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2023-07-13 23:33:13

8 Important Vitamin B12 Benefits

Getting all of the nutrients we need from food alone is next to impossible. This is where supplements come into play. Maybe you’ve heard of vitamin B12 and have considered adding it to your regimen. But what exactly are the vitamin B12 benefits, and why should you make sure to get enough of it?

Let’s start at the beginning!

What is Vitamin B12?

Your body needs vitamin B12 but cannot produce it on its own. Thankfully, you can find B12 — also called cobalamin — naturally in certain foods. Sometimes, it’s added to others (like fortified cereals). And when you’re not consuming it directly from a snack or meal, you can supplement with it. This vitamin is important for the development and functioning of the central nervous system. It also plays a role in red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and nerve function.

8 Vitamin B12 Benefits

Talking about B12’s involvement in nerves and blood cells might sound a little confusing. So, let’s focus more specifically on vitamin B12 benefits and why you should care. This list isn’t exhaustive but highlights some of the bigger pros of getting enough B12.

(1) It protects you against anemia, which happens when your body produces fewer red blood cells than is considered healthy for your age and sex. When this happens, your body can’t transport enough oxygen to your organs. The results can be fatigue and weakness.

(2) B12 is great for your heart health. If you don’t get enough B12, your homocysteine levels can rise. And this can put you at a greater risk for heart disease.

(3) It might improve your energy levels. If you’re deficient, it can leave you feeling sluggish and slow. Supplementing (or getting more B12 in your food) can put a little pep back in your step.

(4) B12 keeps your brain sharp. As you age, it could help to prevent cognitive decline. More specifically, it can support your memory and cognition.

(5) It supports your skin, hair, and nails. This is because B12 is necessary for maintaining cell health!

(6) Vitamin B12 can help support bone health by encouraging healthy bone mineral density.

(7) It could keep your eyes young. As we age, some of us gradually lose vision. One such eye condition is called macular degeneration. Getting sufficient B12 can reduce your risk.

(8) It could boost your mood. While research is ongoing, there are studies suggesting that B12 could potentially help you better use serotonin — a hormone that can elevate your mood — to feel great.

Smiling, happy woman holding flowers

How Do You Know if You’re Deficient?

If you think you might not be getting enough B12, some common symptoms of a deficiency include:

While these symptoms can be an indication of vitamin B12 deficiency, they could also be a result of several other health issues. The best way to determine if you’re deficient is through bloodwork. Our Advanced Metabolic Health Panel checks your levels of B12, in addition to vitamin D, magnesium, and ferritin, among others. It requires a simple blood draw and urine samples, and the results are delivered in two to four business days.

While it can be tempting to self-diagnose, it’s really important to get these types of tests done. They can help you cut to the chase and get real answers so that you know what your next steps are.

Where Can You Find Vitamin B12?

Natural sources of vitamin B12 often end up being animals or animal-based:

scrambled eggs on toast with mushrooms and tomatoes

You can also find it in commonly fortified foods, such as cereal, non-dairy milk, and nutritional yeast.

How Much Do You Need Each Day?

Always speak with your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement. That being said, the Mayo Clinic states that the recommended daily amount is 2.4 micrograms, although higher doses might be safe. Your body will absorb what it needs and eliminate the rest via your urine.

Side note: For context, roughly four eggs a day is enough to get you that much B12. This might be a lot for some people, and that’s okay! But it gives you an idea of what’s needed to avoid a deficiency. You can combine this with one of the other foods on the list — or a supplement — to get what you need.

Do note that there are some undesirable side effects if you end up taking too much, including headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and tingling sensations in your hands and feet.

Do your due diligence before consuming any supplements! Understand how that company sources its ingredients, formulates its products, and tests them for purity, efficacy, and safety.

Get Ahead of Your Health with eNational Testing

Getting the labs and panels you need is easier than ever before. eNational Testing has more than 2,000 locations around the United States, and you don’t even need to see your primary care doctor first, either. Simply find a testing center that’s convenient for you, and order your test in just a few clicks. Your results will be emailed to you, and should you need further assistance, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a clinician after your test.

Concerned you’re not getting enough B12? Order your test with eNational Testing today.