What are some major vitamin b12 benefits and side effects? A vital nutrient, vitamin B12 aids in the production of healthy red blood cells, feeds the brain and neurological system and aids in DNA synthesis. The vitamin can be produced in a lab and is found naturally in meat, fish, and dairy products. This article will discuss more vitamin b12 benefits and side effects on the basis of scientific research.
Supplements containing vitamin B-12 are usually regarded as safe when used in the recommended dosages. Adults should take 2.4 milligrams of vitamin B-12 a day, however larger amounts have been proved to be safe. Your body only takes in what it needs, and any more is excreted in your pee.
You require a variety of vitamins to keep your body and mind in good shape. B12 is one that has to be monitored closely. It has a role in the development of nails as well as the formation of red blood cells.
Here is all you need to know about vitamin B12, from its daily recommended dose to its health benefits supported by science.
What dose of vitamin B12 do I require?
A person’s requirement for vitamin B12 rises progressively with age:
Those who are older might wish to increase their B12 intake. According to Wong, older persons should strive to eat more B12-rich foods or take a supplement if necessary because it gets harder to absorb vitamin B12 around the age of 50.
What stores sell B12?
The greatest food sources of B12, according to Wong, include meat, chicken, eggs, dairy products, fish, and fortified cereals.
According to Taylor Graber, MD, a doctor and the proprietor of ASAP IVs, a mobile IV hydration and wellness business, there are four ways to supplement B12:
- Orally, by consuming vitamin B12-rich foods
- using B12 supplements
- placed into the muscle
- utilizing an IV drip
Since vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods derived from animals, vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of it and need supplementation. A person may also need to look for greater levels of the vitamin due to certain medical issues.
Do I need to take supplements for vitamin B12?
There is no need to take a vitamin B12 supplement unless you are B12 deficient or have a risk factor for deficiency (such as eating a vegan diet or experiencing malabsorption problems). Include dietary sources of vitamin B12 in your diet as an alternative. You may get diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and headache if you’re taking vitamin B12 pills in addition to the vitamin-rich meals you’re eating.
The best course of action? If you think you might be lacking in vitamin B12, go to your doctor. Your doctor can create a course of action after confirming your vitamin B12 levels with a straightforward blood test.
How can I tell if I’m lacking in vitamin B12?
Numerous dietary sources include vitamin B12. However, if your body doesn’t generate enough of a protein called “intrinsic factor,” which aids in vitamin B12 absorption, or if you don’t consume enough vitamin B12-rich foods, you might become deficient. Lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia, nerve damage, and other problems if left untreated.
Additionally, you may be more susceptible to having a vitamin B12 shortage if you:
- 65 years of age or older. Up to 43% of elderly persons suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency.
- You are a vegan.
- You are expecting.
- You had surgery to remove your bowel.
- You take diabetic medicine.
- You take heartburn medicine.
Any of the following signs or symptoms might indicate vitamin B12 insufficiency. Consult your physician if
- You have jaundiced skin or are paler than normal.
- You feel weak or worn out all the time.
- Your hunger is waning.
- Your heart is racing, and you feel it.
- You have discomfort in your mouth or tongue.
- Your hands and feet are experiencing “pins and needles” sensations.
- You feel lightheaded or out of breath.
- Your eyesight starts to blur.
- You go through personality changes or mood swings.
Advantages of vitamin B12 for health
B12 is essential for the body’s neurological health and red blood cell production. As a result, it can improve general health in a number of ways, including the following five:
1. Enhance mood and depression symptoms
The degree of its effect is still up for discussion, however, studies have linked neuropsychiatric symptoms to vitamin B12 insufficiency. These include mood fluctuations, sadness, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
According to Tarugu, the formation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, depends on vitamin B12. Researchers now recommend vitamin B12 supplements as a component of depression treatment strategies as a result of this connection.
For instance, in a trial involving 199 depressed people, 100% of those receiving antidepressants with vitamin B12 injections had improvements of at least 20%. When treated with antidepressants rather than B12, only 69% of patients reported comparable improvements.
2. Improves brain function
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining brain function, particularly as we age. According to some research, the vitamin could even aid in delaying cognitive degeneration. Your memory and cognitive function may suffer if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
3. Avoid dementia
The ability of vitamin B12 to prevent senior brain shrinkage is another advantage. Brain atrophy, which may result from disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and make it impossible to operate independently in society, refers to both a general shrinking in brain volume as well as a loss of neurons.
According to a 2008 American Academy of Neurology research involving 107 participants over the age of 61, those with decreased blood levels of B12 over the course of five years saw significant brain volume loss.
“For the brain and neurological system to operate properly, vitamin B12 is essential. Vitamin B12 may help prevent dementia, according to study, because of its crucial role in the brain “Wong explains.
However, there is no proof that B12 supplements help those who are already experiencing memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Avoidance of birth defects
Pregnant women are advised to take more vitamin B12 than non-pregnant ones. This is due to the possibility that the substance might prevent serious birth abnormalities including partial paralysis and an underdeveloped skull. According to Tarugu, getting enough vitamin B12 is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.
A woman who is deficient in B12 has a higher risk of becoming pregnant and having a baby with a neural tube abnormality. Anencephaly, a deadly disorder where the infant’s brain and skull are gravely underdeveloped, is included in this group of birth abnormalities.
Folic acid supplementation before and after conception can lessen the risk of a baby developing neural tube abnormalities in addition to maintaining adequate vitamin B12 levels.
5. Creates red blood cells
Our body’s tissues receive oxygen from our lungs through red blood cells. Additionally, they transport harmful waste produced by the activity of cells, carbon dioxide, from those tissues back to the lungs, where it is ultimately exhaled.
According to gastroenterologist and CEO of Detox of South Florida Vikram Tarugu, MD, vitamin B12 is involved in the creation of red blood cells. Megaloblastic anemia is brought on by low vitamin B12 levels, which limit red blood cell production.
Megaloblastic anemia is a kind of anemia, or loss of red blood cells, primarily brought on by a B12 deficiency. According to Megan Wong, a qualified dietician at AlgaeCal, a firm that provides information on bone health, it “causes symptoms including weariness, trouble concentrating, clumsiness, and dry skin.”
While there are other causes of anemia, such as severe bleeding or insufficient iron, keeping good vitamin B12 levels is one method to avoid it.
6. Promotes beautiful skin, hair, and nails
According to Tarugu, keeping enough amounts of vitamin B12 can help with the growth of hair, skin, and nails by supplying these tissues with oxygen.
But if your [B12] levels are already sufficient, he adds, “taking a supplement probably won’t improve your health in those areas.”
If you do have a vitamin B12 shortage, it may show up as vitiligo, a disorder that causes hyperpigmentation, delayed hair growth, and discolored spots on the skin. In this situation, increasing your intake of vitamin B12 or taking a supplement may help your condition.
7. Creates DNA
The ability of vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells is one of its key advantages. Why is this crucial? Your body receives oxygen from red blood cells, which is then converted into the energy required to maintain healthy physiological functions.
Red blood cells increase when your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B12, which makes it more difficult for them to flow through your bloodstream. One sort of anemia may result from this in the end. Additionally, vitamin B12 aids in the production of DNA, which serves as the basis for all of your cells.
8. Increasing energy levels
There isn’t much evidence to support the idea that supplementing with vitamin B12 can increase energy if your vitamin B12 level is normal. However, if you are now vitamin B12 deficient, it’s likely that you are experiencing exhaustion and weakness. If your system is deficient, making it a point to eat more vitamin B12-rich foods is a terrific method to increase your energy.
9. Decrease the chance of macular degeneration
According to some studies, having a vitamin B12 deficiency can also raise your chance of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a slow kind of visual loss that is common in adults over 50.
How much vitamin B12 should you consume daily?
A daily dose of 6 micrograms of vitamin B12 is the recommended daily intake (RDI). Deficiencies are frequent, particularly in those who consume a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90% of those who follow these diets are deficient in something ( 2, 3 ). This is because B12 is only naturally present in meals from animals.
Insufficient vitamin B12 signs and causes
Between 1.5% to 15% of the populace lacks enough vitamin B12. Megaloblastic anemia, in which unusually large or immature red blood cells are generated, weight loss, weakness, neurological abnormalities like memory loss and depression, as well as tiredness, are signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency.
With the aid of an intrinsic factor, a stomach-secreted molecule, your small intestine aids in the absorption of B12. This increases the risk of B12 insufficiency in patients with particular medical problems.
Graber asserts that the free vitamin B12 in the digestive system cannot be absorbed without intrinsic factors. “Inadequate amounts of dietary vitamin B12 can be caused by deficiencies of this glycoprotein or a shortening of the small intestine where the B12 is absorbed.”
According to Graber, vitamin B12 insufficiency is frequently a danger for people with Crohn’s disease or issues related to intestinal shortening after surgery.
B12 side effects
Because vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, your body only absorbs the quantity it needs, with the remainder being excreted in the urine. Despite this, excessive use might still have negative effects. These signs include nausea, nervousness, and headaches.
B12 vitamin supplements and colchicine and vitamin C supplements have been shown to interact with other medications and dietary supplements in the past. Consequently, always seek medical advice before beginning a new supplement or diet.
Which foodstuffs are the finest suppliers of B12?
Although you might not be aware of it, several of your favorite foods include vitamin B12. The following foods are excellent sources of vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 levels in egg yolks are higher than in egg whites. If you want to enhance your consumption of vitamin B12, it’s crucial to consume the entire egg. But first, speak with your doctor or nutritionist if you have high cholesterol.
Regardless of whether you choose canned or cooked tuna, both offer a variety of vital minerals, including vitamin B12. Choose light tuna in water if canned fish is your preference. The muscles just beneath the skin (the black muscles), which you may cook yourself if you wish, have a high concentration of vitamin B12.
3. Kidneys and the liver
Although extremely high in B12, organ meats are also quite high in cholesterol. People who consume organic meat in moderation should do so because of this.
Baby clams, a lean source of protein, iron, and antioxidants, deliver more than 4,000% of the daily intake for vitamin B12 in a single 3.5-ounce meal.
It is advised to consume 3 ounces of red meat one to two times each week. As a general rule, pick leaner meats because they have higher vitamin levels. And always attempt to grill meat rather than fried it.
Salmon is a common food item in the diets of many individuals who aim to eat better. It is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. More than 200% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is found in just half of a cooked salmon fillet (6 ounces).
Forming red blood cells, avoiding dementia, and lowering birth abnormalities are just a few of the advantages of vitamin B12. Foods containing vitamin B12 include beef, eggs, dairy products, and fish. Although B12 side effects are uncommon, they might include nausea, anxiety, and headaches. Decide what is the best for you on the basis of this discussion on the vitamin b12 benefits and side effects.
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