Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, It’s a water soluble vitamin that we need small amounts of for our body to function optimally. It plays an important role in so many bodily functions if you have a read below. Symptoms can range from the following
- behavioural changes
- heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- numbness or tingling in hands and feet
- diarrhoea or constipation
- pale skin
- smooth tongue
- poor dental health
Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B12 can improve and help you maintain energy levels. It’s needed to convert the carbohydrates we eat into glucose for our body to use as energy. It also plays a big role in our nerve health and it is needed for neurotransmitter signalling which helps our muscles contract. B12 when taken with folate (folic acid) can help regulate our nervous systems and reduce mood disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression.
- Another very beneficial time to be taking B12 with folate is when you are pregnant. Vitamin B12 reactivates the folate (folic acid) and if levels of B12 are low the folate (folic acid) remains trapped in our cells and is unable to be used for cell devision, replication and reproduction. Not getting enough folate (folic acid) especially during the first trimester can results in neural tube defects. Speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on falling pregnant so they can recommend the right supplement for you to take.
- Because of the role vitamin B12 plays in cell reproduction, it’s essential for our skin, nails and hair health too! It can even help with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. If you think you might be deficient in vitamin B12 - speak to your doctor. Blood tests can be done to check levels of B12. Always speak to your doctor before starting with a new supplement.
- Vitamin B is needed for producing healthy red blood cells. Did you know you can get a form of anemia from being deficient in vitamin B12 called megaloblastic anemia. It can result in symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. This can be easily checked with your GP by doing a blood test.
- Vitamin B12 plays a role in helping produce digestive enzymes. It has been shown to help improve healthy bacteria in our gut.
- Vitamin B12 is good for our heart health. It can help protect against heart disease. Studies have shown vitamin B12 to help reduce elevated levels of homocysteine. (Homocysteine is an amino acid that vitamin B12, B6 and folate break down to form other chemicals our bodies need) High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart attacks, stroke and even dementia.
Vitamin B12 can be included in your diet either though supplement or the foods we eat (keep a look out for my post at the end of the week on vitamin B12 foods.
Supplements for vitamin B12 can be found in tablets, drops or even sprays. They are often included with other vitamin B vitamins to form vitamin B complex. These vitamin B’s all work together in improving our health (look out for my next blog on vitamin B complex to learn more).
Remember always speak to your GP before starting a new supplement as it could have interactions with existing medications. They will be able to recommend the correct dosage for your needs. Long term alcohol, smoking and antibiotic use can cause the body to become less effective in asborbing vitamin B12.