Does Vitamin B12 Give You Energy? And 6 Other FAQ About B12
Athletes, children, and average adults all have one thing in common. Their bodies need vitamin B12.
At every stage in life, your body needs vitamin B12. This vitamin performs a surprising number of different roles in your body. It helps with everything from nerve cell function to DNA synthesis and preventing health disease, to name only a few.
As more information about this vitamin emerges, people are starting to ask more questions about it. One of the most popular questions is does vitamin B12 give you energy?
People make endless claims regarding the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and alternative medicines. Most of these claims are true but several others are false. It’s no wonder people today are asking about the benefits of vitamin B12.
Here’s your chance to get to the facts about vitamin 12. Read more to find out if vitamin B12 gives you energy and answer any other questions you have.
What is Vitamin B12 Good For?
The most common question people ask is what exactly is vitamin B12 and what does it do?
Vitamin B12 also goes by the name cobalamin. It’s the largest vitamin molecule and the only one containing cobalt. The two active forms of vitamin B12 your body uses are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Both are enzymes found in vitamin B12.
Unlike some hormones or supplements, your body cannot produce B12. You must consume it from mainly animal-based products, although there’s debate some plants may produce it as well. The bacteria in your gastric system will process vitamin B12.
If you talk to your health professional, they will tell you vitamin B12 is necessary for your health. They’ll also recommend foods or vitamin supplements containing B12 if you’re not getting enough in your current diet.
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in your body with:
- Healthy nerve function
- Red blood cell production
- Optimal brain function
- Maintain healthy levels of homocysteine in your blood
Additional research suggests vitamin B12 helps to prevent dementia and heart disease in older adults. A deficiency of B12 can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Poor memory
- Tingling in hands and feet
If you experience more than 1 of these symptoms you should meet with your doctor.
Where Can You Get Vitamin B12?
Your body requires some amount of vitamin B12 in every stage of life. The recommended daily intake of B12 for adults is 2.4 mcg (micrograms), children need between 0.9 and 1.8 mcg, and pregnant individuals need about 2.6 mcg.
Where can you find vitamin B12? Meat and other animal-based products are the only natural forms of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12-rich foods include:
- Other meats
- Milk & dairy products
Since vitamin B12 lives mainly in animal-based products, where can vegetarians and vegans find vitamin B12? You can find that answer in fortified B12 products and supplements.
Fortified B12 foods include cereals, nutritional yeast, and meat substitutes. Check food labels to learn what foods contain fortified vitamin B12. Supplements
Not everyone can consume and absorb vitamin B12 orally. Age and medications can limit the amount of B12 your body can absorb. Fortunately, there are several other ways to get your recommended amount of vitamin B12.
You can apply B12 to your skin to help with canker sores. You can also take B12 via injection, the nose, under the tongue, and under the skin. How you take vitamin B12 depends on what you’re using it to treat and your dietary limitations.
Another place you may find a variety of B vitamins are in fortified energy drinks. But does vitamin B12 give you energy? Let’s find out!
Does Vitamin B12 Give You Energy?
For years people and marketing boasted about vitamin B12’s ability to boost your energy levels. Since it can maintain optimal health and prevent fatigue, one can understand why people would believe this. Yet we ask, does vitamin B12 give you energy?
The real answer is yes but not like you think. Taking vitamin B12, whether as a supplement or in a fortified food or drink will not give immediate energy like caffeine or sugar.
The vitamin does, however, help with your body’s energy production. The vitamin aids with converting your food into glucose, which the body uses as energy. Getting the recommended daily amounts of vitamin B12 can maintain energy levels and prevent fatigue or other serious issues.
If you’re feeling unusually tired on a daily basis, you should check with your doctor. Extreme fatigue is a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia, and other serious health problems. If undiagnosed, these problems can cause permanent damage to your body.
Can Vitamin B12 Prevent Depression?
Vitamin B12 helps with absorbing and synthesizing serotonin in our bodies. Nerve cells found in the digestive system and central nervous system produce serotonin which regulates our moods and keeps our bones healthy. Low levels of serotonin have connections with depression.
This has lead to another common belief, which is vitamin B12 can prevent or treat depression. But does it?
Studies have shown vitamin B12 can ease symptoms of depression. The main reason is those struggling will a vitamin B12 deficiency may have depression. Adding B12 to your diet can help improve your mood and lead to better treatment when used with antidepressants.
While vitamin B12 can help with depression, it does not prevent it or cure it. Don’t replace prescribed antidepressants or other medication with vitamin B12.
Does Vitamin B12 Improve Brain Health?
As we age, some of us will start to experience issues with memory loss and dementia. Some people may have little to no memory issues while others may experience severe problems. Almost everyone wants to prevent potential memory problems.
Does vitamin B12 help improve brain health? Research suggests that it can help.
Vitamin B12 helps with nerve health including the health of the neurons in our brains. Researchers are finding correlations with vitamin B12 and reduced brain atrophy.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause problems with memory performance. Adding a B12 supplement can improve brain function and memory.
There is, however, a need for more research. But the research that does exist strongly suggests vitamin B12 plays an important role in brain health and improving your memory.
Will Vitamin B12 Prevent Osteoporosis?
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining bone health. Our bones will lose mineral density and become fragile as we age. This leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis and other potential bone issues.
Researchers have found people with a vitamin B12 deficiency will have a lower bone mineral density. This increases their risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease reducing the bone mineral density (BMD). This makes bones more susceptible to fractures.
Post-menopausal women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. Both men and women should ensure they’re getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12 along with vitamin D and calcium to maintain good bone health.
Vitamin B12, however, doesn’t treat osteoporosis. But it can help prevent osteoporosis and the effects of a B12 deficiency. Consuming the daily recommended amount of vitamin B12 will keep you healthy as you age.
Who Should Take Vitamin B12?
As mentioned above, everyone needs some vitamin B12 for health. Most people should get plenty of vitamin B12 through natural and fortified foods containing B12. As long as your body can absorb and process the vitamin, you should be good.
There are, however, many people whose bodies can’t absorb and process the vitamin. For these individuals, eating foods rich with vitamin B12 can still lead to a deficiency. Other people at risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Elderly adults
- Individuals who’ve had gastrointestinal surgeries
- Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s or Celiac disease
- Strict Vegans
- Individuals taking some antacid medications such as proton pump inhibitors
- Individuals taking metformin medication for blood sugar
Older adults have a tougher time absorbing vitamin B12 as their bodies produce less hydrochloric stomach acid. This acid is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption.
If your body is struggling to absorb vitamin B12, your doctor may give you an injection of vitamin B12 to increase your levels. This is often done as an intramuscular shot.
Vitamin B12 is Vital for Your Energy and Your Health
Vitamin B12 is necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It strengthens your bones, promotes brain health, and improve your mood.
But does vitamin B12 give you energy? While it doesn’t give you an immediate surge of energy, it does help you maintain consistent energy levels. If you’re feeling tired or weak more often than not, adding Vitamin B12 might help!
Are you interested in learning more about vitamin supplements and their benefits? Let us know, we’re happy to help you with any of your supplement needs.