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Vitamin B12: Discover the benefits it can bring to your life

The human body needs several nutrients to stay healthy and functional: proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins. They are responsible for important functions in the body and when they are at levels below normal, they can end up causing some long-term problems.

Vitamins are essential in the human body, functioning as additives for several important functions, even if they do not function as energy or cellular replacement material.

They need to be ingested through food, as the body does not produce essential vitamins on its own. You need to have a balanced and healthy diet to maintain adequate levels of these nutrients in the body.

And one of the most important vitamins to ingest is vitamin B12. Learn more about this substance, find out how to get it, its importance for your body and what can happen if you are deficient in this vitamin.

5 amazing benefits of vitamin B12

Like every essential vitamin, B12 brings a number of incredible benefits to your body in the short and long term. Check out:

1. Maintenance of nervous system functions: according to nutritionist and Master in Health Sciences from USP, Patrícia Cruz, one of the main benefits of vitamin B12 is the aid in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, essential chemical substances in the process of “communication” between cells and, therefore, in carrying out the most diverse internal and external actions of the body.

2. Formation of DNA: according to Patrícia, vitamin B12 is one of the substances responsible for the formation of cellular DNA. The intake of this vitamin is essential in this aspect, after all, damage to this component of the cell can lead to mutations that later lead to the development of some cancer.

3. Protection of nerve cells: the specialist also highlights that vitamin B12 plays an important role in protecting nerve cells, as it is one of the main components of the myelin layer, which protects neurons and regenerates damage caused to these cells. Thus, its consumption can help to delay or avoid diseases derived from the degeneration of neurons (such as dementia, for example).

4. Increases fertility: vitamin B12, acting directly on the DNA, together with folic acid, allows an increase in fertility in women, helping those who intend to become pregnant. It also helps in increasing ovulation. In addition, vitamin B12 greatly reduces the chances of a miscarriage.

5. Prevents anemia: Vitamin B12 is an important component in the formation, maturation and protection of red blood cells, in order to keep them healthy and prevent the development of anemia.

That is, consuming vitamin B12 is essential to maintain a number of functions in your body.

What Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Cause

According to nutritionist Patrícia Cruz, vitamin B12 deficiency brings a series of short and long-term problems.

In the short term, she may experience loss of muscle strength, fatigue, pain and dizziness. In the long term, it can cause mental confusion, vision problems, hyperhomocysteinemia (a marker that increases the risk of heart problems) and anemia.

In cases of more severe deficiencies, it can lead to neuropathy, even causing partial or total loss of movement.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused mainly by low consumption of foods that are the main sources of the substance. But that’s not the only reason.

According to Patrícia, it can also occur due to a deficiency in the production of intrinsic factor, parental cells or even changes in plasma transport.

This deficiency can be boosted in risk groups, such as restricted vegetarians, the elderly and patients with gastrectomy or other stomach diseases, such as ulcers and neoplasms.

In cases of deficit, an increase in the consumption of foods rich in vitamin B12 is indicated and, depending on the case, supplementation is prescribed.

Folic acid is also an important ally to prevent deficiency of this nutrient. Combined with a good diet, both help to prevent anemia, improve fertility and also keep homocysteine ​​levels low. Patrícia Cruz recalls that some studies indicate that this substance is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. That is, consuming folic acid and vitamin B12 also helps prevent heart problems.

Where to find vitamin B12

Okay, now you know that vitamin B12 is important for your body and that it is therefore essential that you maintain adequate consumption of it.

It is worth remembering that the recommended amount of consumption for adults is 2.4mg per day. But then, where to find it?

See in the table which foods are richest in this vitamin:

You can see that there is no shortage of foods for you to consume and ensure a good amount of vitamin B12, right? However, there is a detail: did you notice that there are no vegetables included in this list? That’s why there is a concern for anyone who is vegan or vegetarian.

Vitamin B12, vegetarianism and veganism

As we mentioned before, vegetarians and vegans are part of the risk group for vitamin B12 deficiency. That’s because, the main source of this substance is of animal origin and, due to restrictive diet, people who follow this philosophy of life need more care.

Nutritionist Patrícia Cruz emphasizes the importance of performing a biochemical analysis of the concentration of vitamin B12 in the body from time to time, in order to verify whether there are problems with the concentration or not. If necessary, supplementation should be chosen.

Vitamin B12 supplementation

Vitamin B12 supplementation may end up being indicated, as we say, in severe cases with symptoms of deficiency of the substance in the body.

It basically consists of ingesting products (capsules, tablets, injectables or suspension) that contain the isolated vitamin in the recommended daily amounts.

It is necessary to check the concentration of vitamin B12 in the body, through an exam, and opt for a replacement treatment based on medical advice.

What Can Too Much Vitamin B12 Cause?

According to nutritionist Patrícia Cruz, the intake of this substance in amounts above the indicated can lead to an increase in lymphocytes (defense cells of the body), in addition to changes in the spleen. Therefore, the ideal is that you maintain the indicated consumption per day and do not supplement on your own, without indication of a responsible professional.

So, now that you know all about vitamin B12, it’s just a matter of taking care of your diet, as needed, and staying healthy.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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