Optimizing the benefits of vitamin B12 is advisable to everyone, particularly if you suffer incessant mood swings, abysmal energy levels, and lack of focus. Nearly 40% of the world’s population are vitamin B12 deficient, which is alarming, given that it is crucial to the formation of the red blood cells.
B12 is influential in several processes in the body, yet B12 deficiency is one of the commonest, according to a 2004 study to the effect. Vitamin B12 affects digestion, mood, skin, heart, energy level, and hair growth.
B12 deficiency is thus associated with a vast range of symptoms, including depression, chronic stress, and chronic fatigue.
Ways For Optimizing The Benefits of Vitamin B12
The benefits of vitamin B12 are numerous, and we’ll look at the commonest below. The following discourse centers on the various ways through which B12 is a health-supporting vitamin.
Keeps Energy Levels Balanced
B12 is necessary for the conversion of carbohydrates to beneficial glucose, and it is thus good for metabolism. Carbohydrates furnish the body with energy, which is why B12 deficient persons often suffer extreme tiredness. Vitamin B12 is also proven to be essential in neurotransmitter signaling, which is a process that assists muscle contractions and ensures that your energy levels can keep you active throughout the day.
By the way, there is a belief (misconception perhaps) that being deficient in vitamin B12 will propagate weight-loss, but it is hard to see how. B12 deficiency will cause chronic fatigue, appetite and mood swings, and sluggishness, all of which are conditions that make it difficult to adhere to a diet.
On the other hand, correcting a B12 deficiency will improve these symptoms, and will therefore help you to keep strictly to a diet.
Reduced Risk of Neurodegenerative Illnesses
As a result of its significant role in neurotransmitter signaling and nerve health, deficiency in B12 is a likely cause of numerous psychiatric and neurologic disturbances. Directly or indirectly, research has linked B12 to improved cognitive function and reduced risk of neurodegenerative illnesses, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Recently, International Psychogeriatric published a systematic review assessing 43 experiments investigating the link between B12 and cognitive dementia as well as 17 studies on the efficacy of B12 therapy in treating cognitive impairments.
The review established that while low levels of B12 in the body increased the risk of vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, supplementing with B12 considerably corrected biochemical deficiencies and enhanced cognitive behavior in patients with initial symptoms of B12 deficiency.
Proper Functioning of The Nervous System
Perhaps the most researched benefit of B12 is its contribution to the functionality of the nervous system. As such, there is a wide range of studies establishing B12 as a regulatory mechanism of the nervous system, thus helping to improve associated disorders, such as chronic anxiety and depression.
Research has proven that B12, alongside folate, is a chief influencer of one-carbon metabolism, a process aiding the formation of SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), which is an essential compound in dealing with chronic stress, regulating mood, and assisting neurological function.
There are further links associating vitamin B12 with cognitive processes, including concentration and learning, and a deficiency may therefore make focus difficult and increase the risk of attention defects.
Helps Improve Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths all over the world, an unfortunate fact, but which can, fortunately, be bettered due to the various benefits of vitamin B12 to the heart.
Abnormally high levels of homocysteine in the body are now considered a chief cause of heart disease, but luckily, B12 can serve as a suppressant. But what is homocysteine? It is merely an amino acid typically influenced by the levels of B-complex Vitamins in the blood, such as B12. Just like glucose, homocysteine has its benefits, but its excesses are dangerous.
So, by helping to reduce the abnormal levels of homocysteine in your blood, vitamin B12 lowers the risk of suffering any heart disease, be it a stroke or heart attack. Also, there are suggestions (although not very firm) that B12 can lower high blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels.
Encourages Healthy Skin & Hair
Vitamin B12 and beta-carotene are two common ingredients in skincare products these days, and this is expectedly due to their significant roles in cell reproduction. So, if you would appreciate radiant skin, rich hair, and healthy nails, B12 is the obvious way. Studies report that B12 may reduce acne blemishes, inflammation and skin redness & dryness, as well as is applicable for the cure of psoriasis and eczema.
B12 will also prevent unnecessary breakage or loss of hair, even aiding growth after, and help to fortify your nails to make them healthier and stronger.
Assists The Digestion Process
Vitamin B12 plays a supportive role in the production of digestive enzymes, and it is thereby essential for an easier, faster breakdown of meals as well as a healthy metabolism. Additionally, B12 encourages the growth and development of beneficial gut bacteria, thus benefiting the digestive tract.
The effects of B12 in the gut are remarkable. It is the ability to eliminate harmful bacteria as well as spur the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut that supports our digestive health. It is what protects us against digestive disorders, such as candida and inflammatory bowel disease.
Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
It may be difficult to ascertain if you’re vitamin 12 deficient from its symptoms because conditions like loss of concentration and fatigue are common occurrences. Still, that does not mean you can’t ever know. Go through the symptoms below, and if at any time you happen to experience at least four of them in the same period, you may have to increase your intake of vitamin B12 foods.
- Constant tiredness or fatigue.
- Loss of concentration.
- Muscle weakness and aches.
- Breathing difficulty.
- Memory disorders.
- Constant mood swings, for example, increased anxiety and depression.
- Experiencing abnormal heart conditions, such as palpitations.
- Poor appetite.
Conclusion On Optimizing The Benefits of Vitamin B12
Optimizing the benefits of vitamin B12 should be a top priority for older adults, alcoholics, smokers, and anemic persons, particularly as they are the most likely to suffer the condition. Meats are the richest sources of B12, so you should include more wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs, grass-fed meat, organic meats, and poultry to your diet. Remember that you can gain so much from vitamin B12, so more meat is it!