“What are the benefits of vitamin B12 anyway?”
Fair question. By now, most of you should be aware of the fact that vitamin B12 is ultra-important for your existence, but what does it really do and how does it benefit our bodies? B12 is one of the most controversial subjects out there, as it is a sensitive intersection between the vegetarian, vegan and the ferocious meat-eating communities.
What Does Vitamin B12 Do?
I will try to shed some light over the benefits of B12 as well as some general knowledge about this unique nutrient. What is B12? How can it help you? Let’s go and check the true face of this amazingly available. A B12 deficiency can easily wreck havoc on your system, and you want to avoid that anytime.
Where Do The B12 Vitamin Benefits Actually Come From?
This vitamin actually comes from a micro-organism that lives in animals’ guts and sometimes in the soil (one of the theories has something to do with animals excreta, but that’s another story). This bacteria feeds on the mineral ‘cobalt’ which is richly found in grass, and hence the name of the vitamin – cobalamin.
Carnivorous animals get their B12 dosage out of eating herbivorous animals with B12-producing-gut-bacteria. Immoral? It is the delicate balance and beauty of planet Earth. There’s no life without death, unfortunately.
Benefits of B12 Vitamin: What Is It Good For?
What does b12 do? As you will see, B12 benefits are vast:
- Proper formation of red blood cells.
Folate is required for the synthesis of red blood cells, these tiny disc-shaped cells that carry oxygen in your body to deliver it to each and every corner of your body. However, B12 is required in a reaction that converts folate into a form usable by the body to make red blood cells. Without that, folate can not participate in the formation of red blood cells, and is of no use. Anemia, anyone?
- Formation of a fatty protective insulation substance – Myelin.
Vitamin B12 is required for the normal functioning of the nervous system because it is essential for the synthesis and repair of a protective sheath wrapped around every nerve fibre in your body – the myelin sheath.
Without this layer, the nerves cannot transmit their impulses and electrical signals and if they stay completely stripped off the myelin sheath – they eventuall die. What a sad, crule destiny.
That’s why people with a B12 deficiency develop abnormal sensations, altered gaits (ataxia), etc.
- Hormonal efficiency and B12 effect on the endocrine system.
The hormones in your body serve numerous important functions and need a fully cuntional cell membrane – something that surrounds each and every cell of your body. Without a healthy cell membrane, hormones can not enter the cells in your body to produce the effects they are normally supposed to produce.
That’s because these chemicals need special receptors to get inside your cell. Since these receptors are present on the cell membranes, damage to these membranes will make the receptors unstable, making it impossible for the hormones to get into the cells of your body.
In short, without B12’s stabilizing effect on your cell membranes, most of your hormones will just float around in your blood till they’re excreted. Damn.
- Lowering the levels of an amino acid called Homocysteine.
B12 is involved in the metabolism of a chemical called ‘Homocystein’, a substance that is associated with depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and non-specific mood disorders. Not only that, but high levels of homo cysteine are constantly being linked to almost any kind of a modern disease (cancer, heart disease, etc) you can think of.
That’s because without B12, homocysteine is not converted into the form the body needs and it begins to accumulate in the blood, damaging the nervous system as well as the heart (which is why it is associated with cardiovascular disease, as described in our book.)
- Preventing auto-immune diseases
Auto-immune diseases comprise a fairly large group of conditions in which the body’s immune system faultily recognizes the body’s own compones as ‘foreign’ and launches a vicious immune attack on them.
Under normal conditions, there are special substances attached to each and every cell of your body which are sort of like ‘markers’, telling the cells of your immune system, ‘You’re completely unauthorised to attack me. I’m a citizen of this state.”
These markers are attached to your cell membrane and, and as we’ve already said – B12 is one of the factors that contribue to the stability of the cell membranes. If they are faulty – those markers will fall off and your own immune cells will fail to recognize the rest of the cells of your body, attacking them, ‘thinking’ they are the enemy.
- DNA replication.
In our very same book, Aqsa named this as ‘B12’s most interesting and important function’, and for a good reason. Never forget that DNA is necessary for the proper formation of our DNA, the genetic package that is a part of all of us.
- Energy production and metabolism boosting, one of the most popular vitamin B12 benefits.
Vitamin B12 is invloved in the conversion of carbohydrates and fats into ATP – the energy currency of your body. Without it, these substances can not be utilized well and you won’t be getting the energy you wish to derive from the food you eat. So remember, all that yummy food won’t be of any benefit if there is not enough B12 in your system.
- Tissue growth
Many people think of getting vitamin B12 injections for weight loss purposes, as B12 does boost up your metabolism. You can, however, get the same benefits by eating natural B12 food sources, unless you have absorption issues in your stomach, which makes the shots an excellent and very effective choice. Just make sure you get the effective Methylcobalamin shots and not their notorious Cyanocobalamin brothers.
These are the main vitamin B12 benefits and side effects are fairly hard to develop, as this is a water soluble vitamin, thus making it hard to reach a dangerous overdose.
Watch your health fellas, as Buddha once said – “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
Some of the knowledge provided above is taken from our book- ‘The B12 Deficiency Survival Handbook‘.
Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences, using the comment box below.
Important Note: This article was written for informational purposes and for your own use. It is not intent to replace a medical advice. Always consult your physician if needed.