Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins of the B-complex vitamins and is necessary for good health. This vitamin was first discovered to be beneficial in the 1940s as it was found to cure pernicious anemia. Vitamin B12 benefits are numerous and include assisting other B vitamins in processing carbohydrates into glucose, which provides essential energy.
Vitamin B12 is necessary in maintaining certain bodily functions such as manufacturing red blood cells, regulating metabolism and maintaining the central nervous system. Vision and eye health are also benefited by vitamin B12 as it provides protection to the lens helping to prevent cataracts. Another important benefit of this vitamin is its ability to lower the risks of atherosclerosis. With the proper intake of vitamin B12 homocysteine levels are maintained within a normal level decreasing the chance of developing heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. Vitamin B12 also has the ability to raise energy levels and combat fatigue. It assists in relieving the symptoms of depression as it raises serotonin levels and with many studies done on this vitamin it is proven that it can raise sperm cell counts in men with very low levels. Many diseases and disorders have been treated with B12 resulting in improvements or the elimination of them. These include sleep disorders, allergies, asthma, Alzheimer’s, tendonitis and memory loss.
Although the body produces a small amount of vitamin B12, it is far from enough to provide the requirements the body needs. Vitamin B12 must be consumed daily and can be found in foods such as fish, shellfish, meat, dairy and eggs. Many individuals who avoid animal-based foods develop problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. These include irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentration or remembering things and in some cases depression or psychosis. A deficiency in this vitamin can sometimes be difficult to characterize, although there are some common symptoms that include waking up tired and sleeping a lot, white spots on the skin that last for a short time, tingling of the tongue, shortness of breath, migraines, short-term memory loss, sore areas within the mouth and erratic nerve shocks. The gastrointestinal system can also be affected by lack of vitamin B12. Symptoms can include constipation, diarrhea, pain and excessive gas.
Individuals who may be at higher risks for vitamin B12 deficiencies include children, the elderly, strict vegetarians and anyone who has problems processing and storing vitamins within their bodies as well as people who do not eat properly balanced diets. Vitamin B12 is available in supplemental forms, which can be obtained in sublingual tablets or pills.