Vitamin B12 can be found in animal proteins and is crucial to a number of body functions. If you are following a vegan or a vegetarian diet, it is important to take a Vitamin B12 supplement to avoid suffering from a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B12 provides your body with one of the building blocks of DNA. Without enough Vitamin B12, your cells will not have the building blocks needed to replicate their DNA and reproduce. Vitamin B12 will affect your entire system since every cell in your body needs Vitamin B12 among other elements to synthesize DNA.
Red blood cells are partly synthesized from Vitamin B12. These are the cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to your different organs. Red blood cells play a crucial role and you can suffer from anemia and other health issues if your body cannot synthesize enough red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 also plays an important part in neurological functions. Your brain and nervous system rely on cells known as neurotransmitters to relay information. Vitamin B12 is used to synthesize serotonin, one of the most important neurotransmitter for your mood. Low levels of Vitamin B12 can result in low levels of serotonin, which can cause you to feel tired and depressed.
Vitamin B12 is also used to synthesize the myelin sheaths that protect your nerves. Myelin sheaths protect your nerves from damages caused by free radicals. Without healthy myelin sheaths, your nerves can become damaged and eventually die.
Vitamin B12 helps protect your heart and your arteries from a protein known as homocysteine. Vitamin B12 contributes to eliminating this protein which can cause heart disease as well as damages to your arteries. You need to eat enough foods that contain Vitamin B12 to keep your homocysteine levels below a healthy level.
Homocysteine can also have a negative impact on your bones. High levels of this protein in your system can increase your risks of developing osteoporosis. A diet rich in Vitamin B12 will help reduce levels of homocysteine in your system and reduce your risks of developing osteoporosis.
Vitamin B12 is crucial to these different systems. A diet that is too poor in Vitamin B12 can cause you to feel tired all the time since your blood will not be able to carry enough oxygen to your organs. On the long term, you will be more at risk for a number of conditions such as heart disease, damages to your nerves, osteoporosis and signs of aging might appear faster if your cells are unable to synthesize enough DNA.
Ideally, your diet should include 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 every day. You might need to take a higher daily dose if you are suffering from vitamin deficiency.
If you are suffering from fatigue, numbness, tend to lose your balance and easily get out of breath, you should have some blood work done. This is the best way to determine if you suffer from vitamin deficiency and to determine which vitamins are lacking from your diet. Your doctor might prescribe a Vitamin B12 supplement or recommend that you take a multi-vitamin supplement for a while.
If you are currently following a vegetarian or a vegan diet, you need to introduce a Vitamin B12 supplement in your diet since animal proteins are the main source of Vitamin B12. If you want to avoid meat but would rather not take a supplement, eat raw cheese and cottage cheese to get your daily dose of Vitamin B12. You should meet with a doctor or with a nutritionist to make sure your diet contains all the vitamins you need to take.