Estimated reading time: 4 mins
I’m always interested in learning more about the vitamins and minerals that are essential for our well-being. One of the most important vitamins is Vitamin B12, which plays an essential role in our body’s growth and development. In this article, I’ll explain why Vitamin B12 is so important for our physical and mental wellbeing and how we can get it from food sources or supplements.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin found naturally in animal products such as eggs, fish, meat and dairy products. It has many important roles in the body including helping with the formation of red blood cells, supporting brain function and keeping nerves healthy. Without sufficient levels of Vitamin B12 in your diet, you could experience symptoms such as fatigue, poor concentration and neurological problems.
Low levels of Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia – a condition where you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body – which can cause further health issues such as headaches or breathlessness. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you get enough Vitamin B12 in your diet or through supplementation if necessary.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 mcg (micrograms). This means that if you’re not getting enough from food sources alone then you should consider taking a supplement to ensure that you meet your daily requirements for this essential nutrient.
There are several ways to get adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 into your diet:
- Eating foods rich in Vitamin B12: Foods that contain significant amounts of Vitamin B12 include beef liver (70mcg per 3 ounces), clams (84mcg per 3 ounces), salmon (4mcg per 3 ounces) and fortified breakfast cereals (6mcg per serving). My favourite is using nutritional yeast – jam-packed with B12 – as an ingredient in many of my keto dishes.
- Taking supplements: If you’re not able to get enough vitamin B12 from food sources then there are plenty of supplements available on the market which can help boost your levels. Many multivitamins contain vitamin B12 but it’s best to check the label to make sure they provide at least 2 mcg per serving – any less than this may not be enough to meet your daily needs. You can also buy stand-alone vitamin B12 tablets or capsules which usually come in doses ranging from 50 mcg up to 500 mcg depending on what type of supplement you choose.
- Having regular blood tests: If you think that you may be deficient in this vital nutrient then it’s worth asking your doctor for a blood test so they can measure your levels accurately.
But why exactly is Vitamin B12 so good for us? Well here are some key reasons why it’s beneficial for our wellbeing:
- It helps produce energy – Without sufficient levels of this key nutrient our bodies won’t be able to produce energy efficiently resulting in fatigue and tiredness throughout the day.
- Helps protect against heart disease – Research suggests that taking high doses of Vitamin B12 may reduce levels of homocysteine – an amino acid linked with increased risk of heart disease – therefore reducing our risk too!
- Improves cognitive function – Studies have shown that higher intakes of this nutrient may help improve memory recall and other cognitive skills making it valuable for those suffering with age related mental decline or dementia like conditions.
- Supports nerve health – An adequate supply helps protect nerves against damage caused by oxidation thus reducing risks associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
- Boosts immunity – Since Vitamin B12 helps regulate cell activity it supports immune system functions ensuring that we stay healthy all year round!
So now we know how beneficial this key nutrient is let’s look at who might need extra support when it comes to their intake. Those who might need extra support include pregnant women (who require slightly more due to their growing baby), vegetarians/vegans who do not eat meat/eggs/dairy products as these are some primary sources ,the elderly whose absorption rates tend lower due those aged over 65+. Also people with digestive issues such as Crohn’s Disease or Coeliac Disease might find they struggle since these conditions affect absorption rates significantly.
It’s also worth noting that certain medications such as metformin used to treat diabetes may affect absorption too meaning those taking them should consider consulting their doctor before taking any additional supplementation.
To sum up Vitamin B12 plays an essential role within our bodies providing us with numerous health benefits, including improved energy production, better cognitive functioning and stronger immunity overall!