Feeling tired? Sluggish? Trouble concentrating? You’re not alone.
With everything going on in the world it’s easy to start feeling run down– sleeping less, letting your food choices slip.
Let’s talk about one way you can put a little bit more energy back into your life. It’s a simple vitamin but it has so many benefits.
I’m talking about B12.
So let’s take a look at the benefits of vitamin B12, who might benefit the most from it, and how to work it into your wellness routine.
What Is Vitamin B12?
B12 is an essential, water-soluble vitamin that’s needed for making red blood cells, proper brain function, and making DNA. It’s actually involved in many of your body’s processes.
You can find it naturally in meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. Some fortified foods like cereal, bread, and nutritional yeasts also contain B12. It’s also available as a supplement in both oral and injectable forms.
The acid in your stomach breaks loose B12 from the food you eat and then it gets bound to a special protein called “intrinsic factor” made by your stomach. It then gets absorbed into your bloodstream through the small intestine.
Vitamin B12 supplements can be taken orally or by an injection in the muscle.
How Much B12 Do I Need?
How much you need depends on your age, but most adults will need to take in about 2.4 mcg per day to remain healthy. Pregnant women and older adults will need to consume a little more.
Can You Get Too Much B12?
When taken at the appropriate dosage, B12 is considered very safe. Because B12 is water-soluble, it’s difficult to take too much of it. Your body will absorb what it needs and the rest will leave your body through your urine.
Vitamin B12 Benefits You Don’t Want to Miss
One of the earliest signs of B12 deficiency is tiredness and low energy. Correcting this with a supplement can help you feel more energized.
Although it doesn’t directly provide energy, B12 is essential in cellular energy production and a number of other processes in the body.
The increased energy that you can experience with B12 can help you increase your physical activity. When you’re feeling physically and mentally energized, you are more likely to be motivated to get your work out in.
Vitamin B12 is also essential in your body’s metabolism of fatty acids and proteins.
Low energy and depression can be a sign of B12 deficiency. Studies have shown that supplementation with folic acid and B12 can improve treatment outcomes in depression.
B12 is also needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical that helps to regulate your mood.
Helps Regulate Sleep
Vitamin B12 is a factor in tryptophan production. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps you to fall asleep at night.
One form of B12, methylcobalamin, was shown to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. This can also help improve your sleeping patterns.
Supports Bone Health
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in bone health. Low levels of B12 in the blood were associated with greater loss of bone density in older women. The Framingham Osteoporosis Study concluded: “Vitamin B12 deficiency may be an important modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis.”
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Most people in the United States are able to get enough B12 through their diets, but between 1.5% and 15% of the public may be deficient.
Here are some symptoms that might indicate that you need more B12:
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Poor memory
- Sore mouth and tongue
If you find yourself experiencing any of these, talk to your healthcare provider.
Who may need more B12?
The easiest way to get enough B12 is to eat a variety of animal products. But for some people on restricted diets, certain medications, or who don’t absorb nutrients as well as normal.
If you fall into any of these categories, you might want to consider supplementing with extra B12.
10% to 30% of older adults make less than normal amounts of stomach acid. This reduces their ability to absorb Vitamin B12 in food.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that older adults (over 50) ensure that they are consuming foods that have been fortified with B12 or take a B12 supplement.
People with Digestive Illnesses or Surgery
B12 is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine. If you have any issues with malabsorption, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, you might not be able to absorb vitamins from your food as well.
Also if you’ve had surgery that removes or restricts part of your digestive system (such as gastric bypass), you might have trouble absorbing enough B12 through your diet alone.
People on Certain Types of Medications
There are a number of common medications that can interfere with the body’s absorption of B12. These include:
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (Prilosec) or lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Riomet), a common diabetes medication
- Colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare), a drug used to treat and prevent goutIf you take any of these, talk with your provider about how to prevent B12 deficiency.
B12 is found mainly in animal products. If you avoid animal products for health or ethical reasons, you’ll need to eat fortified foods or take a supplement.
Many plant milks, soy products, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast are fortified with B12.
An Easy Way to Add Vitamin B12 to Your Wellness Routine
If you’re ready to experience these Vitamin B12 benefits for yourself, one of the easiest and quickest ways is to try out a B12 injection.
B12 shots take only a few minutes to administer and you don’t have to worry about stomach absorption issues.
NP2Go offers B12 booster shots that can be added on to any visit.
So while you’re enjoying an IV hydration appointment or seeing me for an urgent care visit, you can also get a quick boost from a B12 injection.
We also offer B12 shot packages that allow you to get 5 shots for the price of 4.
Book a visit today and start enjoying the benefits of Vitamin B12!