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9 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12, Based on Science

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Vitamin B12 plays a key role in many aspects of health and may support bone health, red blood cell formation, energy levels, and mood. Eating a nutritious diet or taking a supplement can help ensure you’re meeting your needs.


Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce.

It’s found naturally in animal products, but also added to certain foods and available as an oral supplement or injection.

Vitamin B12 has many roles in your body. It supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis (1Trusted Source).

For most adults, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 2.4 micrograms (mcg), though it’s higher for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding (1Trusted Source).

Vitamin B12 may benefit your body in impressive ways, such as by boosting your energy, improving your memory, and helping prevent heart disease.

Here are 9 health benefits of vitamin B12, all based on science.


Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in helping your body produce red blood cells.

Low vitamin B12 levels cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly (2Trusted Source).

Healthy red blood cells are small and round, whereas they become larger and typically oval in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Due to this larger and irregular shape, the red blood cells are unable to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream at an appropriate rate, causing megaloblastic anemia (3Trusted Source).

When you have anemia, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your vital organs. This can cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness.


SUMMARY

Vitamin B12 is involved in red blood cell formation. When vitamin B12 levels are too low, the production of red blood cells is altered, causing megaloblastic anemia.

2. May prevent major birth defects

3. May support bone health and prevent osteoporosis

4. May reduce your risk of macular degeneration


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