Vitamin B-12's primary function is to aid in metabolism, the process by which your body creates and uses energy. High blood levels of the common amino acid homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Due to this larger and irregular shape, the red blood cells are unable to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream at an appropriate rate, causing megaloblastic anemia (2). This article reviews 7 nutrients commonly lacking in…. Because vitamin B12 is also important for the production of red blood cells, a severe deficiency can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia, which can lower energy levels. This type of B12 works well to reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that at high levels increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. But, when a person doesn’t have the vigor to do it, it could be due to the lack of B12. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Methionine synthase catalyzes the conversion of homocysteine to methionine [ 5, 6 ]. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce. Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention. Studies show that a fetus’s brain and nervous system require sufficient B12 levels from the mother to develop properly. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission. Vitamin B12 supplements may help improve mood in people with an existing deficiency. However, research does not currently support the claim that vitamin B12 reduces this risk. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. However, if you think that you might be at risk, speak to your doctor. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Vitamin B12 is an important water-soluble vitamin, and deficiency is common. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don't contain vitamin B-12. Vitamin B12 is required to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Methyl B12 is needed as a co-factor to convert homocysteine back into methionine. Given vitamin B12’s role in cell production, adequate levels of this vitamin are needed to promote healthy hair, skin and nails. Here are 7 incredibly common nutrient deficiencies. One study in people with early-stage dementia showed that a combination of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acid supplements slowed mental decline (15). Healthy vitamin B12 levels are important for your hair, skin and nails. Methylcobalamin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. If your body has difficulty absorbing vitamin B12, your doctor may recommend intramuscular injections of B12 to increase your levels. For women with a vitamin B12 deficiency and levels below 150 mg/dL the risk was five times higher, compared to women with levels above 400 mg/dL (4). An estimated 6% of people in the US and UK aged 60 or older have vitamin B12 deficiency, while about 20% have low to normal or borderline deficient levels (29). Vitamin B12 – also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin, naturally found in some foods, added to others and synthesised by bacteria in the small intestine. Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur in one of two ways. Office of Dietary Supplements. Cobalamin may have a role in the prevention of disorders of brain development … Studies have shown that vitamin B12 helps decrease homocysteine levels, which may reduce your risk of heart disease (20, 21, 22). The myelin sheath is required for fast and effective nerve-impulse transmission. Stamina and energy are critical factors for better sex life. As a result, supplementing with this vitamin may improve memory, even in the absence of a clinically diagnosed deficiency (16). When taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe. Alzheimer’s Disease. It may be given to you for other reasons. Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Researchers believe that supplementing with vitamin B12 may lower homocysteine, a type of amino acid that is found in your bloodstream. Healthy red blood cells are small and round, whereas they become larger and typically oval in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency. Accessed Aug. 23, 2017. Low vitamin B12 levels cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly (2). Vitamin B12 deficiency in the beginning stages of pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defects. Sardines. Vitamin B 12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. All rights reserved. All B vitamins play an important role in your body’s energy production, though they don’t necessarily provide energy themselves (17). Vitamin B12 may benefit your body in impressive ways, such as by boosting your energy, improving your memory and helping prevent heart disease. Vitamin B12 can restore the body’s energy. Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse. This article examines each in detail, letting you know the best sources and how much you need. Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, New Year Special -  40% off – Mayo Clinic Diet Online, Advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that mainly affects your central vision. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods and is available as an oral supplement. The group receiving these supplements for seven years had fewer cases of macular degeneration, compared to the placebo group. B-12 helps regulate digestion, absorption, respiration, circulation and body temperature, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC 1. 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