When you receive your personalized Binto supplements, you'll notice a small, round, red, chewable tablet. This is vitamin B12. But what is it, and what does it do for your body? Here, we'll dive into the benefits of B12 vitamins, why they're essential for good health, and all the things they do for your body.
Vitamin B12 (a.k.a. cobalamin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin that's found in foods such as poultry, meat, fish, dairy, and fortified food, as well as in supplement form. (It's not found in plants, which is why vegetarians and vegan may be at a higher risk of deficiency — more on that below.)
Benefits of B12 Vitamins
Vitamin B12 helps with a variety of functions in our body. It plays a crucial role in helping our bodies produce healthy red blood cells. Low vitamin B12 levels can cause your red blood cells become larger and oval, rather than small and round, which can prevent them from being transported to vital organs and lead to fatigue and weakness.
Vitamin B12 also plays a role in nerve function and the production of DNA. It also might help to boost your energy levels, if you're deficient in this vitamin.
In addition, B12 is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Research has shown can also help prevent birth defects, as well as premature birth or miscarriage.
While the mechanisms are not fully understood, science suggests that adequate levels of B12 are crucial for a stable mood, and preventing depression. While some studies have suggested benefits for heart health, prevention of dementia, and athletic performance, research has not been fully conclusive to establish these benefits.
How Much Vitamin B12 Do You Need?
The recommended daily intake is 2.4 micrograms for most adults. Pregnant women should get slightly more (2.6 mcg) and breastfeeding women should get 2.8 mcg. (Binto's B12 supplement provides 1,000 mcg, so you're more than covered!)
If you eat a balanced diet, it's likely your levels of vitamin B12 are fine. Supplementing the vitamin can't hurt though, as no consequences have been found from boosting your levels (and your body eliminates extra B12 through urinating). Plus, your body can store vitamin B12, so becoming deficient in vitamin B12 isn't common.
What Happens If You Don't Get Enough B12?
If you're vegetarian or vegan, you may be at a higher risk of B12 deficiency, since you can't get the nutrient from plant sources. Older adults, people who have had weight loss surgery, and people with conditions that affect the digestive tract, such as celiac or Crohn's disease, are also more prone to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency may include anemia; fatigue; muscle weakness; an inflamed tongue; cognitive difficulties; intestinal problems; and strange sensations, such as numbness or a tingling in the hands, legs, or feet, due to nerve damage. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe neurologic problems and blood diseases.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, try to focus on fortified breads, cereals, or other grains that have been fortified with vitamin, and take a daily supplement, like Binto!