- What Do You Need Vitamin B12 For?
- What Is Vitamin B12 Prescribed For?
- What Vitamin B12 Does for the Body?
- What Is Vitamin B12 Normal Range?
- How Long Does It Take to Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
- The Bottom Line
What do you need vitamin b12 for? And why its deficiency is one of the major health issues?
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is one of the most important vitamins for our health. For example, it is essential for the normal function of our nerves, Red Blood Cells (RBCs) formation, and DNA integrity and synthesis. The problem is that our bodies cannot produce it. It is available only in animal sources. Nowadays, fortified foods and supplements can also provide you with your needs for this crucial element.
In this article, we will answer several questions about this crucial vitamin such as what should your vitamin b12 level be, what do you need vitamin b12 for, and what vitamin b12 does for the body.
What Do You Need Vitamin B12 For?
Many people wonder for what is vitamin b12 good? Or what is vitamin b12 best for? Well, it has many health benefits since it participates in many bodily functions. The benefits include:
- Anemia Prevention and RBCs Formation: B12 deficiency leads to reducing the formation of RBCs in addition to preventing their proper development. Over time, this leads to the development of megaloblastic anemia.
- Prevention of Major Birth Defects: It is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. It prevents major birth defects, especially brain and spinal cord defects such as neural tube defects in addition to decreasing the risk of premature birth or miscarriage.
- Bone Health: It is Important for maintaining normal bone mineral density and preventing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Reducing the Risk of Macular Degeneration: It plays an essential role in preventing age-related macular degeneration by decreasing homocysteine levels in your body.
- Treating Mood and Depression Disorders: It participates in the production of serotonin. This chemical is responsible for regulating mood and treating depression.
- Brain Health: Maintaining adequate B12 levels prevents brain atrophy, which can lead to mental decline, memory loss, and dementia.
- Boosting Energy: B12 supplements boost energy levels in deficient people.
- Heart Health: It decreases the level of homocysteine, which is associated with the development of many heart diseases.
- Hair, Skin, and Nails: It has a major role in cell production. That is why it is crucial for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails.
What Is Vitamin B12 Prescribed For?
B12 deficiency is rare since the liver usually has major stores in most healthy adults. So, what is vitamin B12 prescribed for?
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
If you have any signs or symptoms of B12 deficiency, your doctor may prescribe injections or supplements for you. Signs and symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Appetite loss
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Risk Factors
The following factors may increase the risk of the deficiency:
- Older age
- GIT problems
GIT problems may contribute to B12 deficiency including:
- Parasitic infections
- Pancreatic cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Gastric atrophy
- Folic acid deficiency
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Weight loss surgeries
People over 60 have a higher risk of developing B12 deficiency. Therefore, they can benefit from B12 supplements, prescription medications, or injections.
What Vitamin B12 Does for the Body?
Why is this vitamin so important? what effect does vitamin b12 have on the body? When taken orally, it is absorbed in the small intestine and reaches the blood. In the blood, it binds with plasma proteins and then gets absorbed by the tissues to enter the cells.
Moreover, it works as a cofactor for many enzymes participating in DNA synthesis. It also participates in the formation of RBCs and energy production.
B12 deficiency can lead to neurological and gastrointestinal problems depending on the severity and duration of the condition. So, what will vitamin b12 do for me if I have B12 deficiency?
If you have a deficiency, you should try to increase your intake. Once you have adequate levels in your body, the signs and symptoms of will disappear. In addition, supplements can be the treatment of choice for several conditions caused by its deficiency such as megaloblastic anemia, gastrointestinal manifestations, lack of energy, and neurological symptoms.
What Is Vitamin B12 Normal Range?
Our bodies do not produce this vitamin. What gives you vitamin b12 is mainly animal sources such as meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs. Vegans do not get enough of this important vitamin since it does not exist in fruits, vegetables, and grains. However, many fortified foods are available nowadays and can help vegans maintain their normal levels of this crucial vitamin.
So, what is vitamin b12 normal range? The normal range is between 200 and 950 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). Below 200 pg/mL is low. The results may differ from one lab to another, but if your blood levels are below 200 and you have any of the previous signs and symptoms, no further testing is required and you should start increasing your blood levels either by supplements or via foods.
How Long Does It Take to Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
The duration of treatment of the deficiency varies from one person to another depending on the cause, and severity of the condition. In general, it takes between 6 months and 1 year to fully recover from this condition.
Of course, the type of treatment plays a role. For example, B12 injections work faster than tablets or capsules. In fact, if you have a mild B12 deficiency, you may need just 2 to 3 injections over several weeks to fully recover. Your doctor will determine the best and most effective approach to treat your deficiency condition. In some cases, all you need is to have a balanced, vitamin B12-rich diet.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin B12 is a crucial vitamin that our bodies cannot produce. Therefore, it should be obtained from foods or supplements. If you wonder “what will vitamin b12 do for me” or “what does b12 give you?”, we have explained how crucial this vitamin is for many bodily functions. Your overall health depends on having adequate B12 in your body.
If you are vegan or have a health condition affecting the proper absorption of this essential vitamin, supplements and injections can be the best option for you.