The benefits of vitamin B12 impact core functions within your body, and without sufficient levels can negatively impact your health. Our guide highlights the benefits of this essential nutrient, how much you need to avoid deficiency, and why you may consider oral sprays to improve your intake.
Table of Contents:
- What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?
- How Much B12 Do You Need to See Benefits?
- 6 Signs of B12 Deficiency
- How to Test Vitamin B12 Levels
- Supplements to Increase B12 Levels
- Can You Source Vitamin B12 Through Your Diet?
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?
There are many ways vitamin B12 benefits your body’s functions. It is an essential nutrient you need in order to remain healthy and well. It can be difficult to absorb enough vitamin B12 from dietary sources, and you may require vitamin B12 supplements to support an optimum intake.
The core benefits of vitamin B12 include:
- Contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue - B12 benefits your energy levels, and helps to keep you feeling free from tiredness or fatigue. B12 is vital to the chemical reactions within the body that metabolise the glucose (sugar) molecules to make ATP energy. Thus, sufficient intake of B12 can help you boost your energy levels naturally.
- Encourages normal function of the immune system - B12 supports the immune system through its contribution to producing a sufficient number of red and white blood cells. White blood cells are the cells which help to reduce pathogens, viruses, bacteria and other invasions of the body. In this way, with a sufficient amount, vitamin B12 benefits your immunity and helps your body to ward off illness and disease.
- Supports normal psychological function - Vitamin B12 benefits the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. These all contribute to an increased mood, and are known as the “happy hormones” for this reason. These help regular psychological function; helping to promote a balanced mood and helping you stay motivated.
- Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system - Vitamin B12 benefits the maintenance of homocysteine (an amino acid) levels. B12 (and other B vitamins) break down the amino acid to create other chemicals your body needs. High levels can lead to increased risk of dementia, heart disease and strokes. Therefore, in breaking down the amino acid, B12 helps to keep your homocysteine level low, thereby protecting the heart and blood vessels.
- Aids red blood cell formation - B12 is an essential substrate in the formation of red blood cells (known as erythropoiesis). These cells transport oxygen in the blood to the cells that need it. Without enough, your body won’t see the benefits vitamin B12 brings to your blood cells.
How Much B12 Do You Need to See Benefits?
In order to harness the benefits of vitamin B12, you need to intake sufficient amounts of the nutrient. How much vitamin B12 per day:
According to the NIH, the recommended daily dosage of vitamin B12 is:
- 2.4µg (micrograms) per day for adults aged 19+.
When supplementing, you should pay attention to nutrient reference value guidelines, and stay within the safe upper limit, to ensure you do not exceed what is healthy. It is important not to start a high-dosage supplement of any kind without first checking with your doctor.
6 Signs of B12 Deficiency
If you do not obtain the recommended levels of this vital nutrient, you may find yourself at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. The signs of low vitamin B12 include:
- Tiredness and fatigue - Low B12 levels is a common reason for being tired since the vitamin is needed to create red blood cells. Without sufficient red blood cells, your cells and muscles can’t get the oxygen they need, leaving your energy levels depleted.
- Glossitis (sore and red tongue) - Studies have shown glossitis can be caused by B12 deficiency, so whilst deficiency is not the only cause, you may be lacking the nutrient if you have a sore tongue.
- Pale skin - Pale skin can indicate low levels of healthy red blood cells because you may have lost some redness or colouration. Whilst not a symptom in itself, if you notice your skin is paler than usual it could be a sign you’re missing out on vitamin B12 benefits.
- Unbalanced mood - B12 benefits the levels of the amino acids homocysteine and methionine which can help to support your mood. Therefore, insufficient levels can lead to a poor mood and may mean you need more B12.
- Pins and needles - A common sign you are missing out on vitamin B12 is recurring pins and needles (tingling sensation in the hands and feet).
- Difficulty concentrating - B12 deficiency impacts the central nervous system. If you’re struggling to complete tasks and have ‘brain-fog’, it may be a sign of low levels of vitamin B12.
If you’re concerned that you may have low levels of vitamin B12 you should consult your Doctor who may arrange a test to determine if you’re at risk of deficiency. Alternatively, you can conduct an at-home test.
Who Is Most At Risk?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in certain people due to various risk factors. These risk factors include:
- Age - When we age, stomach acid production reduces, making it more difficult to break down foods to release nutrients for absorption. Because of this, older adults may be more susceptible to symptoms of B12 deficiency.
- Diet - Plant-based diets miss out the key sources of vitamin B12, meaning those with restricted diets, allergies, intolerances, or lifestyle may be more at risk.
- Health conditions - Some health conditions, particularly those which affect the stomach and intestine can impact the ability to absorb nutrients to see vital benefits of B12.
- Medications - Some medications can impact your ability to absorb B12. If you do take medication, you should check if it affects your B12 levels.
- Pernicious Anaemia - This autoimmune condition impacts your stomach lining, and is one of the primary causes of low B12 levels in the UK.
How to Test Vitamin B12 Levels
If you are concerned about your intake, it may be beneficial to test your levels to determine if you are at risk of missing out on vital benefits of vitamin B12. Testing for B12 deficiency at home is simple with BetterYou:
- Order your vitamin B12 test online.
- Fill the small vial using a quick prick of the finger once your test arrives.
- Send to our UKAS accredited lab partners with the pre-paid envelope - to analyse your sample.
- Receive your results via email within 5 working days of the lab receiving your sample.
- Receive your bespoke supplementation plan after your results have been sent to help you increase or maintain your nutrient levels.
Our vitamin at-home test kits arrive in the post and can be completed at home. That way, you can get back on track and support your body to see the benefits of vitamin B12 from home, with a free vitamin B12 oral spray with your results.
Supplements to Increase B12 Levels
Vitamin B12 can be difficult to absorb through traditional tablet supplements and diet. This is because it requires a very particular gut environment (with a sufficient amount of an enzyme known as ‘intrinsic factor’) to be absorbed. This will vary from person to person, making absorption unreliable.
Our vitamin oral sprays are an effective way to absorb this nutrient in order to see those vitamin B12 benefits. This is because 4 sprays deliver a high-dose of 1,200μg of vitamin B12 directly into your bloodstream through your inner cheek. By avoiding the gut’s primary processing, you can rely on your levels to increase effectively.
No need to be taken with food or drink, you can simply spray our Boost B12 Oral Spray into your mouth, an easy and effective way to gain the benefits of vitamin B12.
Can You Source Vitamin B12 Through Your Diet?
Whilst it is difficult to absorb vitamin B12 from foods, it is present in some key sources, including:
- Dairy products
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified nutritional yeasts
The food sources of B12 do mean that it can be difficult for those with restricted diets to obtain the recommended intake. Vegans in particular are likely to miss out on the benefits of B12 from their diet alone. B12 is one of the supplements that vegans should take in order to support their nutritional needs.
Supplementing with BetterYou
BetterYou pioneered hassle-free nutrition for our modern lifestyles - our pill-free supplements have been absorption tested by the Universities of Cardiff and Sheffield. Whether you’re looking for energy supplements for a needed boost, or sleep supplements to help you rest, we’re on hand to encourage a healthy lifestyle.