Why you should get your vitamin B12 levels checked

Combined ShapeCaption
3 scientifically supported, health benefits , of vitamin B12.According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, .is used in the formation of red blood cells, nerve function and the creation of DNA. .Poultry, meat, fish and dairy products are among the best sources of vitamin B12. .Here are just 3 of the scientifically backed ways that B12 is good for you. .1. It might help prevent osteoporosis.A study published in theJournal of Bone and Mineral Researchfound that individuals with higher levels of vitamin B12...... also had higher bone mineral density.2. It may improve cognition.A study published in the American Academy of Neurology showed a link between B12 markers in the body...... and improved cognitive function and brain volume.Another study linked lower levels of vitamin B12 with poorer memory performance and learning ability.3. It might reduce depression.Multiple studies have found correlations between B12 deficiency and depression. .One study, published in the Open Neurology Journal, .found that 100% of depressed individuals who were treated with vitamin B12 supplementation showed a decrease in symptoms of depression after three months.LifeHack.org recommends speaking with your health care provider to determine your own B12 levels.

Deficiency could cause problems ranging from fatigue to dementia

Vitamin D has received a lot of press the past couple of years, but it’s not the only nutrient you should be monitoring in your body. Another important one is B12, which helps to make red blood cells and DNA.

Insufficient amounts of B12 can cause a host of problems, from fatigue to dementia, studies have shown.

ExploreNear-meat and meat not nutritional equals, study finds

Dr. Eduardo Villamor, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, told Insider that recent research has found higher rates of cognitive decline in older people with both a vitamin B12 deficiency and an excess with either folic acid or vitamin B9.

He added that although research has suggested vitamin B12 might help with depression and dementia, more research was needed on how vitamin B12 affects neurological behavior.

“There is substantial interest on the role of vitamin B12 on neurocognitive performance, especially in the elderly,” Villamor said. “The role of vitamin B12 on fetal, infant and child neurodevelopment is also an important area of research.”

The nutrient affects your body in other ways, however. Because B12 reacts with compounds to produce DNA and energy, a mild deficiency can make you feel tired.

Do you have cracks or sores around your mouth? It could be because your body needs more B12. Those cracks could be caused by anemia, which happens your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to sufficiently distribue healthy read blood cells. This moderate deficiency might also cause tingling or numbness in your hands and feet.

ExploreTeen goes blind after eating only fries, chips and white bread since elementary school

If your B12 deficiency is severe, Villamor said it could cause “serious neurological and psychiatric manifestations.” Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Impaired cognition
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Dementia

Your body doesn’t produce B12, so you have to consume it. The only natural sources of the vitamin are animal products — meat and eggs — so vegans and those in areas where animal foods can be expensive need to be especially vigilant.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.