9 Proven Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 - Diet & Weight

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9 Proven Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

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Health Benefits of Vitamin B12, One of the eight forms of vitamin B is vitamin B12 (cobalamin) which plays a role in various important functions of the body. Vitamin B12 is water soluble but a special feature of vitamin B12 that is absent in other water soluble vitamins can be observed.

Continue reading until the end of the paragraph to know what is the daily requirement of vitamin B12, what foods contain vitamin B12, who is at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, what can be done to compensate for the deficiency, special properties and health benefits of vitamin B12.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

Daily requirement of vitamin B12

The daily requirement of vitamin B12 varies with age. However, there is no difference in gender (male and female). (National Institutes of Health, 2021)

Age Daily Requirement
up to 6 months of age 0.4 micrograms
7 to 12 months 0.5 micrograms
1 to 3 years 0.9 micrograms
4 to 8 years 1.2 micrograms
9 to 13 years 1.8 micrograms
Over 14 years of age 2.4 micrograms

The recommended intake of vitamin B12 is 2.6 micrograms per day for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms per day for breastfeeding mothers.

  • Foods rich in vitamin B12
  • vitamin b12 source

No foods from plant sources contain vitamin B12 naturally. Only foods from animal sources provide vitamin B12.

For example:

  • the fish
  • the egg
  • the liver
  • beef
  • chicken meat
  • seafood

Milk and dairy products

Plant foods can be enriched with nutrients through special methods (food fortification). However, vitamin B12 fortified food is not available in our country.

Special properties of vitamin B12

Water-soluble vitamins (all forms of B vitamins except vitamin C and vitamin B12) are not stored in the body. That is, it has to be taken every day and if there are not enough vitamin-rich foods in the daily diet, vitamin deficiency occurs in the body.

Vitamin B12 ingested through food is stored in the liver. The amount of stored vitamin B12 is not at all low, but about 1 to 2 thousand times the amount of vitamin B12 compared to the daily requirement can be stored in the liver for years.

Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is stored in the body and later consumed as needed. Therefore, lack of vitamin B12 in the body is not usually seen.

People who follow a vegetarian diet (do not consume food from animal sources) are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. But from the day you start a vegetarian diet, there is no deficiency. Rather, it takes time (up to several years) for symptoms to manifest.

What to do to compensate for vitamin B12 deficiency

Eat foods rich in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 supplements can also be taken as per the doctor’s instructions.

The names under which vitamin B12 (combined with vitamin B1 and vitamin B6) is available in tablet and injection form in our country are:

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

The health benefits of consuming vitamin B12-rich foods or supplements are summarized below. (Berkheiser, 2022)

Helps in formation of red blood cells and prevents anemia

Vitamin B12 plays a helpful role in the production of red blood cells in the body. Lack of vitamin B12 disrupts red blood cell production resulting in anemia. Eating foods rich in vitamin B12 (supplements for vegetarians) has a special role in preventing anemia.

Helps prevent birth defects in the fetus

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the development of the baby’s nervous system during pregnancy.

The need for vitamin B12 increases slightly in pregnant women. Inadequate intake of vitamin B12-rich foods increases the risk of having children with structural defects of the nervous system.

Helps prevent osteoporosis

Osteoporosis (Osteoporosis) is a bone disease which is called bone loss disease in simple Bengali. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency in the body increases the risk of osteoporosis. That is, vitamin B12 has a role in preventing osteoporosis. However, more research is needed to clearly understand the effects of vitamin B12 on bone health. (Berkheiser, 2022)

Helps relieve depression

Vitamin B12 plays a role in maintaining good mental health and relieving depression.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B12

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency in the body increases the risk of depression in older women. However, more research is needed to clearly understand how vitamin B12 affects mental health. (Berkheiser, 2022)

Keeps brain neurons well

Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in maintaining the functioning of the nervous system and brain neurons. Vitamin B12 plays a helpful role in preventing brain disease (Brain atrophy).

Helps increase body strength

Lack of vitamin B12 in the body causes anemia. In such a situation, weakness and fatigue are seen. Vitamin B12 relieves weakness and fatigue by helping to reverse anemia.

Reduces the risk of heart disease

High levels of homocysteine (a byproduct of protein foods) in the blood increases the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin B12 plays a helpful role in controlling homocysteine levels in the blood.

Prevents eye diseases

Macular degeneration is a complex eye disease that usually occurs in the elderly. As a result of this disease, eyesight is severely damaged.

Vitamin B12 reduces the risk of macular degeneration. That is, it helps in the prevention of this disease.

Beneficial for nails, skin and hair

A deficiency of vitamin B12 in the body is linked to various problems of nails, skin and hair. For example: change in the color of the nails, spots on the skin, sores on the face, hair loss, etc.

To maintain good health of nails, skin and hair, adequate vitamin B12 rich foods or supplements should be taken if necessary.

Last word

Vitamin B12 has many health benefits. Sufficient amount of vitamin B12 rich foods should be kept in the diet. And for vegetarians and the elderly, vitamin B12 supplements should be taken regularly as per the doctor’s advice.

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