Last update: June 11, 2024

9 minute read

What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?

Explore 9 powerful benefits of Vitamin B12 for health, mood, and energy levels.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

Learn more about our editorial standards

Have you ever wondered about the benefits of Vitamin B12 and how it supports your health? Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient involved in vital processes like red blood cell production, which is essential for carrying oxygen throughout your body. It also supports energy levels and contributes to a positive mood.

In this guide, we'll explore the science-backed benefits of Vitamin B12 and provide insights on ensuring you get your daily dose for optimal health. This often-overlooked nutrient plays a significant role in cellular health, DNA synthesis, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, low levels of Vitamin B12 can go unnoticed due to a lack of awareness. By boosting your Vitamin B12 intake, you can feel more energized and achieve peak overall health.

Key takeaways

  • Vitamin B12 is crucial for red blood cell formation, mood regulation, and supporting bone health
  • People at risk of B12 deficiency, like vegetarians and older adults, may benefit from supplements
  • Personalized vitamin packs can simplify and improve your B12 intake

    What is Vitamin B12?

    Vitamin B12—also known as cobalamin—is an essential complex B-vitamin in the human body. It helps make your genes, move oxygen, produce energy, and keep your nerves working properly.

    Unlike the other B vitamins, some of your vitamin B12 intake is stored in the liver. Plus, a small amount of B12 is produced by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

    However, even these don't always provide enough vitamin B12 to meet the dietary guidelines for young adults and older people. Because of the essential role it plays in the human body, it's imperative to replenish B12 levels through modern nutrition and supplementation.

    Dietary sources of B12

    Vitamin B12 is obtained from animal products such as dairy products, eggs, liver, red meat, poultry, and seafood. A small amount of your daily value may also be found in fermented soybean products like tempeh.

    Because animal foods are the best source of vitamin B12, vegans and vegetarians may experience a B12 deficiency. If this applies to you, the best way to support your endurance and low vitamin B12 levels is with a supplement.

    How vitamin B12 works

    Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating metabolic and physiological processes. It’s involved in many different areas of the body and is a common form of nutrition for the blood, nerves, and gut.

    Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of SAM-e (or S-adenosylmethionine), a methyl group donor used in methylation reactions in the body. It helps to create DNA and RNA.

    These are important nucleic acids that carry the genetics of each living cell and pass on your cellular blueprint each time a cell divides. Simply put, B12 helps build your body’s unique blueprint, telling each and every cell in your body what to do and how to do it.

    B12's role in methylation ensures the proper development and function of the nervous system by assisting with the production of the myelin sheath. This is the covering that protects nerve fibers and ensures the messages sent by your nerves move fast so you can react faster to stimuli.

    This has a significant effect on your endurance and helps guarantee that no permanent damage comes to your nerves from outside pollution. A healthy myelin sheath helps potentially avoid things like Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

    How Can Vitamin B12 Benefit Your Health?

    Vitamin B12 is essential for keeping you energized and healthy, but your body can't produce it on its own. You must obtain it through food or supplements. Here are the top benefits of Vitamin B12, supported by science, that are vital for your well-being.

    1. Red Blood Cell Creation and Anemia Support

    Vitamin B12 aids in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Adequate B12 levels help maintain the size and shape of red blood cells, preventing anemia and promoting overall vitality.

    2. Support Against Major Birth Defects

    For expectant mothers, sufficient Vitamin B12 is crucial for the baby's health. It supports the proper development of the baby's brain and nervous system, reducing the risk of serious birth defects.

    3. Bone Health and Osteoporosis Support

    Research has linked low B12 levels to an increased risk of osteoporosis and lower bone mineral density, especially in older adults. Maintaining proper B12 levels may contribute to stronger bones.

    4. Macular Degeneration Risk Reduction

    Adequate Vitamin B12 levels may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a condition that affects vision. B12 helps moderate homocysteine levels, a risk factor for this eye condition.

    5. Mood Improvement and Depression Symptoms

    Vitamin B12 is essential for producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Correcting B12 deficiency can help alleviate mood swings and symptoms of depression.

    VitaRx Tip

    This might mean having a better memory and staying mentally sharp for a longer time.

    6. Brain Health and Neuron Preservation

    Vitamin B12 may protect your brain from atrophy and preserve cognitive function, helping prevent memory loss and cognitive decline as you age.

    7. Energy Boost

    While Vitamin B12 doesn't directly provide energy, it helps your body convert food into usable energy. Adequate B12 levels can help you feel more awake and alert.

    8. Heart Health Through Homocysteine Reduction

    Vitamin B12 helps control homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease. Maintaining healthy B12 levels supports cardiovascular health.

    9. Healthy Pregnancy Support

    Vitamin B12 is crucial during pregnancy for the baby's growth and development, helping to avoid complications related to B12 deficiency.

    10. Supports Healthy Blood Cell Formation

    Vitamin B12 is vital for creating healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body. Without sufficient B12, you may develop megaloblastic anemia, leading to fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakness due to oxygen deprivation.

    Dos and don'ts of vitamin B12 supplementation

    When it comes to effective Vitamin B12 intake, there are some definite dos and don'ts worth noting.


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      Do check nutritional labels for B12 content.

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      Do consider a B12 supplement if you're at risk of deficiency.

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      Do talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

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      Do choose a reputable brand when picking a B12 supplement to ensure quality.

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      Do pair B12 supplements with a meal for better absorption.


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      Don’t assume you're getting enough B12 without checking with your doctor.

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      Don’t ignore signs of deficiency like fatigue and weakness.

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      Don’t overdo it; stick to the recommended daily amount unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

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      Don’t forget to reassess your needs as you age; B12 absorption can decrease over time.

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      Don’t hesitate to ask questions about B12 during your doctor visits.

    Advantages and disadvantages of vitamin B12 supplementation

    Vitamin B12 is a key player in supporting your health. However, deciding whether or not to use supplements to increase your levels comes with its own set of pros and cons. These should be weighed carefully to make an informed decision that matches your lifestyle and dietary needs.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about vitamin B12.

    Final thoughts

    Vitamin B12 is undeniably a powerhouse nutrient that plays a vital role in your overall health. It helps potentially prevent anemia, keeps your bones strong, boosts your mood, and enhances your energy levels. Ensuring a balanced diet rich in B12 is crucial, and for those at higher risk of deficiency, supplements might be necessary.

    By maintaining adequate B12 levels, you support your heart, brain, and nerve functions, leading to a healthier and more energized life. Consider adding B12 to your routine to reap these essential health benefits.

    Sources and references


    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

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