Do you often feel tired or low on energy? It’s time to take a closer look at your blood and its relationship with vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12, known as the energy vitamin, is responsible for keeping your blood cells healthy.
In this blog, we will talk about why vitamin B12 is important for your blood health and why you should make sure to include it in your diet.
You’ll also learn the relationship between vitamin B12 and your blood’s energy levels, and how having enough of this nutrient can rejuvenate your whole body.
What is Vitamin B12 and What Does it Do in The Body?
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Vitamin B12, known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the B-vitamin family.
It is unique among other vitamins as it contains cobalt, a trace mineral.
This vitamin is important for many bodily processes, such as DNA synthesis and forming red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal-based food sources like meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs.
These sources provide the active form of vitamin B12 that our bodies can easily use.
However, for those following a plant-based diet can rely on fortified foods and supplements to meet their required intake of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) serves multiple functions in the body. Here are some key functions:
- Energy Metabolism. Vitamin B12 helps convert food into energy by breaking down carbohydrate.
- DNA Synthesis. Vitamin B12 aids in DNA synthesis and cell formation, during periods of rapid cell division like tissue growth, development, and pregnancy.
- Methylation Reactions. Vitamin B12 is used by the body for methylation reactions, this process involves transferring a methyl group, for regulating gene expression and metabolizing specific compounds.
- Homocysteine Regulation. Vitamin B12, with folate and B6, contribute to homocysteine metabolism. Sufficient levels of B12 helps keep homocysteine levels in check.
- Folate Metabolism. Vitamin B12 works with folate to regulate folate metabolism. It helps in converting folate into its active form.
Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin B12
Looking at the many key functions vitamin B12 is having, it also has some health benefits that you didn’t know about.
Here are the good reasons why your blood needs this nutrient:
1. Boosting Energy Levels
Vitamin B12 helps boost energy levels by supporting the production of healthy red blood cells.
Red blood cells deliver oxygen to tissues and organs for the body, providing them with the energy they need to function optimally.
2. Keeping Your Heart and Blood Vessels Healthy
Vitamin B12 helps keep your heart healthy by regulating homocysteine levels in your blood.
High homocysteine levels are linked to a greater risk of heart problems like heart disease.
Vitamin B12 supports heart health by keeping your homocysteine levels in check.
3. Supports Brain Health and Cognition
Vitamin B12 is good for the nervous system, sufficient levels of this nutrient helps to support cognitive function, memory, and focus.
Studies has shown that not having enough vitamin B12 may increase the risk of developing brain-related diseases.
4. Improving Mood and Mental Well-Being
Vitamin B12 helps make serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and emotions.
When you have enough vitamin B12, it reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.
List of Cobalamin-Rich foods That Are Good for Your Blood
Animal-based foods are the most direct and reliable sources of Vitamin B12. These include:
While plant-based foods do not naturally contain Vitamin B12, some products are fortified with this nutrient.
These include breakfast cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and nutritional yeast.
If you are following a vegan lifestyle, these fortified foods, along with vitamin B12 supplement, can help you meet your daily requirements.
Are Vitamin B12 Supplements Available?
Yes, vitamin B12 supplements are widely available. It can be taken by anyone, such as vegans and people with absorption issues.
Here some of the supplements from our best picks:
- Vitamin B12 Drops – Sugar Free Wildberry Flavor – 5,000 MCG (4 Fluid Ounces)
- Fermented Vitamin B12 – 1,000 MCG + Whole-Food Herbs For Better Absorption (60 Vegan Tablets)
- Methyl Vitamin B12 – 5,000 MCG – Cherry (60 Lozenges)
- Vitamin B12 – Sublingual – 1,000 MCG (250 Nuggets)
- Vitamin B12 – 500 MCG (250 Vegetarian Capsules)
- Vitamin B12 Soft Chews – Supports Energy Production & Cognitive Health – Mixed Berry (60 Soft Chews)
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin B12?
Identifying the signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency is important for timely treatment. Symptoms may include:
- Persistent fatigue
- Changes in bowel movements
- Shortness of breath
- Sore tongue
- Pale Skin
- Memory loss
- Changes in appetite
- Numbness and tingling sensations
If your body is showing any of these symptoms above, then you’ll need to undergo proper diagnosis and treatment.
High-Risk Groups Prone to Deficiency
Certain groups of individuals are at a higher risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Vegetarians and Vegans who exclude animal products from their diet, are more susceptible to deficiency as plant-based foods do not naturally provide significant amounts of vitamin B12.
- Older Adults may also face challenges in absorbing vitamin B12 due to age-related changes in their digestive systems.
- People with gastrointestinal disorders, like crohn’s disease or celiac disease, may have impaired absorption of vitamin B12.
How to Manage Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you’re suspecting a vitamin B12 deficiency in your blood, run some blood tests to measure your vitamin B12 levels, this helps determine the severity of the deficiency.
Treating vitamin B12 deficiency involves increasing the consumption of vitamin B12-rich foods and incorporating fortified products into your diet.
In some cases, oral or injectable Vitamin B12 supplements may be necessary to address severe deficiencies.
Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Supplementation
Although vitamin B12 supplements are generally safe, some people may experience mild side effects like diarrhea, nausea, or upset stomach.
B12 supplements should be taken with care, and don’t forget to follow the recommended dosage to avoid complications.
What Medications Interferes with Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 may interfere with certain drugs. For example, people who take:
- Antiepileptic drugs: Phenytoin, Phenobarbital, and Primidone.
- Diabetes drugs: Metformin, Chlorpropamide, and Tolbutamide.
If you are taking your vitamin B12 supplement with any of these drugs listed above, make sure you seek for guidance and instructions from a qualified health professional.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that supports energy levels, heart health, brain function, and mood.
Plant-based alternatives and supplements are available alongside animal-based foods, which are the main sources.
Knowing the deficiency symptoms and getting tested is important for early detection and treatment.
Treating B12 deficiency involves increasing vitamin B12 intake through food, fortified products, and supplements.
Don’t forget to keep a well-rounded diet by adding B12-rich foods, and If you want to meet your dietary needs take B12 supplement.
Side effects of B12 are rare but it could cause some mild digestive discomfort.
If you’re suffering from a health condition that requires you to take B12 supplement, in addition to other medications like antiepileptic drugs, make sure you strictly follow the recommended dosage given by your healthcare provider.