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Vitamin B12 – What You Need to Know About This Powerful Vitamin
So what exactly is vitamin B12?
One of the eight B vitamins, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is essential for your overall functioning. It actually has cobalt, which is an element, in it. Thus one of the official or scientific names for vitamin B-12 is “cobalamin”. Unlike most vitamins, B12 is not produced by animals or plants. Rather, it is produced exclusively by bacteria. When animals eat plants or drink water contaminated by these bacteria, the vitamin ends up being stored in their bodies, mainly in the liver.
On a daily basis we need 6 micrograms of this important vitamin. Outside of vitamin B12 supplements, the main dietary sources of B12 for us are animal products such as eggs, milk, meat and seafood such as salmon, clams and oysters. Cereals and other foods are often fortified with vitamins, including vitamin B12. In general, fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods do not contain B-12. This can make it difficult for people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets to get sufficient daily amounts.
There are many benefits of vitamin B-12
Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways. One of its main functions is to help your body make red blood cells. These cells help carry oxygen to your vital organs, including your heart and brain. This oxygen is essential to give you the energy you need to get through each day. B12 also helps produce white blood cells, which is vital for keeping your immune system strong, which in turn keeps you healthy.
Another way vitamin B12 benefits your body is by properly maintaining your nervous system and helping to keep nerve cells healthy. This in turn keeps your brain working properly. B vitamins also help make and regulate DNA, which is present in every cell in your body. And since this nutrient is also a very strong antioxidant, it helps fight free radicals that can lead to cancer.
It is important that your body gets some vitamin B12 every day. It helps metabolize the food you eat so you can use it for energy. It does this by helping to convert the carbohydrates in your food into glucose. When glucose is released into your system, it gives you energy. Many people who struggle with fatigue and low energy are often deficient in vitamin B12. Some have found that by taking B12 sublingually (under their tongue), they maintain good energy levels throughout the day.
Can B-12 lower dangerous homocysteine levels?
Vitamin B12 is also very important when it comes to helping your body metabolize a particular amino acid called homocysteine. Homocysteine, often referred to as HCY, can be dangerous to your health if levels get too high. This is often due to a lack of vitamin B12. Too much HCY can be very destructive to your veins and arteries. Toxic levels of this amino acid in your blood can lead to stroke, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B-12 helps keep your HCY at a safe level in your body.
Nature’s feel-good vitamin
Vitamin B-12 also plays an important role in your overall mood. It has been found that people who have a lot of B12 in their system tend to respond better to treatment for depression. It also helps you think more clearly, concentrate better and remember things more easily. This may be due to the important role B vitamins play in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Now you know why vitamin B-12 is one you don’t want to ignore. Compared to many other vitamins, this powerful little nutrient has not received the attention it deserves. Considering the many roles it plays in keeping your body healthy, you may want to consider taking vitamin B12 supplements. This is especially important if you do not regularly eat foods rich in vitamin B12. You may find that, as a result, you have more energy and think more clearly, along with many other benefits!
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