Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce. It’s found naturally in animal products, but also added to certain foods and available as an oral supplement or injection. Vitamin B12 has many roles in your body. It supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. For most adults, the recommended daily intake (RDI) is 2.4 mcg, though it’s higher for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 may benefit your body in impressive ways, such as by boosting your energy, improving your memory and helping prevent heart disease. The beneifts:
Give You an Energy Boost
Vitamin B12 is involved in energy production in your body. Taking a supplement may improve your energy level, but only if you’re deficient in this vitamin.
Helps With Red Blood Cell Formation and Anemia Prevention
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in helping your body produce red blood cells. Low vitamin B12 levels cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly. Healthy red blood cells are small and round, whereas they become larger and typically oval in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency. Due to this larger and irregular shape, the red blood cells are unable to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream at an appropriate rate, causing megaloblastic anemia. When you’re anemic, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your vital organs. This can cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness.
May Prevent Major Birth Defects
Appropriate vitamin B12 levels are key to a healthy pregnancy. They’re important for the prevention of brain and spinal cord birth defects.
May Support Bone Health and Prevent Osteoporosis
Vitamin B12 may play a vital role in your bone health. Low blood levels of this vitamin have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.
May Reduce Your Risk of Macular Degeneration
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 decreases homocysteine levels in your blood. This may help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
May Improve Mood and Symptoms of Depression
Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood. Vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood in people with an existing deficiency.
May Improve Heart Health by Decreasing Homocysteine
Vitamin B12 can decrease blood homocysteine, a type of amino acid that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.