Vitamin B12 is considered as the most complex vitamin due to the fact that it takes an important part in numerous vital processes in the human body.
So, this means that a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to many illnesses and health disorders.
Today, we will present you 4 of the best health benefits of vitamin B12, hopefully, that you will realize how essential this vitamin is for your overall health.
Moreover, we will tell you 4 symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and we will present you some food sources which can prevent conditions caused by a deficiency of this vitamin.
4 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
1. Prevents Nerve Damage
Vitamin B12 helps your body replenish myelin sheath – a protective covering responsible for keeping your nerves safe from toxins and free radicals.
So, if your nerves do not have this covering, they can easily be damaged and even die. Dead nerves interrupt the signals to and from the brain and can cause nerve-related disorders.
2. Protects The Heart
We all know that heart disease is the main cause of death throughout the world. Vitamin B12 is very beneficial for your heart. It can reduce the major cause of heart disease – increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
The levels of homocysteine in the blood are affected by the levels of vitamin B12 and other B-complex vitamins in the blood. So, vitamin B12 can help you to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack due to its ability to reduce the blood levels of homocysteine.
3. Supports Energy
Vitamin B12 keeps your cells healthy, happy, and well-fed, meaning that it helps your body to produce energy. Deficiency of this vitamin will make your cells hungry, thus making you tired and weak.
This vitamin is essential for your metabolism so it can be able to convert carbohydrates into usable glucose needed for the creation of energy. This is the reason why the deficiency of this vitamin can cause fatigue.
Moreover, your body needs this vitamin in order to perform the neurotransmitter signaling which helps muscle contraction and provide the needed energy so you will be able to perform your daily activities without feeling tired or weak.
4. Your Bones Need It
People with osteoporosis have higher levels of homocysteine and lower levels of vitamin B12 compared to people with healthy and strong bones.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by fragile, brittle, or weak bones due to loss of tissue. So, people who suffer from osteoporosis or any other bone condition are recommended to consult their doctor to get their vitamin B12 levels checked.
4 Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
Even though in some cases the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can appear quickly, in most of the cases they appear gradually and intensify over time.
1. Strange Sensations, Numbness
The low oxygen levels in cells cause nerve damage which can lead to “pins and needles” sensation or numbness running from your head to your feet.
This vitamin is involved in the formation of the cells which carry oxygen throughout the body known as erythrocytes. So, the deficiency of this vitamin can lead to insufficient amounts of these cells, or a condition called anemia.
People who suffer from anemia are feeling tired and weak. The deficiency of b12 can damage your nerves and affect your memory.
3. A Swollen, Inflamed Tongue
People who have a severe deficiency of B12 lose papillae, the little bumps on the tongues. Usually, they lose papillae around the edges of the tongue and taste buds located on these bumps.
This means loss of taste as well. Soreness and burning sensation on the back of the tongue is another symptom. Women with deficiency of this vitamin can lose their appetite because the food does not have the same taste as it previously had, which in most cases lead to lost weight.
Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of B12 deficiency. The deficiency of this vitamin means an insufficient amount of oxygen in cells, so regardless how long people sleep they feel tired.
However, the constant sleepiness does not necessarily mean that you have B12 deficiency. Usually, it comes with other symptoms, like those previously mentioned.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
Clams are a great source of vitamin B12 and potassium. Moreover, they are rich in iron – 3 oz of clams has 23.8 mg iron and 126 calories.
Beef is abundant with vitamin B12 and vitamin A. Make sure to choose a leaner beef!
Egg is another great source of vitamin B12. Eggs are cheap and versatile and they can be added to salads, stir-fries, soups, etc.
Not only heritage turkey is delicious, but also it is a great source of vitamin B12. Only 1 cup of this meat has 48.2 mg of this vitamin.
Vegan food sources of vitamin B12:
- Nutritional yeasts,
- Plant-based milk (almond milk, soymilk, coconut milk).