Vitamin B12 is a naturally occurring, water-soluble vitamin that occurs naturally in some foods, is added to other foods, and is present in vitamins or available by prescription. Vitamin B12 is a necessary vitamin that the body requires for proper neurological and blood function. Some people have deficiencies of this vitamin, which can lead to further health problems.
Vitamin B12 is readily available in all animal products, such as fish, eggs, poultry, meat, milk and milk products. Most plant foods do not contain vitamin B12, so vegetarians, vegans and even lacto-ovo vegetarians will need to take supplements or eat fortified foods to make sure they get enough of this crucial vitamin. All people, including infants and children, need this vitamin in varying amounts. Adults need at least 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of B12, with pregnant and lactating women needing 2.6 and 2.8 mcg, respectively. Children need anywhere from 0.4 to 1.8 mcg, depending on age. To put those amounts in perspective, meat has about 1.4 mcg per serving, while chicken has 0.3 per serving. Fortified cereals such as Cheerios or Kashi have 6.0 mcg of B12 per serving.
For people who are vegetarian, vegan, or lacto-ovo vegetarian, it is easy to get the recommended daily amount of B12 by eating these fortified cereals. However, in order to be sure you are getting enough of this necessary vitamin, there are many supplements and even prescription injections of this vitamin available. Most multi-vitamins have B12, but it is important to note that the body does not absorb B12 as easily this way. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg tablet will actually be absorbed. There are also lozenges, tablets and injections available by prescription. These can allow for a more direct source of vitamin B12, which gives the body a better chance to absorb the vitamin.
Some people are predisposed to have a harder time absorbing vitamin B12, and these people need to be careful to get enough. People with pernicious anemia, older adults, pregnant and lactating women on strict vegetarian diets, vegetarians and vegans, people with gastrointestinal disorders and prior gastrointestinal surgery all need to make sure they are getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12. These individuals usually respond well to injections or oral doses of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for overall health. Deficiencies in this vitamin can result in anemia, fatigue, gastric problems, heart palpitations, cardiovascular disease, dementia, low energy, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss and other symptoms. In infants, B12 deficiencies can show up as failure to thrive and developmental delays. It is nearly impossible to overdose on it since extra B12 will simply be expelled by the body.
Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for overall health and vitality. Without it, people suffer greatly. There are easy solutions to upping the amount of vitamin B12 in your diet, and those include eating more animal products, taking a multivitamin or separate B12 vitamin, or getting B12 injections.
Vitamin B Benefits
Vitamin B is also known as B-complex because in actuality there are eight types of vitamin B that are responsible for different bodily functions and processes. One thing that B-complex vitamins do have in common is the ability to increase energy and vitality within the human body. Besides its amazing energizing properties, what is vitamin B good for? The answer is plenty. Vitamin B-1, also known as thiamin has several functions such as supporting the adrenal glands hormone production, improving mental clarity, increasing metabolic rate and helps blood vessels and nerves to regenerate and function properly. Thiamine levels tend to decrease as a person ages, which leads to memory loss and muscle weakness. This has led many vitamin manufacturers to include larger doses of thiamin in multi-vitamins labeled for senior citizens.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2 is next in line. Riboflavin is responsible for the body’s utilization of oxygen within the blood stream. Oxygen is required for blood cells to regenerate and the heart to pump efficiently. Without adequate amounts of riboflavin, individuals can suffer health issues such as fatigue, blindness, crusting of the lips and anemia which inhibit proper immune function. Niacin which is the next B vitamin, also called vitamin B-3 has a more neurological effect on the human body. It helps lower cholesterol and helps prevent and treat certain conditions such as schizophrenia and Raynaud’s disease. When combined with vitamin C, niacin is also an effective treatment in lipoprotein production that is the common cause of heart disease. With all these benefits, wondering what is vitamin B good for, may just be answered within these few examples, but the list does go on.
Vitamins B-5 and B-6 are crucial to fetal development and overall well-being. These vitamins help reduce stress by increasing hormone production from the adrenal gland that supports healthy immune and brain function. Folic acid prevents birth defects and breaks down excess homocysteine levels that can damage the arteries. Prenatal vitamins are often fortified with these forms of vitamin B.
Now to focus on the most popular of the B-complex vitamins, B-12. Vitamin B-12 is commonly used to treat patients suffering fatigue and suppressed immune function. It is responsible for creating proper gene function and creating blood cells to carry oxygen and nutrients through the body. When B-12 levels drop significantly, individuals can suffer from depression, anxiety, mental illness and even death. Your heart also benefits from B-12 as it prevents hardening of the arteries and protects this most important muscle.
The last two B-complex vitamins, biotin and choline hold many of the same properties as their brother, B-12. They increase energy, prevent and treat heart disease, help treat cancer and support the immune system. Biotin has one other attribute that the other B vitamins do not. It helps treat diabetes symptoms by metabolizing amino acids in the blood stream. Through all the information available on B-complex vitamins, the general public can now answer, what is vitamin B good for.