of vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It is used to create nucleic acid and DNA. It also plays a role in the growth and development of the fetus and along with folate, B12 reduces the risk of birth defects.* (6)

Vitamin B12 is required for the production of red blood cells. A B12 deficiency can be involved in megaloblastic anemia, a type of anemia that can cause chronic fatigue and weakness.* (7)

Disclaimers:

You should always consult your health care provider before starting any herbal supplements or products.   *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21671542 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15671130 
  3. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/homocysteine-risk 
  4. https://cardiab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12933-014-0129-4 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25559140 
  6. https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20090302/birth-defects-linked-to-low-vitamin-b12#1 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20929023 
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