Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that your body needs but cannot produce itself, meaning we must get it from our diets.
We’ve all become much more health aware over the past year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From our immune function to our mental wellbeing, the sheer importance of good health cannot be overstated.
And a big part of looking after your health involves making sure you get the right level of the appropriate vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And that includes vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is considered a key nutrient for our health for many reasons, supporting everything from nerve cell function to red blood cell formation. It is naturally found in animal products, which can make it a difficult vitamin to cover for those following a plant-based diet.
In fact, studies have found that those following vegetarian and vegan diets are particularly at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anaemia, nervous system damage, and bone and heart health issues.
We’re going to take a closer look at this mighty vitamin, exploring how exactly it can support your overall health and wellbeing.
1. Red Blood Cell Formation
One of the key functions of vitamin B12 is to support your body’s red blood cell formation. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B12 cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and can prevent them from developing properly. It can change the shape of red blood cells from small and round to more oval, making it harder for red blood cells to move from the bone marrow to the bloodstream. This can lead to significant health concerns like megaloblastic anaemia.
Red blood cells are necessary for many vital bodily functions, namely carrying oxygen from our longs to the rest of our bodies and taking carbon dioxide back to our lungs for exhalation.
2. Bone Health
As well as supporting our red blood cells, vitamin B12 has also been associated with our bone health, with low levels having even been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. This risk is thought to be particularly present in women.
One study involved more than 2,500 participants and found that those with vitamin B12 deficiency also had lower than normal mineral bone density. This means the bones are more fragile, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
3. Mood Regulation
While the relationship between vitamin B12 and your mood has not yet been explored in sufficient detail, studies have shown that vitamin B12 has a part to play in your body’s serotonin release – i.e. your natural ‘happy hormone’.
One study published in The Open Neurology Journal looked into the effects of vitamin B12 supplements on those suffering with depression, alongside antidepressants. The results found that those taking both the supplements and the antidepressants showed greater mood improvements than those taking the medication alone.
Because of this, vitamin B12 could have a role to play in regulating your mood.
4. Brain Support
Vitamin B12 could help to support a range of brain benefits, as vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with memory loss in older adults. In fact, one 2016 study of people with early-stage dementia found that a combination of vitamin B12 supplements and omega-3 fatty acid supplements slowed the decline of mental faculties.
More research is needed on this relationship, but the results so far have been promising.
5. Energy Levels
All B vitamins play a key role in supporting your body’s energy production, which is why vitamin B12 supplements are often suggested as a go-to product for improving your energy levels.
This is reflected in the fact that one of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is fatigue or a lack of energy. If you’re deficient in vitamin B12, increasing your intake will likely improve your energy levels.
Both vitamin D3 and vitamin B12 can be found in Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ supplements, alongside organic seaweed. This allows our capsules to not only support healthy immune function, but to also contribute to thyroid health, reduction in tiredness, metabolism, cognitive function, and normal bone and muscle function – all while being a completely vegan product.