When it comes to being as healthy as you can be, you need to know your ABCs…your vitamin ABCs, that is! We all know that a healthy diet packed full of good fat and veggies brings us a punch of healthy goodness, but it may surprise you to learn exactly how important one single member of the Vitamin B family can be. B12 is sometimes called the ‘powerhouse’ of vitamins, and the benefits of taking B12 are vast. Today we look at exactly why- and how you can get more of this essential vitamin in your diet.

Power up your brain and body

Sometimes called ‘Cobalamin’, B12 is the go-to vitamin for extra energy. The whole B family is important for energy production, but B12, particularly, often has tiredness and loss of joie de vivre as one of the first signs of deficiency. 

B12 does more than just power up the body, however. Vitamin B12 deficiency is strongly correlated with loss of cognitive function, especially in older adults. A combination of Omega 3 fatty acids and B12 has even shown promising signs for helping ease the progression of dementia! Low levels of B12 have been shown to have a severe impact on memory, also. By preventing brain atrophy, B12 helps preserve neurons, keeping you sharp and feeling great.

Ward off depression

Depression is, of course, a complex disease, but it’s B12 could be a valuable addition to your toolbox. B12 regulates serotonin production, and studies suggest using an antidepressant with B12 yields better results than using the antidepressant alone. It’s been linked to better treatment outcomes and better recovery from major depressive incidents, too.

Eyes, bones, blood and birth defects

Vitamin B12 has also been shown to help ward off age-related macular degeneration in tandem with B6 and Folic Acid.

Talking about that powerhouse pairing, we couldn’t look at the benefits of B12 without mentioning how crucial all 3 are to the development of a healthy pregnancy. So much so that pregnant women are encouraged to supplement throughout their pregnancy, even if they have otherwise normal B-vitamin levels. B12 is a key component of the brain and nervous system and ensuring you and your baby has adequate B12 for healthy development is critical.

While it seems a little odd, B12 has also been linked to healthy bone density and thus is important in preventing osteoporosis, as well as playing a key role in the body’s manufacture of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 anaemia is often mistaken for classic, iron-related anaemia, too. Lastly, it helps keep the heart safe through lower homocysteine levels.

Look good on the outside, too

B12 is also key to growing luscious locks, strong nails, and getting that glowing skin through its role in cell production. It can even help with vitiligo, hyperpigmentation, and other dermatological issues like angular stomatitis. Scrappy hair and flaking nails are some of the first places a B12 deficiency will show, in fact!

Older adults, those with digestive or blood sugar issues, and vegans are all at-risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. More importantly, almost all of us would benefit from making sure our B12 levels are optimum to remain fighting fit. It’s naturally found in healthy fish and animal products, as well as some fortified cereals. You can also add a Vitamin B12 supplement to your daily health regime for added security.

Where would we be without Vitamin B12, eh? So make sure your diet is rich in this key vitamin to maintain optimal health and feel great too.