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What is Vitamin B12 Good for

Madhura Pandit Oct 6, 2018
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. Promotion of healthy skin and nails, prevention of nervous system disorders, and synthesis of DNA, etc., are the major benefits of vitamin B12. Here are some health benefits of vitamin B12, its sources, and deficiency disorders.
Vitamin B12 was accidentally discovered when looking for treatment options to treat the deadly pernicious anemia in 1934. It was isolated in 1948.
Vitamin B is a complex vitamin (known as B complex), further divided into several subtypes like B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
The primary function of B complex vitamins is energy production. Vitamin B12 is often used in combination with other B complex vitamins. It plays an important role in proper functioning of the nervous system.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin B12

Energy Production

As aforementioned, vitamin B12 is primarily used for producing energy. It aids in energy production by converting carbohydrates into glucose. It is essential for boosting immunity and also to increase the overall stamina of a person. Proper doses of vitamin B12 help in treating chronic fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness.

Effect on the Nervous System

It aids in maintaining the myelin sheath that is used to insulate nerve fibers. Vitamin B12 is required for proper functioning of the nervous system. Deficiency of the vitamin can lead to disorders of the nervous system.

Prevents Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia is a disease caused when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12. This vitamin is required by the body for making red blood cells. Deficiency of it decreases red blood cells, leading to pernicious anemia. Proper intake of vitamin B12 can treat and prevent pernicious anemia.

Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

High levels of homocysteine in the body damages the lining of the blood vessels, resulting in formation of blood clots. This can lead to coronary artery disease. High homocysteine level is one of the reasons for heart diseases.
It is believed that vitamin B12 helps in lowering these levels, and indirectly, in preventing heart diseases. However, sufficient data is not available to support the claim.

Helps in Maintaining Healthy Skin

This vitamin plays an important role in the formation, maintenance, and repair of various cells in the body. Therefore, it aids in promoting healthy skin and nails. Proper intake of vitamin B12 can help in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and other skin diseases.

Synthesis of DNA

One of the most important functions of vitamin B12 is synthesis of DNA. It affects the regulation of DNA. It provides the essential methyl groups that are required for making DNA.

Prevents Certain Types of Cancer

It is believed that deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to some types of cancer, like the breast, cervical, and lung cancer. The exact relation between the two is not determined yet. However, studies have shown that a low level of vitamin B12 can be one of the factors for causing certain types of cancer.

Promotes Mental Wellness

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is linked to poor mental health, depression, and memory loss. It is found that this vitamin helps in treating memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. It is specifically found to improve mental health in the elderly.

What are the Sources of Vitamin B12

The vitamin is found in nearly all animal-based food sources like beef liver, salmon, eggs, chicken, fish, lamb's kidney, oysters, tuna, etc.
Other sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Fortified soy milk, fortified brewer's yeast and some sea vegetables are the vegan options.
The daily dosage of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms per day, which can be easily fulfilled by including any of the aforementioned foods in the diet regularly. You can consult your doctor to know your vitamin B12 requirement. Secondly, it is recommended to consult the doctor before consuming any vitamin supplements on a regular basis.

What is Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Nutritional deficiency of vitamin B12 is rare, but it can lead to several deficiency disorders like megaloblastic anemia, pernicious anemia, sleeping problems, mood swings, emotional disturbances, weakness, lethargy, dizziness, lack of appetite, weight loss, digestive problems, etc.
A severe deficiency can also result in mental disorders and memory loss. Therefore, in order to prevent the deficiency diseases, it is essential to include vitamin B12 in your diet regularly.
As it is observed that vitamin B12 is involved in nearly all the important processes in the human body, you need to make sure to maintain its healthy levels. Having a proper diet regularly can help in preventing deficiency diseases. Take care!
Disclaimer: The write-up is meant only to provide information. It is in no way meant to replace a doctor's advice.