7 Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Healthy Body Function
Vitamins are incredibly important throughout the body for various reasons. Frederick Gowland Hopkins first discovered in 1906 that certain foods were important for healthy reasons, though vitamin C was recognized for its benefits in preventing scurry approximately two hundred years before. Today, there are thirteen vitamins separated into groups, the largest of which is the B family of vitamins. B vitamins are water soluble, which means they are easily processed by the body and are eliminated by the kidneys in the urine if excess amounts are consumed. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important part of many bodily functions, and it is estimated that nearly forty percent of Americans suffer from a deficiency of some kind.
7 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
1. Vitamin B12 May Help Treat Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a fatal disease that affects approximately twenty thousand adults in the United States. (1) Onset generally occurs between the ages of forty and seventy, and has impacted famous individuals including baseball player Lou Gehrig, physicist Stephen Hawkings, and John Stone, who is was the creator of Sesame Street. ASL targets the nerves in the spinal cord, leading to cell damage and the inability to control movement, which eventually leads to the loss of ability to speak, eat, and breathe.
The cause of ALS is not fully understood. Between five to ten percent of sufferers inherited the gene from their parents. It has also been suggested that Lyme Disease, mercury exposure, and B12 deficiency play a role in the development of ALS. If you or a loved one is suffering from ALS, make sure your doctor tests for a Vitamin B12 deficiency so you can try to slow down the progression of this fatal disease. (2) This vitamin can be administered intravenously in order to achieve full benefits.
2. Vitamin B12 May Help With Alzheimer’s And Dementia
Much more common than ASL, Alzheimer’s and dementia are ailments that generally affect middle aged and elderly adults, with ninety-five percent of cases diagnosed after the age of sixty-five. Alzheimer’s is now the fifth leading cause of death for American adults, and can be incredibly debilitating. As with many different brain and nervous system ailments, the exact causes of these diseases are not known.
While Vitamin B12 has not been shown to reverse the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of developing these diseases. (3)
3. Vitamin B12 May Help Boost Mental Health
Millions of Americans suffer from depression, and anxiety, and other mental illnesses, and the pharmaceutical industry for mental health medicine is booming. However, these medications are not without side effects, including an increased risk of suicide in young adults, weight gain, weight loss, stomach problems, and mood and personality changes. For some, the side effects may outweigh the benefits of the medication.
There is an increasing number of people who are turning to more natural cures for mental illnesses and looking into supplements. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can interrupt the methylation cycle, which plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. Deficiencies in these chemicals in the brain lead to many different mental illnesses. (4)
4. Vitamin B12 May Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep
For ten percent of Americans, insomnia is a chronic problems that impacts their sleep patterns multiple nights a week for weeks on end, with millions of other American’s suffering from brief bouts of sleeplessness.
Many different medications are available to help get a good night’s sleep, but many carry the risk of the user developing a dependency. Recent studies have suggested that Vitamin B12’s role in aiding in the production of serotonin and melatonin may also help to regulate sleep patterns. (5)
5. Vitamin B12 May Assist Weight Loss
One-third of Americans children and two-thirds of American adults suffer from obesity or being overweight, and these conditions can lead to a host of other diseases and illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.
Many doctors and health professionals suggest losing weight as a way to lower the risk factor of these ailments, but the weight loss journey can be particularly difficult for many people. While sustainable weight loss needs to happen with healthy diet and regular exercise, Vitamin B12 may help with weight loss as well if you are experiencing a B12 deficiency. (6)
For those who do have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, incorporating more of this vitamin into your diet can boost your energy and help your metabolism work more effectively.
6. Vitamin B12 May Help Boost Fertility and Promote A Healthy Pregnancy
For many women, pregnancy is a happy and exciting part of her life. However, for millions of American women, fertility issues hamper on pregnancy and motherhood.
While most women who are trying to conceive include another B vitamin, folic acid, into their supplement routine, it is also important to increase Vitamin B12 intake, as it can increase the chances of conceiving. This vitamin can also help increase the sperm count in men. (7)
Additionally, after conception, Vitamin B12 can help to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Those who are suffering from a deficiency from this vitamin are at a heightened risk of miscarriage, and adding B12 can definitely cut down on this risk.
Vitamin B12 can help to ease morning sickness and nausea that many women experience particularly during their first trimester, but can experience throughout their entire pregnancy. Vitamin B12 also helps to reduce the risk of birth defects.
7. Vitamin B12 Helps in Energy Metabolism
If you find yourself suffering from lethargy or fatigue, a dose of vitamin B12 might be just what you need to get through the rest of your day. Vitamin B12 helps the body metabolize food for energy, giving you an optimal boost for physical activity and more. (8)
Using vitamin B12 as a stimulant is not advised, however, any weight loss diet or physical training program should have vitamin B12 in the nutrition and supplementation components as a way to ensure that the athlete’s growth, recovery and fuel are properly met.
How To Incorporate More B12 Into Your Diet
With a large percentage of adults in the United States suffering from a Vitamin B12 deficiency, it is surprising to note that foods that are high in this vitamin are common in the diets of many individuals.
Fish, including cod, salmon, sardines, and tuna are extremely high in Vitamin B12, as are shellfish such as shrimp and scallops. Yogurt, cheese, and milk, along with other dairy products, are high in this vitamin, as is turkey, chicken, and eggs. Mushrooms are also a fantastic source.
Vitamin B12 is mainly found in meat and animal products, which means that vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk of developing a deficiency. Mushrooms would be a good source of this vitamin for these groups, but this Vitamin can also be manufactured in a laboratory from bacteria for those who choose to not consume animals or their products.
Eating a balanced diet is incredibly important, and a diet rich in lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products provide a wide variety of vitamins. While all vitamins are important, vitamin B12 can play a major role in DNA production and keeping red blood cell production running smoothly, in addition to the many benefits listed above.
Regularly eating foods high in Vitamin B12, or using supplements found in many grocery and health food stores, can help to keep your body running healthy.