Have you heard of cobalamin? Chances are you know of it by its more commonly used name: Vitamin B12. Like all of the B vitamins, it’s incredibly important for the body’s health. After all, vitamin b12 is responsible for so many interactions within the body. This particular water-soluble B vitamin is critical for the health of the brain, and also the nervous system. It is also important for the cell metabolism of every cell in the body. It is especially helpful for the red blood cells as well. These are just a few ways that vitamin b12 helps the body.
A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious consequences. Unfortunately, it’s also a vitamin that many people are deficient in. This is because no animal, not even humans, can produce vitamin B12 through their own bodily processes. To make matters worse, it is also not found in plants. Only bacteria are capable of producing vitamin B12, which makes it very difficult to acquire this particular nutrient naturally. As such, numerous supplements and vitamin fortified food products are created specifically to help people maintain the necessary levels of vitamin B12 and other nutrients that are difficult to acquire.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to detect a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is because a lot of the early warning signs that appear when levels first begin to dip are easy to overlook. A minor deficiency may bring on headache, shortness of breath, or fatigue. It may also result in depression and poor memory. Sadly, many of these symptoms are easy to ignore, or chalk up to other less serious causes. However, a Vitamin B12 deficiency is very serious and can lead to permanent brain and nerve damage given the role that it plays in brain and nerve health.
What Vitamin B12 Does for Our Brains
Vitamin B12 is a strong component for a large number of critical functions in the body. As mentioned, it is important for the nervous system in that it facilitates nerve growth, and also protects the nerves from damage, thereby keeping them functioning at full efficiency. It also helps with brain health, regulating hormones to keep moods balanced. In fact, deficiencies in vitamin B12 have been shown to cause serious brain shrinkage and nerve damage, along with mental problems. Memory loss and cognitive impairment are common, as are symptoms of mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and paranoia at extremely deficient levels.
What Vitamin B12 Does for Our Hearts
While it may take a long while for a deficiency of vitamin B12 to manifest in the form of heart trouble, it is quite involved with the health of the heart and the circulatory system. For example, it is key in the formation of red blood cells, ensuring their health. As such, it also contributes to proper circulation, which helps with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, including carbohydrates and fat, which provide the body with energy. Lack of sufficient vitamin B12 can lead to swollen, inefficient red blood cells via macrocytic anemia which can cause heart attacks or stroke.