Vitamin B12 is an important micro-nutrient that the body needs for manufacturing red blood cells, supporting functions of the central nervous system and for restoring the normal metabolism of the body.
Vegans, vegetarians and elderly people have a greater risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 and anemia
Deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is a blood disorder that develops due to lack of intrinsic factor in the stomach. Absence of intrinsic factor prevents absorption of vitamin B12 from food, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Without vitamin B12, the body fails to create enough red blood cells leading to anemia.
Pernicious anemia usually develops in older adults. As we age, the parietal cells that secrete the intrinsic factor in the stomach might degenerate. Vitamin B12 deficiency in people with pernicious anemia is treated with intravenous vitamin B12 injections or with vitamin B12 nasal sprays.
Vitamin B12 for weight loss
Vitamin B12 is not directly associated with weight loss. However, by restoring the normal metabolism rate of the body, vitamin B12 might assist weight loss. Moreover, vitamin B12 is noted for its energy boosting property. By increasing stamina, this micronutrient might facilitate weight loss by helping overweight people to exercise longer.
Vitamin B12 prevents hair loss
Often excessive hair loss and poor hair growth are signs of anemia. By facilitating production of adequate red blood cells, vitamin B12 could slow down hair loss due to anemia.
Vitamin B12 reduces homocysteine
Homocysteine is a harmful amino acid in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are needed to destroy these harmful substances. High homocysteine levels are often a result of poor vitamin B12 intake.
Vitamin B12 prevents neurological problems
Vitamin B12 deficiency is often associated with neurological disorders. It could cause loss of sensation in the feet, dementia, poor bowel control, irritation, depression, insomnia and infertility.
Sources of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in liver, organ meat, fish, mussels, eggs, poultry and milk. Regular consumption of 1 microgram of vitamin B12 is usually adequate for adult men and women. Pregnant and lactating women need 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily.