Vitamin B12 is a B vitamin which is vital for the formation of red blood cells. These red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. It is also essential for cell regeneration and nerve function. It also maintains healthy nerve function and plays a role in protecting against heart disease.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and so is absorbed from foods and supplements.
What foods contain Vitamin B12?
Foods that are rich in Vitamin B12 include:
- Dairy products
What does Vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12, together with Folic acid and Iron are essential vitamins needed to form red blood cells. When levels of Vitamin B12 are low the body struggles to make red blood cells and so can cause anaemia.
Anaemia means that less oxygen is transported around the body and so an anaemic person can feel unwell.
What causes Vitamin B12 deficiency?
A change in Vitamin B12 levels is commonly down to diet. Those that follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet can see low B12 levels.
Pernicious anaemia is also a common cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency. It is an autoimmune condition which sees the body generating antibodies against a cell in the body in error.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
- Lack of energy
- A sore red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles
- Muscle weakness
- Disturbed vision
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
How to improve vitamin B12 levels
Ensuring your diet is rich in foods that contain B12, such as those listed above, is the easiest way to increase your vitamin B12 levels.
Supplements can also be beneficial when it comes to improving your levels. Understanding the right level of dosage is important to ensure you reap the benefits.