So What Exactly is Vitamin B12?
One of the eight B vitamins, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is essential to your overall functioning. It actually has cobalt, which is an element, in it. Thus one of the formal or scientific names for vitamin B-12 is “cobalamin”. Unlike most vitamins, B12 is not produced by animals or plants. Rather, it is exclusively manufactured by bacteria. When animals eat plants or drink water contaminated by these bacteria, the vitamin ends up being stored in their body, primarily in the liver.
On a daily basis we need 6 micrograms of this crucial vitamin. Outside of vitamin B12 supplements, the main dietary sources of B12 for us are animal products such as eggs, dairy, 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 foods from plants do not contain B-12. This can make it difficult to get sufficient daily amounts for people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets.
There Are Many Vitamin B-12 Benefits
Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways. One of its key functions is to help your body in the creation of red blood cells. These cells help carry oxygen to your vital organs, including your heart and brain. This oxygen is crucial in providing you the necessary energy to get through each day. B12 also helps with white cell production, which is vital to 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 functioning the way it should. B vitamins also assists in the production and regulation of DNA, which is present in every cell in your body. And since this nutrient is also a very strong antioxidant, it helps fight off free radicals which 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 utilize it for energy. It does this by helping turn the carbohydrates in your food to glucose. When the glucose is released into your system, it gives you energy. Many people who struggle with fatigue and low energy often have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Some have found that by taking B12 sublingually (under their tongue), they maintain a good level of energy 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 the levels become too high. This is often due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. 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 discovered that people who have plenty 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 readily. 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 hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Considering the many roles it plays in keeping your body healthy, you might want to consider taking vitamin B12 supplements. This is especially important if you don’t eat foods regularly that are high in vitamin B12. You may find that, as a result, you have more energy and think more clearly, along with so many other benefits!