Because fats have been much maligned over the past several decades, foods containing the essential vitamin B12 have been eliminated from many diets. Getting enough vitamin B12 is extremely important to overall wellness. We will take a closer look at 10 benefits of vitamin b12 which scientific study proved.
10 Benefits of Vitamin B12 You Need to Know
1. Better Heart Health
Maintaining a healthy heart is on everyone’s list of health concerns. Vitamin B12 represents an essential benefit for your heart, so you cannot ignore it. The Cochran Heart Group published a study that balanced cholesterol, improved blood pressure and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered win proper levels of this vitamin are maintained.
2. Balanced Mood
Depression and anxiety are common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is no surprise, then, that one of the many vitamin B12 benefits is producing a more balanced mood. B12 along with folate was shown to not only help balance mood in persons not taking medications for depression and anxiety, but also boosted the effectiveness of the medications of those who did take medications, according to a United Kingdom study.
3. Healthy Skin and Hair
Healthy skin and hair are another of the vitamin B12 benefits to keep in mind. Tunisian scientists looked at skin and hair conditions of undernourished individuals and noted skin pigmentation issues which could be reversed with sufficient levels of vitamin B12.
4. Maintaining Energy
Studies at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center concluded that chronic pain and fatigue in patients with a number of hereditary syndromes were a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, vitamin B12 can also be a benefit to maintaining energy levels.
5. Digestive Aid
Gut health and your ability to digest foods more efficiently are additional benefits associated with vitamin B12. Furthermore, French researchers reported that vitamin B12 plays a role in producing and maintaining beneficial microbiota in your digestive system.
6. Prevents Cognitive Decline
Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases can be prevented through maintaining proper levels of vitamin B12. Baylor University scientists noted that neurological health necessary for the prevention of cognitive disorders is enhanced when proper levels of methylation of homocysteine to methionine produced from this vitamin are maintained.
7. Healthy Fetal Development
For pregnant mothers, healthy fetal development is a great concern. Luckily, you can list this as one of vitamin B12’s benefits. Low birth weight and preterm delivery were two of the fetal development issues that were common with low levels of B12 in a Norwegian study.
8. Prevents Anemia
A condition with severe consequences known as pernicious anemia can be prevented through maintaining optimal levels of vitamin B12. Research conducted in Singapore indicated that both orally administered and injected B12 had a significant effect on reversing the condition of pernicious anemia.
9. Lowers Cancer Risk
Lowering your risk of cancer is likely another concern for which you will be glad to know vitamin B12 can be a benefit. According to Chinese research, the production of methionine resulting from proper levels of vitamin B12 can lower the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
10. Metabolizing Protein
One of the functions of vitamin B12, according to the National Institute of Health, is to assist in metabolizing protein so that your body can receive the necessary amino acids provided by this nutrient. This is just one more benefit provided by this powerful vitamin.
General Info on Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Now that we had a look at the proven vitamin B12 benefits, it is helpful to understand how a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet can affect your health. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of nearly every portion of your body and whenever it is not present, your body slows down a bit. Here are some common symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:
- feeling tired or lethargic;
- aching or weak muscles;
- painful joints;
- shortness of breath;
- memory loss;
- decreased concentration;
- depression and anxiety;
- heart palpitations;
- poor dental health;
- digestive issues;
- poor appetite;
- pernicious anemia;
- hair loss;
- lighter skin and nail pigmentation.
These are the main conditions associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and are most often seen in those who follow a vegan diet, in the elderly or those who have poor nutritional habits.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
One way of taking a vitamin B12 is a supplement or receiving a B12 injection. However, if you want to boost your body’s levels of vitamin B12, you can find it naturally in a number of different foods. Here are ten foods containing the highest concentration of vitamin B12:
- Beef liver: 1 oz. 300% DV;
- Sardines: 3 oz. over 100% DV;
- Atlantic mackerel: 3 oz. over 100% DV;
- Lamb: 3 oz. 45% DV;
- Wild-caught salmon: 3 oz. 42% DV;
- Nutritional yeast: 1 Tbsp 40% DV;
- Feta cheese: ½ cup 21% DV;
- Grass-fed beef: 3 oz. 20% DV;
- Cottage cheese: 1 cup 16% DV;
- Eggs: 1 large 11% DV.
You will note that we did not include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds on that list. The reason is that plant-based foods don’t produce vitamin B12. To obtain adequate levels of vitamin B12, you will have to consume products produced by animals or by eating the flesh of animals themselves. Let’s take a closer look at the 10 proven vitamin B12 benefits you need to know about.
A Note of Caution
Generally speaking, vitamin B12 has a very low toxicity potential. There are no adverse effects from it when you acquire it through food consumption. However, there are some risks that come from improper supplementation, but those risks arise from interactions between supplements and medications. Vitamin B12 does not react well to the following medications:
- Proton pump inhibitors;
- H2 receptor antagonists;
In most cases, it is best to consume vitamin B12 from its natural sources, but you can take supplements to help maintain proper levels. For proper dosages and the potential for adverse effects with other medications, it is best to consult a healthcare professional before using a vitamin B12 supplement.
Tying It Together
Finally, when it comes to general, overall health and wellness this is one of the essential vitamins you should include in your diet. Given the list of benefits of vitamin b12, it isn’t hard to understand why making certain that you consume plenty of foods rich in this vitamin is an essential element to healthy living. If you have questions or comments concerning this vitamin and its benefits, please be sure to include them in the section provided below.
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