Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is a key nutrient in your food intake. It plays a strong role in the good development and functioning of many organs. Food sources for this vitamin include poultry, meat, fish, and dairy products. While vitamin B-12 deficiency isn’t common in the United States, it increases the risk of anemia, fatigue, and other conditions. If you are unsure whether your intake is enough, talk to your physician and they can request a blood test to check your levels. In the case of deficiency, your medical provider will determine how to supplement it, whether via oral supplements or prescription injections.
#1 Red Blood Cell Production
One of the biggest roles vitamin B-12 has in supporting the good health and function of your organs is in helping your body create red blood cells. Low levels of B-12 can lead to the enlargement and change of shape of red blood cells, which decreases their mobility from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. This causes fatigue and weakness and puts you at a higher risk of anemia where fewer red blood cells limit oxygen transportation to your organs.
#2 Better Cognitive Functions
One of the main ways vitamin B-12 impacts your health is by supporting healthy neurons in the brain. It supports good memory and overall brain performance. Deficiency can increase your risk of memory loss and dementia, especially in seniors. Optimal B-12 levels help to maintain adequate cognitive functions and minimize brain atrophy (loss of neurons).
#3 Healthy Pregnancy
Good vitamin B-12 levels are important during pregnancy because it supports the development of the fetus’ brain and nervous system. Enough B-12, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, helps to prevent several birth defects. Making sure to have appropriate levels of vitamin B-12 during pregnancy also minimizes the risk of premature birth or miscarriage.
#4 Improved Mood
Vitamin B-12 plays an active role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, the chemical responsible for mood regulation. While more research between B-12 and mental health is needed, studies point towards positive vitamin B-12 effects in uplifting moods and alleviating depression. High levels of B-12 can lead to improved recovery from major depressive disorders. B-12 supplements for those having a deficiency can minimize depressive symptoms.
#5 Good Hair, Nails, and Skin
Its key role in cell production means that vitamin B-12 supports healthy hair, nails, and skin. Normal B-12 levels help to prevent a variety of dermatologic concerns such as hyperpigmentation, limited hair growth, nail discoloration, and vitiligo (patches of skin discoloration). B-12 supplements can help individuals who experience a deficiency of the vitamin, but if your levels are adequate, taking supplements has little to no impact on your hair, skin, or nail strength.
If you are looking to create healthy living habits, our Soza Weight Loss team can help you. Contact us today at (504) 475-9817 or via our online form to schedule a consultation.