Vitamin B-12 is required for brain functions, red blood cell production, and healthy nerve tissues. Vitamin B-12 occurs naturally in animal products, including meat, dairy products, and eggs. Those who do not consume meat like vegetarians and vegans, as well as those who have difficulty digesting proteins, can take a vitamin B12 supplement
American adults aged 60 or older are at an increased risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can be caused by a diet that does not contain adequate levels of vitamin B12, or the patient’s body cannot fully absorb vitamin B12 from the foods consumed.
The following can increase the risk of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency:
- Adults who are older than 60 are at an increased risk form vitamin B12 deficiencies. Older adults often have a reduced amount of hydrochloric acid in their stomachs, which reduces their ability to absorb vitamin B 12.
- Gastrointestinal disorders i.e., celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, increase the risk of a deficiency.
- Individuals who have undergone gastrointestinal surgeries, including bowel resection surgery or bariatric surgery
- Individuals who follow a strict vegan diet may not absorb enough vitamin B12.
- People with diabetes who take metformin for glucose regulation may experience B 12 deficiencies.
- Chronic heartburn sufferers who use proton pump inhibitors may be unable to absorb vitamin B-12.
The health benefits of vitamin B12
- Prevents anemia – A vitamin B12 deficiency can result in the formation of red blood cells. Furthermore, when you suffer from a vitamin deficiency, your red blood cells become large and irregular, preventing the red blood cells from moving from your bone marrow to your bloodstream. Vitamin B-12 supplementation, along with vitamin B12 rich foods, can help prevent and relieve anemia.
- Prevents birth defects – Pregnant women must ensure they are getting enough vitamin B-12 to help prevent birth defects. In order for a baby’s nervous system and brain to develop properly, the baby and mother must have adequate levels of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can increase the risk of miscarriage or premature birth. Vitamin B 12 helps with fetal development and decreases the risk of miscarriage.
Heart health – The amino acid called homocysteine increases a patient’s risk of developing heart disease.
Those suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency often experience elevated homocysteine levels. Taking a vitamin B12 supplement can help decrease homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Brain health – A deficiency of vitamin B12 has been linked to memory loss. If the brain is not receiving an ample amount of vitamin B12, the brain can atrophy. Brain atrophy has been linked to dementia and memory loss. Combining vitamin B12 supplements with omega three fatty acid supplements can help slow mental decline and even improve memory.
- Bone health – Vitamin B12 supports the musculoskeletal system. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can decrease bone mineral density, resulting in fragile bones. Over time, vitamin B 12 deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Eating a diet filled with vitamin B 12 rich foods, and taking a B 12 supplement can interfere with bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis.
Vision health – If you are not getting the recommended amount of vitamin B12, you can experience blurred vision.
Over time, a deficiency can cause the optic nerve to become damaged, resulting in impaired vision. Furthermore, low levels of vitamin B12 can increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Protect your vision by ensuring you are getting ample amounts of vitamin B 12.
- Mood regulation – Vitamin B12 helps the body synthesize and metabolize serotonin, which is responsible for mood regulation. If you are not getting enough serotonin, you can experience depression. Those suffering from a vitamin B 12 deficiency are twice as like to suffer from depression. Supplementing with vitamin B12 can improve the success of depression medications and help patients recover quicker.
- Increased energy levels – People have been using vitamin B12 to increase their energy levels. Vitamin B12 cannot be stored in the body because it is water soluble. Any extra vitamin B12 will be eliminated in your urine. Taking a vitamin B12 oral supplement, nasal spray, or injection can help improve energy levels in patients experiencing low vitamin B12 levels.
The body cannot produce vitamin B12. It is only available in animal products and fortified foods. In addition to this, vitamin B12 oral supplements, injections, and nasal sprays can help increase your vitamin B12 levels to promote health and increase longevity.