What is Vitamin B12 and What Does B12 Do?
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
Our body requires a host of important vitamins and minerals, ranging from potassium to vitamin D to calcium and more. It can be tough to track all the vitamins and minerals we need for everyday success, which is why we offer a range of vitamin shots and supplements at Next|Health.
Among the most important vitamins to make sure you get enough of is vitamin B12. People often stress getting enough vitamin D or vitamin C, but vitamin B12 is just as (if not more) important as the others. Despite its importance, many people don’t get enough vitamin B12 for holistic wellness, leading to severe deficiencies and several unfortunate symptoms.
Not sure whether you should get a vitamin B12 supplement, or don’t know what vitamin B12 actually does for your body? Not to worry.
This guide will break down everything you need to know about vitamin B12 and the functions it performs for cellular performance and bodily wellness. Let’s dive in.
Vitamin B12 Explained
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolves in water for easy absorption by your body. However, water-soluble vitamins can’t be stored by your body in fat. Therefore, you need to regularly replenish all water-soluble vitamins to ensure proper bodily functions and the health of several systems.
Vitamin B12 technically exists in multiple forms. All types of vitamin B12 compounds are collectively called “cobalamins” since they contain cobalt by default. In human metabolism, vitamin B12 primarily comes in two forms: methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.
Since your body requires lots of vitamin B12 for overall health, you have to obtain enough of it from your diet or from supplements.
What Does Vitamin B12 Do?
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a wide range of bodily processes. For instance, vitamin B12 is needed for:
- The formation of new red blood cells
- Certain neurological processes
- DNA synthesis, which affects all the cells in your body
- As a cofactor for the synthesis of certain compounds, especially for compounds integral for the production of DNA, RNA, proteins, and more
Furthermore, vitamin B12 is essential for preventing a specific type of anemia. Megaloblastic anemia often causes people to feel weak or tired.
All in all, you should endeavor to never have a vitamin B12 deficiency no matter your wellness goals.
What is a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Many people experience a vitamin B12 deficiency because of their diets or lifestyles. These deficiencies occur when you don’t get as much vitamin B12 as you need for overall health.
You need different amounts of vitamin B12 based on your age. The average requirements of vitamin B12 separated by age are, according to the National Institutes of Health:
- 0-6 months: 0.4 mcg
- 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
- 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
- 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
- 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
- 14-18+ years: 2.4 mcg
- Pregnant women: 2.6 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 2.8 mcg
As you can see, it’s important for both children and adults to get enough vitamin B12 either from their diets or from additional supplements.
Your body has to follow two steps to absorb vitamin B12 from food. If there’s an issue with this process, you may accidentally experience a vitamin B12 deficiency, even if you consume enough.
Your stomach’s hydrochloric acid must first separate vitamin B12 from any protein in your food. Then the vitamin B12 has to combine with a special protein made in your stomach (called intrinsic factor) before it can be properly absorbed by your body.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A vitamin B12 deficiency can be quite serious and will cause a wide range of negative side effects. These effects include:
- General fatigue or tiredness
- Weakness in the muscles
- Loss of appetite
- Significant weight loss
- Megaloblastic anemia
- Nerve problems, including numbness and tingling in the extremities like the hands and feet
- Issues with balance
- Mental conditions such as dementia or poor memory
- Mood disorders such as depression
- Soreness in the tongue and mouth
Ultimately, vitamin B12 deficiency is quite serious and should be avoided at all costs, especially in children.
Where to Get Vitamin B12
Fortunately, there are lots of places to get vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found in a variety of natural animal foods and is commonly added to fortified foods. Note that plant foods don’t naturally include vitamin B12 by default unless they are fortified after harvesting.
The best food sources for vitamin B12 include many types of beef products, especially beef liver. Clams and several types of fish are also great sources of vitamin B12
Dairy products are often good sources of B12, especially if they are fortified. These include milk and yogurt. Other animal foods such as poultry and eggs can be eaten instead, however, if you are lactose intolerant.
Additionally, many modern breakfast cereals include vitamin B12 as a result of fortification. You should always be able to tell whether a food has vitamin B12 by checking the food labels on the back. These will also tell you how much vitamin B12 is included in a serving, allowing you to calculate whether you are meeting your daily requirements are not.
You can alternatively get vitamin B12 in the form of a supplement. This may be helpful if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and do not want to eat overly fortified foods for personal reasons.
The good news is that vitamin B12 is found in the majority of classic multivitamins, allowing you to hit all of your vitamin and mineral requirements with a single pill. Many other targeted dietary supplements that only include vitamin B12 can be found in grocery stores.
Shots and IV Drips
What if you have trouble remembering to take a multivitamin every day and can’t guarantee that you get enough vitamin B12 for health? In that case, you can make sure your body gets all the vitamin B12 it needs through targeted shots or IV drips.
For instance, Next|Health offers a variety of vitamin shots that are perfect for making sure your body gets its nutritional requirements without having to dramatically alter your diet or remember to take a pill every day. These vitamin shots are formulated with extensive collections of several essential B vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and more.
In a way, vitamin shots are tonics that give your body everything it needs to thrive, even if your diet could use a little work.
Next|Health’s specialized vitamin blends are designed for your health goals and can even be formulated for specific vitamin inclusions based on test results you take at one of our clinics.
The benefits of getting vitamin B12 through a vitamin shot are multifold:
- For one, you don’t have to get a vitamin shot every day. A single vitamin shot will contain enough vitamin B12 for a good while, allowing you to meet your wellness objectives without having to dramatically alter your lifestyle
- For another, vitamin shots don’t just include vitamin B12. They also include other helpful vitamins and minerals, as well as enhanced amino acids to boost muscle growth and overall fitness
Vitamin shots and IV drips can be administered at any of our brick-and-mortar clinics. Signing up for an appointment is quick and easy and each shot is administered by a knowledgeable member of our staff.
Your appointment will be quick and comfortable and you won’t need to worry about preparing beforehand. In general, appointments only last a few minutes; just show up, get your vitamin shot, and get back to your day.
How to Get Enough Vitamin B12
In general, it’s a good idea to adjust your diet or take a regular supplement if you want to ensure you get enough vitamin B12 for your long-term health. Next|Health’s Brain B shot, for example, contains plenty of vitamin B12 and other necessary amino acids and B vitamins, but it’s not a good idea to use a shot alone for meeting nutritional goals.
Instead, prioritize getting enough vitamin B12 in your day-to-day life from other sources. Then you can use our vitamin B shots and other wellness solutions to boost your performance and achieve even greater health.
Ultimately, vitamin B12 is a vital part of holistic bodily wellness and it’s not a vitamin you can afford to ignore. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested and see where your body’s vitamin B12 levels currently are, as well as what steps you can take to boost those levels if necessary.
Fortunately, you have multiple ways to boost vitamin B12, whether you decide to alter your diet, take a daily supplement, or boost your vitamin B12 levels through one of our specialized shots.
Have questions? You can contact Next|Health today and inquire about a quick 5-10 minute appointment. One of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have or address any concerns.