A balanced diet is supposed to give you all the vitamins and nutrients you need to live your life. However, sometimes it’s impossible for someone to have a balanced diet or his or her body doesn’t process the vitamins and nutrients properly. Some vitamins, like B12, need to be supplemented with soft gels, capsules or injections. Here are four facts about vitamin B12.
Importance in Vegetarian Diets
Vegetarians and vegans are at increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because most of the vitamin B12 in the diet comes from animal products. You can find adequate levels of vitamin B12 in everything from fish to eggs to dairy products, and people on vegan diets avoid these kinds of food. Grains, fruits and vegetables don’t have high enough levels of vitamin B12 to compensate, so B12 supplements are often prescribed to avoid deficiencies.
Signs of Deficiency
There are many health problems that arise from a vitamin B12 deficiency. These include fatigue, macular degeneration and neurological issues. Signs of a potential deficiency include reduced energy, weight gain constipation, memory loss and low mood. Synthetic vitamin B12 makes up for this deficiency by boosting the levels of it in your body. You can buy B12 injections to combat a deficiency and administer them yourself or have them be administered by your doctor.
Impact on Energy
Vitamin B12 impacts many aspects of energy in your body. This vitamin is an important part of red blood cell production and a deficiency can cause anemia, a symptom of which is fatigue. Fatigue can also result from the impact a vitamin B12 deficiency can have on your metabolism and your body’s ability to produce energy. While supplements can’t necessarily boost the energy of someone with healthy levels of vitamin B12, they do significantly increase the energy of people with deficiencies.
Impact on Brain Function
One of the benefits of vitamin B12 is protecting nerve cells and preventing brain atrophy. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 can help prevent or slow neurological decline and memory loss. Additionally, vitamin B12 can help boost your mood because it plays a part in serotonin production. People who are deficient in vitamin B12 may be at higher risk for depression and it may be a good idea to get your B12 levels checked if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression.
If you think you would benefit from vitamin B12 supplements, talk to your doctor. It may provide you with some good benefits, but it’s important to work with your doctor to meet your body’s needs.