5 Surprising Benefits of Taking Vitamin B-12 Every Day

Here's how it can help if you have a deficiency, according to experts.

Not only does Vitamin B-12 enable the formation of red blood cells, tasked with delivering oxygen throughout the body, but it also helps you produce DNA and enhances cell metabolism. Your body doesn't produce vitamin B-12 naturally, but it can be found in your diet—in particular, in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and dairy. However, vegetarians, people over the age of 60, and people with certain health conditions are more likely to be deficient in this particular vitamin. If you do have a deficiency, experts say several surprising vitamin B-12 benefits may not be on your radar.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Benefits of Taking Magnesium Every Day.

1
It may help boost your energy.

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Vitamin B-12 has no proven benefits for people who are not deficient in the vitamin. However, if you suffer from fatigue due to anemia, taking a B-12 supplement should help. In fact, "exhaustion" is the most common tell-tale sign of a B-12 deficiency, The Washington Post reports.

"Vitamin B-12 is a great supplement if you need an energy boost," says Michelle Saari, MS, RD, a registered dietitian working with EHealth Project. "It helps in converting the food we eat into glucose, which is the body's preferred energy source. A deficiency in B-12 can lead to fatigue and weakness, as the body isn't efficiently converting food into the energy it needs."

2
It may help stabilize your mood.

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If you struggle with depression or anxiety, it may be worth asking your doctor to screen you for a B-12 deficiency.

"Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions," explains the Mayo Clinic. "Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression," their experts note.

Saari explains that this is because B-12 plays a significant role in the production and regulation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood balance.

"Serotonin impacts our mood, emotions, and sleep," she tells Best Life. "Adequate levels of B-12 can help in maintaining a stable mood and may be beneficial in treating and preventing mood disorders like depression and anxiety."

RELATED: 21 Surprising Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency.

3
It may help prevent macular degeneration.

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Some preliminary research seems to suggest that B vitamins and vitamin B-12 in particular may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of vision loss in seniors. According to a 2013 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, B-12 supplementation improved vision outcomes.

"Participants with a serum vitamin B-12 deficiency had higher risk of incident early and late AMD," the study authors wrote. "Participants who reported supplementary vitamin B-12 intake had 47 percent reduced risk of incident any AMD."

According to Lisa Richards, CNC, a nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet, B-12 lowers the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. "Chronically high levels of homocysteine are linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration," she explains.

4
It may help slow cognitive decline.

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"There's evidence suggesting that B-12 can help in reducing brain atrophy and cognitive decline, particularly in older adults," says Saari. "This is important for anyone wanting to prevent memory loss and maintain cognitive function as we age."

The dietitian notes that B-12 is also "vital for the maintenance and repair of nerve cells, which benefits our brains. It helps in the formation of the protective covering of nerves, known as the myelin sheath," she explains. "Without B-12, this sheath can deteriorate, leading to nerve damage. Healthy nerve cells are crucial for effective brain function, and B-12 plays a key role in ensuring the proper functioning and communication of these cells."

RELATED: I'm a Doctor and Recommend These 7 Multivitamins to Keep You Healthy.

5
It may help stave off osteoporosis.

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According to a 2015 study published in the journal Nutrients, Vitamin B-12 levels predicted bone mineral density and bone mineral content in women. "Women with marginal or deficient B-12 increased risk of osteoporosis substantially," the study authors wrote.

Saari says that you should ask your doctor about getting more B-12 if you are concerned about your bone health. "Bones with decreased mineral density can become delicate and fragile over time, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis," she explains. "Maintaining adequate levels of B-12 is important for bone health and strength."

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Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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