Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that makes up part of the B complex. It is most commonly found in animal foods, including beef, fish, cheese, and milk. Vegans can also obtain some B12 through certain fortified foods, but many choose to take vitamin B tablets to keep levels under control.
Just like many other vitamins, vitamin B plays several important roles in your body. This guide will take you through five of these roles, proving why it’s so vital to get enough vitamin B12.
All of the following points have been approved by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority, 2010).
1. The Nervous System
Vitamin B12 contributes to the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. In other words, it is needed to keep the nervous system healthy.
2. Cognitive Performance
Many people don’t realize that vitamin B12 supports cognitive performance, helping to maintain it, particularly as you get older. It promotes mental concentration.
3. Hair, Skin, and Nails
Did you know that vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails? This is one of the main reasons why it can be found in so many beauty supplements. Not only this, but vitamin B12 is also necessary for healthy teeth and bones.
4. Tiredness and Fatigue
Most people know that there’s a link between vitamin B12 and energy. This is because supplementation with B-vitamins can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
5. Red Blood Cell Formation
Vitamin B12 can lower homocysteine blood levels, which may help to maintain a healthy heart and circulation. It also helps to maintain your normal homocysteine levels.
What is homocysteine? Homocysteine is an amino acid that produces when proteins are broken down. High homocysteine levels can contribute to arterial damage and blood clots in the body.
More About B Vitamins
Of course, vitamin B12 is just one of many B vitamins. Did you know that there are actually eight essential vitamins to be aware of? Each vitamin plays its own role in the body, supporting its normal function. These B vitamins go by the names of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
From controlling the energy released from foods to supporting hormone functions, there’s a lot that we need all B vitamins for! Most can be obtained via a balanced diet, but if you are vegan, remember to pay close attention to the foods you eat. Unfortunately, most vitamins come from animal products, making it slightly more difficult for vegan diets. You can use the NHS guidance on the vegan diet to help you out here.
Now that you know about the important roles vitamin B12 plays in your body, you should feel all the more motivated to make sure you’re getting enough of it. If you require extra assistance, however, professional nutritionists will be more than happy to help you.