Vitamin B12 Benefits That You're Probably Missing
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Vitamin B12 Benefits That You're Probably Missing

Christine Ruggeri via Dr. Josh Axe — Food is Medicine
Oct 12, 2018

Because of its wide-reaching roles within the body, a vitamin B12 deficiency can show up in many different negative symptoms, many of which are very noticeable.

Are you struggling with fatigue, low energy levels, mood changes and a lack of focus? This can be a sign that you’re dealing with a vitamin B12 deficiency. If that’s the case — you’re not alone. About 40 percent of people have low levels of vitamin B12, which is an issue that needs to be addressed because this is an essential vitamin for the production of red blood cells and DNA, not to mention all the vitamin B12 benefits it provides. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world, with a 2004 study showing that it’s a major health concern in many parts of the world, including the U.S., India, Mexico, Central America, South America and certain areas in Africa. (1) This is a big deal because vitamin B12 benefits so much of the body, and without it, those vitamin B12 benefits are lost. That’s why it’s important to get vitamin B12 foods into your diet.

So what does it do? Vitamin B12 benefits your mood, energy level, memory, heart, skin, hair, digestion and more. It is also an essential vitamin for addressing adrenal fatigue, multiple metabolic functions — including enzyme production, DNA synthesis and hormonal balance — and maintaining healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Because of its wide-reaching roles within the body, a vitamin B12 deficiency can show up in many different negative symptoms, many of which are very noticeable, such as potential chronic fatigue, mood disorders like depression, and chronic stress or feeling run down.

What Is Vitamin B12? B12’s Role in the Body

Vitamin B12 actually exists in many forms, and it contains the mineral cobalt, which is why compounds with vitamin B12 are collectively called cobalamins. Two forms of vitamin B12 that are active in human metabolism are methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.

Vitamin B12 benefits the central nervous system in many important ways: It helps maintain the health of nerve cells — including those needed for neurotransmitter signaling — and helps form the protective covering of nerves, called the cell’s myelin sheath. This means that when vitamin B12 levels are low, almost every cognitive function can suffer.

Vitamin B12 also helps with digestion and heart health, so a deficiency can lead to both digestive disorders and an increased risk for heart disease. It can come in food sources, hydroxocobalimin vitamin B12 injections or as an intramuscular vitamin.

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Dietary Office estimates that somewhere between 1.5 percent to 15 percent of people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin B12. (2) Other studies, like one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000, indicate that this number might be even higher, with up to 39 percent of the population possibly suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. (3)

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