Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin known for its beneficial properties and essential nutrients. Though stored in the liver, the vitamin cannot be made within the body, and can instead be obtained from multiple different dietary sources, supplements and fortified foods. Known as the “painkilling vitamin”, B12 has multiple other health benefits including contributing to the production of hemoglobin, the functioning of the nervous system and the successful synthesis of DNA. While it’s important to speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, this supplement may be a beneficial alternative to other medications. Here are some other benefits of taking vitamin B12.
For those who struggle with falling and staying asleep, vitamin B12 is known to alter hormone levels and treat sleep-wake rhythm disorders such as insomnia. By decreasing melatonin levels, the vitamin increases the light sensitivity of circadian rhythms, and in turn retrains these cycles.
Vitamin B12 supplements can lower the risk of developing age-related disorders and progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, through regulating the compound homocysteine. This compound helps protect the human brain, though too much of it can increase the risk of developing such conditions. Due to its ability to regulate the compounds, vitamin B12 helps the brain to retain and recall information more quickly and efficiently.
Feeling chronically tired and lacking energy could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Red blood cells are involved in the production of energy, while vitamin B12 supports that production. Similar to the fatigue we can feel when lacking iron and fat within our diets, a deficiency in B12 can have the same effect and therefore supplements can both increase and improve our energy levels.
Vitamin B12 can help reduce depression and improve moods by supporting the body’s stress response and regulating the nervous system. The vitamin can be an alternative to medications used to treat depression and mood disorders, many of which can potentially hold harmful side effects.
Cancer Fighting Properties
Vitamin B12 can help alongside other nutrients to keep cells healthy and can help synthesize DNA. The vitamin can not only help prevent cancer, but supplements can also reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 40%. Once combined with vitamin B12, nutrients such as folic acid can be beneficial to brain development too.
Being the number one killer in the US, heart disease can be caused by lack of exercise and a poor diet. Once combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, vitamin B12 can decrease the risk of heart disease and blood clots, through supplementing the vitamin in your daily diet.
By increasing dietary sources or taking daily supplements of vitamin B12, mothers can ensure both themselves and baby are getting all of the benefits of the vitamin throughout the pregnancy. This can also reduce the risks of birth defects due to the role it plays in supporting a healthy development.
Reduces Anemia Effects
Those who suffer from anemia may benefit from taking additional vitamin B12 to reduce the effects of the condition. Anemia is an iron deficiency that obstructs the body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and nutrients it needs, so a supplement can really help the condition.
Vitamin B12 can act as both an anti-inflammatory agent and a form of pain relief and management, by regulating the inflammatory response of major health problems. Multiple conditions such as neuralgia, mouth ulcers and diabetic neuropathy can all be helped by the vitamin, as well as autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis. Methylcobalamin, a form of vitamin B12, can been known to reduce clinical symptoms such as paresthesia, and can help relieve the discomfort of neck and back pain.