- The Benefits of Vitamin B12
- The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Hair
- The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Skin and Nails
- The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Seniors
- The Bottom Line
The benefits of vitamin B12 are numerous. It is an essential vitamin that our bodies cannot produce.
From the production of red blood cells and DNA synthesis to the proper functions of your nervous system, vitamin B12 participates in many bodily functions. Besides, it boosts energy, improves memory, and prevents heart diseases.
In this article, you will find out what benefits do vitamin B12 has in detail.
The Benefits of Vitamin B12
Helps to Produce Red Blood Cells
This is, by far, the most important benefit of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in red blood cell (RBCs) production. Its deficiency can lead to a severe reduction in the production of RBCs. Besides, it can lead to improper development in shape and size.
RBCs are supposed to be round and small to be able to move from the bone marrow to the bloodstream. When you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, they become large and oval. These irregularities prevent them from moving to the bloodstream leading to the development of megaloblastic anemia.
Anemia means that your RBCs are not enough to provide your tissues with oxygen and nutrients. Over time, symptoms such as chronic fatigue and generalized weakness start to appear.
Supports Bone Health and Prevent Osteoporosis
Adequate vitamin B12 levels are essential for maintaining bone health.
A large study on more than 2,500 adults found that low plasma vitamin B12 levels are associated with lower bone mineral density. Low bone mineral density increases the risk of developing osteoporosis since the bones become more fragile over time.
Keeps Eyes Healthy
Vitamin B12 plays a role in preventing the development of age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye condition affecting the central vision of the eyes.
Studies show that having adequate levels of vitamin B12 prevents the accumulation of homocysteine in the bloodstream. Homocysteine is an amino acid. Its elevation is associated with increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
A large study on more than 5,000 women over 40 found that the combination of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration significantly. The women who took this combination of supplements had fewer macular degeneration cases, compared to the placebo group. Besides, the risk of developing any form of macular degeneration was 34% while the risk of developing the severe forms of this eye disease was 41% lower than the placebo group.
More research is required to fully understand the role of vitamin B12 in maintaining eye health.
Vitamin B12 improves mood significantly. The mechanism of action is not clear. However, it participates in the synthesis and metabolism of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical responsible for regulating mood and preventing depression.
When vitamin B12 levels become inadequate, this leads to a significant reduction in the production of serotonin leading to mood disorders such as depression.
Studies show that supplementation with vitamin B12 improves mood and relieves depression symptoms, especially in people who suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
A study on depressed people who had low levels of vitamin B12 showed that taking antidepressants along with vitamin B12 supplements is more effective than antidepressants alone.
Another study concluded that vitamin B12 deficiency doubles the risk of severe depression. Moreover, adequate vitamin B12 levels in the body have been associated with increasing the chances of recovering from Major Depressive Disorder.
However, the previous studies show that vitamin B12 is helpful and effective in people who are already deficient. It may not work for people who already have adequate vitamin B12 levels.
Supports Brain Health and Improves Memory
Many studies suggest that low vitamin B12 levels can lead to memory loss, especially in senior adults. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in slowing down brain atrophy. Brain atrophy means that your brain loses its neurons, which increases the chances of developing memory loss or dementia.
A study on people in the early stages of memory loss found that taking a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 supplements inhibits the mental decline occurring at these stages.
Furthermore, another study suggested that low vitamin B12 levels decrease brain and memory performance. Therefore, vitamin B12 supplementation enhances memory, even in people who are not deficient.
We need more research to confirm the previous results and understand the role of vitamin B12 supplements on memory and brain function.
Improves Energy Level
Vitamin B12 supplements are common as energy-boosting products. All B vitamins participate in the natural energy production process in our bodies. However, none of them provide the body with energy directly.
Furthermore, if you have adequate vitamin B12 levels in your body, supplements will not be as effective as they are in people who are deficient in boosting energy.
On the other hand, if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, supplements and foods rich in this vital vitamin will increase your energy levels significantly. In fact, chronic fatigue and generalized weakness are among the most common and early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Improves Heart Health
Homocysteine is one of the common amino acids in our bodies. Studies show that high homocysteine blood levels may increase the risk of developing early heart diseases.
Moreover, low vitamin B12 levels are associated with elevated homocysteine blood levels. On the other hand, adequate vitamin B12 levels lower homocysteine blood levels. In the long run, this decreases the risk of developing heart diseases.
However, we need more research to confirm the previous results.
The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Hair
Are there any benefits of vitamin B12 for hair? Since vitamin B12 is vital for the production of RBCs, it stimulates healthy hair growth. Each hair strand has a visible part called the shaft. The shaft is formed of keratin, which is a fibrous form of protein.
The other part is at the base of the hair strand where there are tiny blood vessels connected to its root. To have healthy hair, RBCs should provide the hair with enough oxygen and nutrients. Without this process, the hair will not be able to grow healthily. Therefore, by stimulating healthy hair growth, vitamin B12 prevents hair loss.
Besides, vitamin B12 enhances the re-pigmentation process of the hair strands, which maintains your hair color.
The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Skin and Nails
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in cell production. That is why there are many benefits of vitamin B12 for skin and nails. In fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is a primary reason for many skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation, nail discoloration, vitiligo, and angular stomatitis.
Supplementation improves many skin conditions in people who are deficient in vitamin B12. On the other hand, if you have adequate vitamin B12 levels, supplements will not improve your skin or nail health.
In the same regard, one of the most common questions is “does vitamin B12 lighten skin?” The answer is yes. Vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin E are effective in lightening dark spots.
The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Seniors
The risk of vitamin B12 deficiency increases in seniors. Stomach acid is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12. As we get older, the production of stomach acid starts to decrease which leads to B12 deficiency.
The benefits of vitamin B12 for seniors are usually about preventing health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, several neurological disorders such as MS, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, and age-related macular degeneration.
So, how much vitamin B12 should a person over 65? People over 65 should take about 2.4 micrograms per day. Also, they should get regular blood tests to check their vitamin B12 levels.
B12 injections are usually the best treatment option. So, what are the benefits of vitamin B12 injection?
B12 injections are faster than the other treatment approaches. Usually, 3 to 4 injections lead to the full recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins for our health. This water-soluble must be obtained via diet or supplements. It participates in many bodily functions and benefits the overall health in many ways such as improving mood, energy, and heart health, keeping eye health, and supporting bone health. In a nutshell, the benefits for men and women make it essential for our overall health.
It is crucial to maintain adequate vitamin B12. Try to consume more vitamin B12-rich foods. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may need supplements to increase your vitamin B12 blood levels.