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Along with macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats, the human body also requires micronutrients like vitamins and minerals to function at optimal levels. Vitamin B12 is one such micronutrient that is essential for several bodily functions.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-Complex. On an average, adults require about 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 every day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need about 2.6 – 2.8 micrograms daily.
The Importance of Vitamin B12
The Three Main Vitamin B12 Benefits Are:
DNA synthesis: DNA contains the genetic code that makes us human. The entire functioning of the body depends on DNA. Among vitamin B12 uses is an important role in the generation of new DNA which is important during foetal development. This is why expectant mothers are given vitamin B12 as part of their antenatal vitamins. Throughout our life, vitamin B12 is also required to maintain the structure of DNA. As healthy DNA can delay the onset of aging, vitamin B12 benefits can include retaining youth and vitality.
RBC synthesis: RBCs or red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This oxygen is used to burn carbohydrates and generate energy for every function of the body. The functions of vitamin B12 include the production of healthy RBCs. Vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to a condition called anaemia wherein the RBCs are the wrong shape and therefore cannot carry sufficient oxygen. This can leave you feeling tired and unwell.
Nerve tissue synthesis: The importance of vitamin B12 extends to the nervous system as well. Nerve cells contain a long filament called an axon that connects to other nerve cells or muscles. These axons are similar to electrical wires and carry electrical impulses. To prevent cross-connections, axons are insulated with a layer called the myelin sheath. Without vitamin B12 the body cannot produce myelin which could, in turn, lead to a whole lot of neurological disorders.
Sources Of Vitamin B12
It is now obvious that vitamin B12 benefits are highly important for the body. However, the body cannot make vitamin B12 which is why we need to get it from external sources like our diet or a supplement.
Some good sources of dietary vitamin B12 include:
- Milk and dairy products
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Nutritional yeast
A vitamin B12 supplement can be administered through an injection as oral supplements tend to not be effective.
The importance of vitamin B12 has to be taken seriously so as to ensure that everyone gets their daily requirement. However, good health depends on a well-balanced diet that contains all essential nutrients. A daily fitness routine can also go a long way in keeping our minds and body healthy. You can check out more health resources on our Activ Living Page and the Mindfulness section.