One of the vitamins that plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body is vitamin B12. Unfortunately, unlike a number of vitamins that can be produced by the body yourself, you must get vitamin B12 from your daily diet (especially from meat, fish and milk) or from supplements. For adults in general, the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is around 2.4 mcg while pregnant and lactating women need more. Indeed, what are the benefits of vitamin B12 for body health?
Benefits of vitamin B12 for the body
In the body, vitamin B12 supports the normal function of nerve cells, the formation of red blood cells, and the formation of DNA. Here are some of the benefits of vitamin B12 for the body.
1. Maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis
Research conducted on more than 2,500 adults points to the fact that people who are deficient in vitamin B12 have lower bone density. Over time, low bone density makes bones brittle, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis.
2. Improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression
Vitamin B12 works to metabolize serotonin, a hormone in the brain that is responsible for stabilizing emotions and creating feelings of calm and happiness. Therefore, someone who experiences vitamin B12 deficiency is more prone to experiencing it mood swing and against depression risk.
Another study found that the consumption of antidepressant drugs coupled with the intake of vitamin B12 supplements decreased the severity of depressive symptoms at relapse, compared to depressed patients treated with antidepressants alone.
3. Maintain heart health
Another benefit of vitamin B12 is maintaining heart health. This vitamin helps reduce homocysteine (amino acid) levels that are too high. High homocysteine is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. An increase in homocysteine levels that are too high can damage the lining of the artery walls and make it easier for blood clots to form which can clog the lungs, brain and heart as well.
There is also some research evidence that vitamin B12 can help control cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. In addition, vitamin B12 is also able to control the buildup of harmful plaque in the vessels (atherosclerosis).
4. Prevent anemia
Vitamin B12 works to help the body produce healthy red blood cells. That's why adequate intake of vitamin B12 can prevent anemia. Anemia is a blood deficiency condition characterized by common symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, lethargy, and pale skin.
5. Reducing the risk of developing macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a vision disorder associated with aging, so it is more common in older people.
Quoted from Healthline, researchers found evidence that regularly taking vitamin B12 supplements can lower homocysteine. Apart from increasing the risk of heart disease, too high homocysteine can also increase the risk of macular degeneration.
The study was conducted on five thousand women aged 40 years and over for seven years. One group was given a placebo pill, while the other group was given a combination of vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid. The result, the group given vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid had a 34 percent lower risk of macular degeneration and 41 percent lower for the more severe type.
6. Prevent dementia
Vitamin B12 supports the normal function of brain nerve cells thereby preventing the shrinkage of brain size (atrophy) that occurs due to neuronal death. One study points to corroborating facts that lack of vitamin B12 levels can worsen memory.
The healthier, the more, and the stronger the connections between neurons in your brain, the lower your risk of experiencing memory loss related to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. A study in people with dementia in the early stages showed that a combination of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acid supplements helped slow memory decline.
7. Prevent birth defects
Another benefit of vitamin B12 is that it helps support the health of your pregnancy. Research shows that the fetal brain and nervous system need adequate levels of vitamin B12 from the mother to develop properly.
Lack of vitamin B12 in early pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defects. Pregnant women with vitamin B12 levels lower than 250 mg / dL are three times more likely to have a child with birth defects. Meanwhile, pregnant women whose vitamin B12 levels were below 150 mg / dL had a five times higher risk than women whose daily intake of vitamin B12 was sufficient.
In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to premature birth or miscarriage.
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