Vitamin B12 isn’t just an essential nutrient your body needs for many important functions. It can also provide many benefits, such as boosted energy levels and improved memory.
Vitamin B12’s most important function is supporting the formation of red blood cells in your body. Your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, to your tissues and vital organs. If you don’t have enough of them, you can feel weakened and fatigued.
Furthermore, insufficient amounts of B12 prevent your red blood cells from forming properly. B12 deficiencies can mean new blood cells have a harder time moving from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, a condition called anemia.
Another researched-back benefit of vitamin B12 is the reduction of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. You mostly get homocysteine from eating meat. But high levels of it are linked to the early development of heart disease. High blood levels of homocysteine are a risk factor for heart disease, which can increase if you are vitamin B12 deficient.
Vitamin B12 can help improve feelings of weakness and fatigue caused by lower red blood cell counts. This is why many people associate B12 supplements with a boost in energy levels. If you are insufficient in vitamin B12, you can improve your energy levels by increasing your intake.
In addition to supporting red blood cell formation, B12 also influences the production of serotonin, a chemical your body uses to regulate mood. Low B12 levels can lower serotonin levels, which can lead to depression. Ensuring sufficient intake of vitamin B12 can therefore help with symptoms of depression linked to this deficiency.
Adequate levels of B12 are also important for maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. Vitamin B12 plays key roles in cell functions, especially DNA synthesis and the production of new cells. Low levels can thus lead to unwelcome changes in the health of your skin and hair. If you suffer from these dermatological symptoms because of insufficient vitamin B12, increasing your intake of this essential vitamin can improve symptoms.
For aging people, vitamin B12 also shows promise as a supplement that can slow age-related issues like memory and vision loss and ostheoperosis. In older adults, low vitamin B12 levels have been linked with memory loss. Increasing levels of B12 can slow mental decline by preventing the loss of brain neurons associated with memory loss or dementia.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status Enhances the Prevention of Cognitive Decline by B Vitamins in Mild Cognitive Impairment — 2016
Association of vitamin B12 deficiency with fatigue and depression after lacunar stroke — 2012