Years ago, I worked for a manufacturing company where Vitamin B12 injections were the boss’ antidote for fatigued workers. I’m not kidding! The overworked factory workers had hardly any rest breaks. Whenever the business owner noticed employees who seemed tired, she would call them to her office. Everybody knew when this happens; they would get an injection in the buttock.
She was not altogether wrong. One of the many signs of a lack of vitamin B12 is fatigue. Subsequently, I have learned that there are many science-backed benefits of having enough of this vitamin. However, you need a myriad of other vitamin types to maintain physical and mental health.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are all excellent sources of this vitamin. However, as I learned all those years ago, you can get yours via injection, IV or supplements. Your vitamin B12 intake can affect your body’s ability to produce red blood cells and even nail and hair growth.
Vitamin B12 promotes red blood cell production
The job of red blood cells is to carry the oxygen that we breathe in from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. When the tissues use the red blood cells, they produce carbon dioxide as a by-product. The red blood cells then carry this toxic by-product back to the lungs. Every time we exhale, we get rid of carbon monoxide. Too little of this vitamin impairs the production of red blood cells. As a result, you can develop anemia, which, in turn, could cause fatigue, dry skin, clumsiness and concentration problems.
Positive effect on mood and depression
Who would have thought that vitamin B12 could play a role in mood swings, OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression? Research shows that it helps with the development of serotonin — a mood-controlling chemical. Treatment with antidepressants is more effective when combined with vitamin injections.
Prevention of dementia
As we age, our brains shrink, causing loss of neurons — brain atrophy. This condition causes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Research suggests that maintaining healthy levels of this vitamin might prevent these diseases. However, it serves as a preventative measure and not a cure. For example, once Alzheimer’s has set in, supplements will not improve memory loss.
Improves hair, nails and skin health
The oxygen that red blood cells carry to the hair, nails and skin tissues improves growth. Too little of this vitamin can cause vitiligo. It is a condition that causes dark patches on the skin, which could improve by taking Vitamin B12 supplements.
Prevention of birth defects
Pregnant women need more vitamin B12, which researchers say could prevent birth defects. These could include an undeveloped skull and brain, and partial paralysis.