The Benefits of B-12

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Vitamin B-12, which is part of the B vitamin complex, is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for many essential processes within the human body. Since the body cannot function well without this vitamin, a vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause numerous health problems. The average adult needs approximately 2.4 micrograms of B-12 each day, although pregnant or breastfeeding women require more. For patients who have a B-12 deficiency, increasing levels of B-12 in the body can provide some excellent benefits.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency – Who is at Risk?

Unfortunately, many individuals are deficient in vitamin B-12. However, some individuals have a higher risk of deficiency than others do. Individuals at risk for a B-12 deficiency include:

  • Heavy smokers
  • Breast feeding women
  • Pregnant women’
  • Heavy drinkers
  • Elderly
  • Strict vegetarians or vegans
  • Patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, parasites or pernicious anemia
  • Individuals who have had weight loss surgery

Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Patients with a B-12 deficiency may display a number of symptoms. Common symptoms of a B-12 deficiency include:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Vision problems
  • Anemia
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Tongue or mouth soreness

Vitamin B-12 Weight Loss Benefits

B-12 helps boost metabolism and energy levels, thereby burning calories. Many people have a B-12 deficiency and can benefit from increasing their B-12 intake. This vitamin is only found naturally in animal products, such as dairy products, fish, eggs and meat. However, the foods highest in B-12 are clams and liver, which most people don’t regularly eat . This means that many individuals, particularly those that rarely or never eat meat, do not eat enough foods high in B12 to replenish their natural stores of this vitamin.

For patients with low levels of vitamin B-12, increasing the intake of this vitamin helps fuel the body. B-12 helps convert carbs into glucose, providing the body with the fuel and energy it requires. Many patients were experiencing fatigue notice higher energy levels once they begin increasing their intake of B-12, which gives them more energy for exercise.

Vitamin B-12 may also help improve sleep quality according to one study. For individuals trying to lose weight, health sleep is essential. Since B-12 is so essential for a healthy nervous system, this vitamin is important for fighting depression. This may mean that individuals with healthy B-12 levels are less likely to indulge in emotional eating.

Other Health Benefits of B-12

For individuals with a B-12 deficiency, increasing their B-12 intake may offer many other health benefits as well. Just a few of the health benefits of B-12 include:

May Prevent or Treat Dementia – Dementia is common among the elderly, and many elderly patients with dementia display high levels of homocysteine. Since B-12, in combination with B6 and folic acid, can help reduce homocysteine levels, vitamin B-12 may prove effective in preventing or treating dementia.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease – Vitamin B-12 may reduce levels of bad cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Protects Against Cancers – Healthy levels of B-12 may also help protect against certain types of cancer, including lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer.