Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that your body needs for processes such as DNA creation, energy production, and the proper functioning of your central nervous system.
Despite the fact that the vitamin can be found in a variety of foods, B12 deficiency and insufficiency are rather frequent. Limited food intake, malabsorption, certain medical conditions, or the use of B12-depleting drugs are all common causes.
For reference, B12 levels above 300 pg/mL are considered normal, levels of 200–300 pg/mL are considered borderline, and levels below 200 pg/mL are considered deficient.
Deficiency is more common in elderly persons because their ability to absorb B12 from diet reduces with age. However, this does not rule out the possibility of B12 deficiency in children and young adults, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Unfortunately, B12 insufficiency is frequently misdiagnosed and ignored. This is frequently owing to insufficient laboratory testing or symptoms that are not unique to vitamin B12 insufficiency.
If you think you might have a B12 deficiency, you should see a doctor to discuss your symptoms and get tested.
Vitamin B12 Food Sources
Vitamin B12 is found in animal diets that are naturally fortified with it, as well as in fortified foods.
Dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry are all of the animal origins. Check the Nutrition Facts label on a product to see if it’s fortified with B12.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
You could get anaemic if you don’t get enough vitamin B12. A slight deficit may go unnoticed. However, if left untreated, it can cause symptoms such as:
- Weakness, exhaustion, or dizziness
- Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
- A soft tongue and pale skin
- Constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, or gas are all symptoms of a digestive problem.
- Nerve issues such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and walking difficulties
- Depression, memory loss, and behavioral changes are examples of mental health issues.
Is B12 a good source of energy?
You’ll feel weak and exhausted if your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to supply oxygen to your tissues.
Even if your B12 levels are considered within range or perhaps borderline low, you can develop fatigue and other symptoms associated with B12 insufficiency.
Vitamin B12 may help you feel less tired because of its role in energy metabolism. It aids in the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which your body transforms into energy. But wait, there’s more! Vitamin B12 is essential for your overall health.
Vitamin B12 can aid in the following ways:
- Enhance cognitive performance
- Aid in the generation of haemoglobin by boosting the immune system
- Reduce the risk of certain anaemias, such as B12 deficient anaemia
The Benefits of Vitamin B12 in Relation to Sleep
Vitamin B12 is necessary for brain function, and cardiovascular health, including the creation of red blood cells, and DNA activity. Here’s what we know about its sleep-related effects.
As a sleep-wake timer… Vitamin B12 plays an intriguing role. Several studies have shown that this vitamin aids in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles by synchronising circadian rhythms. At the same time, it’s unclear whether B12 has a direct effect on sleep. Low vitamin B12 levels have been associated with insomnia in some studies, whereas higher vitamin B12 levels have been connected to sleep disruption and shorter sleep periods in others. (Vitamin B12’s inconsistent effects are a perfect example of why we need to pay a lot more scientific attention to how nutrients affect sleep!)
Vitamin B12 levels have been linked to a reduced incidence of depression. Disruptions in the circadian rhythm are a crucial underlying component in depression. People with depression, in addition to other sleep disorders, are frequently unable to sleep on a regular schedule. It’s possible that vitamin B12 is especially beneficial for persons who have sleep-wake disturbances, such as those who also have depression symptoms. However, further research is needed to fully comprehend how Vitamin B12 affects sleep.
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Vitamin B12 Supplement?
The majority of people obtain adequate B12 through their food. If you’re B12 deficient, though, you might want to consider supplements. Gummies, pills, oral vitamin sprays, tablets, injections, and sublingual supplements that dissolve beneath the tongue are all available. So, yes, you have a lot of possibilities.
Keep in mind, however, that not all supplements are made equal. At 2 am, those B12 energy shots from the convenience shop could seem like a good idea. However, due to questionable contents, they may cause more harm than good. As a result, stick to supplement brands that your doctor prescribes.
How to use Vitamin B supplementation
When it’s time to take your B12 supplement, you can do it at any time of day or night.
Many claims suggest that B12 improves energy and should not be taken before night, although there is no evidence to support this. In fact, a study published in 2021 indicated that higher vitamin B12 levels are connected to better sleep quality and less use of sleep medicine.
Vitamin B12 might help you maintain a healthy level of energy. The majority of people obtain enough vitamin B12 through their meals for energy. If you’re lacking, however, you can take a supplement like liquid vitamins. Just make sure you talk to your doctor about the proper dosage for your specific needs.
PS While B12 can help you feel more energised, it’s not a panacea. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and stay as stress-free as possible.