What Does B-12 Have That Sets It Apart From Other Essential Vitamins

15% of the general population experience a B12 deficiency in their diets. 

One may ask, “Why take B12?” There are lots of other essential vitamins to include in health and wellness routines, so why is B12 important?

Vitamin B12 benefits and side effects are pretty simple, with most benefits outweighing the side effects. More people could benefit from a B12 supplement in their day to day wellness routines.

To experience vitamin B12 benefits and learn about the side effects of a deficiency in one’s diet, read this guide to stay informed.

What Is B12?

B12 takes the form of a medical prescription or a dietary supplement. A person’s body can metabolize it as a water-soluble substance in a variety of forms. Naturally present in some foods, it can be consumed daily via animal products.

As a vitamin, B12 is an essential vitamin for every person, depending on preexisting health conditions and dietary choices.

Unlike some essential vitamins, vitamin B12 offers far more flexibility in consumption and benefits. Its high solubility allows for consumption in various forms. It does not necessitate a medical prescription.

Although when considering adding a B12 supplement to one’s diet, first consult a primary care physician.

Sources of B12

One can experience vitamin B12 benefits from several sources. Some sources are organic and are supported by a healthy diet. This may not be an option for all. Some people may require a B12 supplement as a medical prescription from a doctor.

Food

Compared to other essential vitamins, one can find B12 in many sources of food. However, it may not fit specific diets or nutritional lifestyles (e.g., vegan or vegetarian), because it mostly exists in animal products. For those with specialized diets, it can be added to certain foods or taken as a dietary supplement.

Dietary Supplements

Anyone may take a  B12 supplement for any diets that may not include the consumption of animal products. One can also consider taking it for its many benefits to the body. If someone has a deficiency of vitamins like this, prescription medication may be the ultimate solution.

Prescriptions

Whether a person’s body has difficulty absorbing essential vitamins like B12 or suffers from an anemic disorder, a prescription for a B12 supplement might solve these problems. Possible treatment options exist beyond shots or pills.

Why Take B12?

Individuals with a B12 deficiency take it in some form. These individuals may suffer from anemia, be older adults, have gastrointestinal difficulty, be pregnant, or have diets that exclude animal products.

Even if someone does not suffer a deficiency of essential vitamins like B12, they can still supplement with it. For those desiring to experience vitamin B12 benefits, there are a few critical things to understand first.

As a Supplement

Many an adult, either pregnant, older in age, or concerned with a healthy diet, may take a B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 benefits many people outside of those with severe deficiencies in essential vitamins.

For Deficiencies

Specialized diets and persons with various health conditions may suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins. Some of these are age-related. Others’ rare health conditions cause a biological deficiency from genetic inheritance.

Other Conditions

Vitamin B12 benefits more than persons with health concerns or those interested in preventive health and wellness routines. B12 also treats other conditions, depending on the application and status of the persons in consideration.

For example, a person can treat canker sores with a sublingual or powder form of B12. One can also use it in cases of cyanide poisoning to help counteract its effects.

Vitamin B12 Benefits and Side Effects

At every stage in one’s life, a body needs essential vitamins like B12. They are called essential for a reason. B12 supplements help the body; they help the mind, mood, and beauty, too! Learn more about vitamin B12 benefits and side effects below.

Energy Boost

There are several products in existence that use a B12 supplement to boost energy levels. If someone suffers from a deficiency, they may experience a boost in energy. Otherwise, vitamin B12 benefits increase one’s stamina when working alongside other essential vitamins.

Improve Heart Health

Vitamin B12 benefits heart health by decreasing factors associated with high blood pressure. An amino acid called homocysteine is linked to heart disease, and those with a B12 deficiency are at a higher risk. A B12 supplement may help a body’s heart if it suffers from a lack of this vitamin.

Increased Metabolism

A body’s metabolic rate could increase with a B12 supplement. Energy production increases in bodies with normal levels of essential vitamins, burning stored fat more. A healthy diet and exercise routine, alongside taking B12 essential vitamins, can enhance a person’s weight loss journey, too.

Blood Cell Count

B12 can help boost a body’s red blood cell count. If it suffers a deficiency or is chronically anemic, a person may already have a medical prescription. When a body has low levels of B12, it struggles with red blood cell formation.

Preventive Measures

Vitamin B12 benefits more than people with regular deficiencies of essential vitamins. Often, it can be taken to help prevent major health concerns later in life. It makes for good preventive health care, too.

Birth Defects

For a healthy pregnancy, doctors may recommend a B12 supplement. Whether a person suffers anemia or not, high levels of essential vitamins like B12 can help with the healthy formation of vital organs for fetuses in utero. It also has a chance to decrease the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that often afflicts older adults. Taking a B12 supplement can help prevent the onset of this disease, protecting a body from possible vision loss. Because of its role in red blood cell formation, vitamin B12 benefits blood flow to optic centers and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.

Support Bone Health

Consistent use of a B12 supplement can protect bones. Bones become more porous and fragile as we age, leading to diseases like osteoporosis. Lower B12 levels are shown to result in reduced bone health, so taking a supplement on a consistent basis may counteract this result.

Mood Improvement

Vitamin B12 benefits are more than preventive or supportive of a body. They may benefit the mind and mood as well. A B12 supplement might help the natural processing of mood-boosting neurochemicals like serotonin.

High levels of essential vitamins like B12 are linked to better treatment for depressive mental disorders that suffer from disruption of happy brain chemicals like serotonin.

Aids Brain Function

In addition to helping one’s mood and the production of positive neurochemicals, vitamin B12 benefits may improve brain cells and memory performance. Taking a B12 supplement may slow mental decline by protecting the brain. Even if one has no deficiency, this supplement can help in the long run.

Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails

If one worries about healthy cell production, a B12 supplement might help. Discoloration in hair, skin, and nails can be improved with essential vitamins like this. If a body is not deficient, improvements in these areas may not appear. 

Side Effects

The side effects of a B12 supplement are not as risky as some other essential vitamins. As a vitamin, it is safe for most people. 

It is difficult to overdose with this vitamin, even in doses as high as 1000 micrograms. This is not the case with other dietary supplements, making B12 safer.

Some conditions might impact the taking of a B12 supplement. This is why it is always important to consult a primary care physician when trying to alter one’s diet. 

Who Needs to Show Caution When Taking a B12 Supplement

If a person has an allergy or sensitivity to cobalt or cobalamin, components used to synthesize B12, you should show caution.

If someone has a high red blood cell count, to avoid masking the symptoms of a condition, show caution. The same goes for abnormal levels of red blood cells. Casual use of a B12 supplement, without medical consultation, can harm one’s health.

Leber disease, a hereditary eye condition, can lead to blindness if a person takes B12 unadvised.

After undergoing surgery involving a stent, combining B12 with folate and B6 poses a considerable risk to health.

Note that people can avoid all of these side effects by first speaking to a medical professional. By no means is this list comprehensive, nor should it serve as a primary resource for reference. People should always consult a doctor before adding to vitamins or medication to their health regimen. 

How to Take a B12 Supplement

B12 is a water-soluble substance. This chemical aspect means that it can be taken in several forms: shots, pills, powders, and sublingually as a liquid.

Each of these forms of vitamin B12 benefits users in different ways. Depending on the reason for taking essential vitamins, one needs to know which type to choose.

Shots

B12 shot is not an over-the-counter solution. This form of the vitamin is not a supplement, but the result of a medical prescription. Doctors may prescribe injections of B12 for those with a severe deficiency.

Injections impact a body faster than pills do. Longer absorption time might be dangerous for some conditions. Immediate absorption through muscle tissue injection may be the body’s way of effectively absorbing vitamin B12 benefits.

Pills

A pill form is most common for a B12 supplement. Those without a dangerous deficiency of essential vitamins will take a pill form. This form is convenient because it can be purchased at any local drug store.

People do not have to take B12 as an isolated substance, either. Often, it is a component of a multivitamin aimed at providing all essential vitamins based on age or gender. 

A concentrated dosage of B12 may be the solution based on a person’s diet. If someone lives vegan or vegetarian, they need a higher concentration to avoid any deficiencies. If a body absorbs all of the nutrients, it should consume the dosage needed.

Powder

A powder form of vitamin B12 benefits those who also need a high concentration of it. If one has difficulty taking pills, a powder form can be mixed into water or a liquid meal like smoothies or shakes. The body may even absorb it more effectively and thoroughly than in pill form.

Liquid

People can also take a B12 supplement in liquid form. When taking this form, they should measure it out with care. One can take it under the tongue, or mix it into another liquid such as water.

Which Form Should People Take?

Whatever form of B12 a person takes may be determined by his or her health needs or preferred method of consumption. They are unlikely to take a liquid form if they do not have a deficiency. A blood test from a medical professional can determine if a body needs prescribed shots or not.

Essential Vitamins Are Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Whether one suffers from a condition that limits the intake or absorption of essential vitamins or not, one should take some as part of a healthy lifestyle. A person can supplement with targeted nutrients like B12, but may also take multivitamins for general protection of wellbeing.

Depending on age and gender, specific vitamins are more essential. Taking a blanket treatment like a multivitamin may be less effective than taking specified nutrients. If one consults a primary care physician, one may get a referral to a nutritionist or dietitian who can help further.

For more information about health and wellness topics and how to include them as part of a desire for a healthy lifestyle, check out the rest of our content. 

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