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B12: Fueling Your Brain and Body

B12: Fueling Your Brain and Body

Tessa James -

B12 is one of the most important nutrients required by our bodies, it's actually referred to as an essential vitamin. This is important to note because unlike many nutrients, the body can’t produce B12 on its own, so it is important that we make sure we are getting an adequate amount through our diet or supplementation.

B12 deficiency is very common, especially since the body doesn’t produce it itself, so it must be consumed. Most don’t realize they’re even having this issue, and it becomes more common with age as well as among vegans/vegetarians. 

Why is B12 so important to your health?

Vitamin B12 is so important because it serves a function in making DNA, and keeping our blood cells healthy. Central to brain and nervous system function, it’s a great booster of focus and memory, and helps convert food into energy - preventing that common midday sleepiness and general fatigue. 

Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the immune system, supporting your nerve cells and helping your body produce red blood cells. Several studies with humans and animals alike have reported the function of vitamin B12 in the immune response, methionine synthase as essential for the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines in all cells, including fast-dividing immune cells.


How can B12 boost energy?

Vitamin B12 helps your body convert the food that you eat into glucose, which is then converted into energy by your cells. In other words, getting a dose of vitamin B12 each day is a great way to boost your energy in a way that is all-natural and side-effect free. When you don’t get enough vitamin B12, you may feel sluggish and tired even when fully rested, making vitamin B12 a great way to boost your energy and mood if your energy levels have been abnormally low.

Could you be B12 deficient?

B12 deficiency is very common, especially since the body doesn’t produce it on its own. It’s estimated that up to 26% of the population may have a mild deficiency of B12.

This is a major concern given the important role that vitamin B12 plays in the body.  It’s very common for B12 deficiency to go unnoticed. It becomes more likely with age, as well as among vegans/vegetarians due to the high content of B12 in animal products that vegans don’t consume. A 2004 study showed that vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world today, even in developed countries such as the United States. Many peoples’ diets don’t already include enough vitamin rich foods, and some health conditions can lead to an increased necessity.

A big contributor to vitamin B12 deficiency is poor absorption of vitamin B12 during digestion. You can be consuming B12 through your diet and taking oral supplements, but still not be absorbing much of it. The Institute of Medicine, part of the US National Academy of Sciences, recommends a daily intake of 2.4 micrograms per day, and the body doesn’t absorb as much as it consumes. You might be deficient in B12 if you’re experiencing physical signs of weakness or lightheadedness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, unusually pale skin, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling, problems walking, vision loss. Mental symptoms can include depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes. If any of these are the case, consult your doctor to see if B12 supplementation might be necessary.

Can Vitamin B12 actually improve memory and focus?

A vital nutrient, Vitamin B12 is essential in maintaining your health, especially proper brain function. B12 has been proven to be an excellent way to keep your mind in optimal condition by making nerve cells and red blood cells healthy and happy. It follows that a lack of B12 could lead to impacted brain function, including memory problems. Especially with age, everyone wants to keep their memory strong and mind sharp, and continuing research shows B12 could be the answer. If you are experiencing memory lapses, or are having trouble focusing, you may have a B12 deficiency. Animal studies have definitively demonstrated B12 deficiency causes memory retention impairment. 


To conclude

A B Vitamin complex supplement is considered to boost energy levels, mood, focus, and mental clarity. Vitamin B6 helps proper brain development and function, a healthy nervous system and a strong immune system by assisting hemoglobin production that carries oxygen in red blood cells, and combined with B12, these vitamins provide the cells with the tools they need to function properly and stay healthy. It’s important to remember there's not enough concrete evidence or conclusive studies to hail Vitamin B12 as a cure for any specific ailment. Rather, it is important to use it preventatively against deficiency.