You obtain the chemicals and compounds your body needs to live from a variety of sources, including the air you breathe, the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, and your dietary habits.
What you eat says a great deal about your health, especially as it relates to how your body processes calories and stores energy for basic functions. Your diet helps you get the energy you need to work and play, boosts your immunity, and can do wonders for your mental health.
There are many organic compounds that help keep you healthy, including vitamins. There are a variety of vitamins you need for different parts of your body to work properly, but one essential vitamin (one that your body doesn’t naturally produce but can’t do without) missing from many diets is B12.
Residents of the Beverly Hills, California, area looking for ways to balance out their diets with more B12 can get nutrition advice as well as medical consultation and care from Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his experienced medical team. We offer comprehensive medical care with exams, urgent care, and care for chronic conditions.
To better understand how important B12 is for your health, let’s examine the role vitamins play in how your body functions, how B12 in particular helps you stay healthy, and some ways to get more B12 in your diet.
The role of vitamins in your diet
Different parts of your body require different chemicals to thrive, and the wide variety of vitamins found in foods and supplements help to provide for those needs.
Vitamin A is important for eye health, the B vitamins help support many functions in your body, and vitamin C is important for collagen production, healing wounds, and bone formation. Vitamin D, which is vital for the mineralization of bone, is something you can get from foods and supplements, but sunlight is actually the best source. Vitamins E and K are needed for preventing oxidative stress and blood clotting, respectively.
These organic compounds are found in many foods we eat, including carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, oranges, cottage cheese, chicken, tuna, eggs, nuts, avocados, cheese, dairy products, soy products, leafy greens, and figs.
How B12 helps your body
B12 is essential for red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. Research shows it helps to prevent heart and blood vessel diseases by reducing amino acid in your blood, and may also help with reducing dementia and improving athletic performance, though more research is needed to ultimately prove the latter two.
Of the eight B vitamins your body needs, B12 is the one that vegans and vegetarians will find the hardest to obtain in useful doses. We get vitamin B12 from meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products, most of which the aforementioned diets do not include.
Your body’s ability to absorb B12 will decrease as you age, so many people over 60 deal with a deficiency of the compound. There are other reasons for B12 deficiency, like pregnancy, breastfeeding, and medical conditions or medications that deplete your body of the vitamin.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, pale or yellowish skin, headaches, depressive symptoms, gastrointestinal issues, difficulty concentrating, impaired coordination, and muscle weakness.
Ways to get more B12
If you don’t have dietary restrictions, eating B12 rich foods is a direct way to boost the vitamin in your body. However, if you have problems absorbing it or can’t eat the foods high in B12, there are different methods of getting more of this important compound.
B12 injections, oral supplements, and vegetarian-specific alternatives like nutritional yeast and plant milk are all ways you can increase the amount of this vitamin in your system.
A healthy diet contains the proper amount of vitamins and other necessities to keep you active and fit. Vitamin B12 is an important part of that diet. If you’re having problems getting enough B12, schedule a consultation with Dr. Veiseh today to get the treatment you need by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.