Getting the proper amount of B vitamins is an essential part of your overall health, and vitamin B12 is one that has particular benefits to multiple systems in your body. If you’re wondering how you can get more B12 into your life, see our list of foods containing Vitamin B-12. It doesn’t take much to make sure you have enough, and most people find that they’re doing just fine in this department, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.
Protects Against Certain Cancers (but increases the risk of others)- Some research shows that an increased intake of certain B vitamins, including vitamin B12, may help reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancers, but not lung cancer. In fact, studies show that increased, long-term supplementation of vitamin B12 increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Because of this, it’s hard to say for sure if vitamin B12 plays a role in cancer prevention. We recommend sticking to the suggested doses on your supplement bottle and don’t overdo it.
Protects Against Heart Disease- Overall, heart diseases of all types is the number on killer of Americans, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to make sure that your vitamin B12 levels are in proper order. Research shows that low levels of vitamin B12 are linked to heart disaese. Since your heart is one of your most vital organs, it’s important to take good care of it, and while one specific vitamin won’t be a miracle answer, it can help in a comprehensive approach.
Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease- Research shows that low levels of vitamin B12 are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or are worried about coming down with it in your later years, it’s a great idea to start eating more foods that contain ample amounts of this B vitamin. Try not to rely on a multivitamin or synthetic sources, an all natural strategy is best for the body and mind.
Health & Happiness
Boosts Energy Levels- If you’ve been dragging lately it could be that you’re not getting enough vitamin B12. Along with the other B vitamins, B12 is known for it’s ability to keep you alert and feeling energized. That’s why some energy drinks include this in their ingredients. But it’s better to eat foods that contain it than it is to get it from unnatural sources. Luckily it’s somewhat rare to run a shortage on this vitamin, so in all likelihood you’re good.
Reduces Depression- Many vitamins including vitamin D have been said to help with depression, and vitamin B12 is no different. This is such an important reason to make sure that all of your vitamins are at optimal levels. Only your doctor can let you know for sure, and it’s a relatively quick and easy process to have done. That way you’ll know exactly which vitamins you need more of, and which ones you’re OK on, instead of playing the guessing game.
Helps Metabolize Proteins- One of the main features of vitamin B12 is that it plays an active role in protein metabolism, which trickles over into several areas of the body. You might not notice these benefits when you are fine on your levels of B12, and you may not even be able to perceive a decline if you start to run low. For while these processes are important, they don’t show visible signs of depletion until after several years.
Around the Body
Good for Brain Health- In addition to helping stave off and treat Alzheimer’s, vitamin B12 also provides health benefits for the brain, and helps prevent what is known as “brain shrinkage,” which can lead to conditions like dementia when you’re older. In the here and now, it can help you to feel less mentally fatigued and on top of your game.
Good for the Digestive System- Vitamin B12 assists the digestive system in its proper functioning, and you’ll notice that if you don’t get enough of it you are more prone to constipation and a sluggish digestive system. Since backed up digestion can lead to general toxicity in the body, it’s important to keep things moving at a steady pace. That’s why you’ll want to eat foods that are both high in fiber and that also contain the right mix of vitamins.
Promotes Healthy Skin- Vitamin B12 provides great benefit to the skin, helping to soothe skin conditions and keep your skin looking its best. Getting the right mix of B vitamins can help conditions ranging from dryness and redness to acne and other blemishes. It’s simply something you don’t want to run low on if you want your skin to be radiate and clear.
Makes Hair Healthier- Vitamin B12 is often added to hair products because of its ability to add shine and a healthy look. But what’s even better is to start meeting your needs through the foods you eat. That way your hair will naturally grow out as if you had used a topical treatment containing vitamin B12. Try eating more eggs, chicken, and various seafood as a way to have higher levels of B12, without having to buy expensive hair products.
Good for the Nails- In addition to being good for the skin and hair, you may also notice an improvement in your nail health. This is especially true if you’ve been running low on vitamin B12. If you haven’t then you might not notice any difference. But if you’ve been complaining about the way your nails look, or that they’re not strong enough, you might benefit from checking your B12 intake and see if it could be improved.
Helps with Cholesterol- By helping to keep your cholesterol levels down, vitamin B12 may be able to reduce your need for cholesterol lowering drugs. If your doctor has told you that you’re low on this nutrient, they may have also given you a list of foods that contain extra amounts of B12 for you to start eating more of. If they didn’t, we’ve got you covered with our own list of vitamin B12-rich foods.
Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure- High blood pressure is one of the most common ailments for many Americans, and is one that often requires medication in order to treat. Research shows that higher intakes of folate and vitamin B12 are linked to lower levels of blood pressure in preschool children.
Helps Prevent Strokes- Research shows that vitamin B12 can help reduce the risk of stroke. If your family has a history of strokes, this is one vitamin you don’t want to miss out on. It also provides general benefits to the entire cardiovascular system, so it’s great for overall heart health. Consider eating more foods with vitamin B12 and also don’t neglect your other essential vitamins like D, A, and C.
It’s always good to treat your vitamins as a collective, and make sure that you have all of your bases covered. It might sound overwhelming since there are so many essential vitamins, and you may be tempted to just pop a multivitamin and think that you’re fine. But the best way to know that all of your levels are where they should be is to eat a healthy balanced diet of foods that are nutrient dense. It’s not as hard as it sounds, you just simply start replacing low-nutrient foods for high ones, one by one, and soon you’ll have transitioned to this new way of eating.
Not getting enough Vitamin B12? You may be experiencing the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.