Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient often overlooked. B12 helps energy levels, may contribute to relieving mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, prevents nerve damage, and can also protect the heart and bones.
Individuals can obtain vitamin B12 through supplements, B12-fortified foods and drinks, beef and chicken liver, fatty fish, poultry, and dairy. However, every individual absorbs vitamins and nutrients differently, and therefore may not meet their recommended daily amount (RDA). Also, those on a vegetarian and vegan diet may not meet their RDA of vitamin B12 unless they consume supplements or fortified foods.
How Much Vitamin B12 Is Needed And Where Can It Be Found?
The average amount of vitamin B12 recommended daily for individuals is dependent on age. For the first six months, a baby needs 0.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12. Between seven to twelve months, doctors recommend 0.5 mcg. Children between one and three years old should get 0.9 mcg, four to eight years old should consume 1.2 mcg, nine to thirteen years old should get 1.8 mcg, and from fourteen years and older should get 2.4 mcg. Women should strive for 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 when pregnant, and 2.8 mcg while breastfeeding.
Foods rich in vitamin B12 include beef and chicken liver, clams, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products. Foods often fortified with B12 include cereals and cow milk alternatives such as almond milk and soy milk.
Now that you know how much B12 is needed and where it can be found, continue reading to discover the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, joint pain, feeling dizzy, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, increased depression and anxiety, poor dental health, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, poor appetite, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological dysfunction that may cause confusion, memory loss, and long-term dementia.
People at risk of being vitamin B12 deficient include the elderly, those who have atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and immune disorders. Those on a vegan or vegetarian diet may also be deficient in vitamin B12, and therefore need either supplements or fortified foods to obtain their recommended doses.
Many health issues may arise to those who are deficient in B12. With that in mind, keep reading to learn how it can help energy levels and mood.
Helps Energy Levels And Mood
Vitamin B12 helps maintain energy levels and benefits the metabolism because B12 is necessary to convert carbohydrates into accessible glucose. The glucose is then used as a form of energy, which is why those deficient in vitamin B12 experience fatigue and lethargy.
One of the most well-researched benefits of vitamin B12 is its capability to assist the regulation of the central nervous system, which helps reduce mood disorders like depression and anxiety. It is also needed for concentration and cognitive processes. Therefore, those who are not getting enough vitamin B12 may have difficulty concentrating and are at a higher risk of developing attention disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Keep reading to learn how vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage and protects the heart and bones.
Prevents Nerve Damage And Protects Heart And Bones
Nerves have myelin sheaths, which are protective coverings guarding them against toxins and free radicals in the bloodstream. Without myelin sheaths, unprotected nerves get damaged and may die, which can disrupt signals to and from the brain. However, vitamin B12 helps the body replenish the health of myelin sheaths.
Another benefit of vitamin B12 is it removes dangerous proteins called homocysteine from the blood. Homocysteine damages arteries, which can lead to inflammation and heart disease. Studies have also shown patients with osteoporosis have high levels of homocysteine and low levels of vitamin B12. So by getting the recommended dose of vitamin B12, patients can protect the health of their heart and bones.
B12 can prevent nerve damage and protect the heart and bones. Read further to learn how it is stored and absorbed by the body.
Storing And Absorbing B12
The health of the digestive system is just as important as getting vitamin B12 because the absorbability of B12 is dependent on the health of the digestive system. However, according to research done in 2007 by the scientific journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, vitamin B12 is difficult to absorb. Healthy adults only absorb and use up to fifty percent of the vitamin B12 they consume.
After it has been absorbed and stored in the liver, the remaining amounts of vitamin B12 leave the body through the urine.
Now that you know how B12 is stored and absorbed, continue reading to learn which are the best sources of vitamin B12.
Best Sources Of Vitamin B12
The top sources of vitamin B12 are as follows: three ounces of beef and chicken liver contains 81 mg which is 3,375% of RDA; one filet of fatty fish contains 9.1 mg to 19.5 mg which is 379% to 812% RDA; and one container of plain Greek organic yogurt contains 1.3 mg which is 53% RDA. Other great sources include turkey, three ounces of which contains 1.1 mg (43% RDA); raw milk, one cup of which contains 1 mg (41% RDA); beef tenderloin, which contains 0.9 mg (38% RDA) per three ounces; and lamb, which contains 0.8 mg (34% RDA) per three ounces.
Although some may seem like they are too high in vitamin B12, the body can store this nutrient and use it as needed. However, there is such a thing as consuming too much B12.
Keep reading to discover what happens if too much vitamin B12 is consumed.
How Much B12 Is Too Much?
We know the average recommended dose for a healthy adult is 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day. However, everyone absorbs nutrients differently and therefore should get blood tests done to find out what their vitamin B12 levels are.
When people absorb too much B12, they may run into many health risks. Some of the health risks of too much B12 include severe acne, itchy skin, rashes, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, back pain, arthritis, anxiety, nervousness, and lack of coordination. Those suffering from any of these symptoms should make a doctor’s appointment to get blood work done to find out their levels of vitamin B12.