It’s estimated nearly 40% of the American population suffers from B12 levels that are too low.  With low B12 levels, your brain doesn’t work quite right and more often than not you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. But vitamin B12 does more than just support healthy energy levels. Its complex functionality is mirrored in its wide range of health benefits. The question is, are you getting enough?
The Seven Most Important Functions of Vitamin B12
Many people receive vitamin B12 injections on a regular basis to provide a boost in their energy levels. While it’s true that B12 does support energy, that’s not the entire picture. Here’s 7 functions of vitamin B12 and why you need this crucial nutrient.
1. Supports Energy
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in how your body creates energy. It keeps your cells fed, happy, and healthy. Without it, your cells get hungry and you feel weak, tired, and like you’re dragging all the time. The nutrient releases energy into the cell and provides you with the appropriate balance you need for thinking and moving throughout your day.
2. Protects the Heart
Your heart and entire cardiovascular system needs B12. One of its jobs is to remove a dangerous protein called homocysteine from the blood. If homocysteine is allowed to roam through blood, it damages your arteries leading to inflammation and heart disease. Get enough B12 and you’ll keep homocysteine levels down and your heart happy.
3. Your Bones Need It
Studies have found patients with osteoporosis have higher levels of homocysteine and low levels of B12 than people with strong, healthy bones.  Could B12 be a viable adjunct to future osteoporosis approaches? If you suffer from osteoporosis or similar bone issues, speak to your doctor about getting your vitamin B12 levels tested.
4. Prevents Nerve Damage
Your nerves have a protective covering to keep them safe from toxins and free radicals in your blood. Without these coverings, called myelin sheaths, exposed nerves get damaged and may even die. These dead nerves disrupt signals to and from the brain and may play a role in nerve-related conditions. Vitamin B12 supports the way your body replenishes this protective covering.
5. Improves Mood and Outlook
Your brain uses a chemical called serotonin to regulate your mood. If you aren’t getting enough B12, you may find yourself feeling down. One study of diabetic patients experiencing side effects of depression from Metformin found those who took B12 enjoyed a more positive outlook. 
6. Protects Brain Health
Researchers have noted Alzheimer’s patients have much lower levels of B12 than those of a similar age who have sharp, clear memory. In the same way B12 helps protect nerve cells, it helps protect the myelin sheaths of brain cells that are often lacking in Alzheimer’s patients. Some research suggests that cobalamin deficiency may cause a type of dementia in elderly patients that is in fact reversible with the right nutritional intervention. 
7. Keeps You Looking and Feeling Young
Aging happens when your cells begin to wear and tear, and they age faster when your DNA doesn’t replicate correctly. Many factors can affect DNA replication, like free radicals, toxins in the blood, high blood sugar, and high levels of omega-6 fats in your diet. B12 supports DNA health, thereby keeping your cells younger. And when your cells are young, you look and feel young too.
Do you take vitamin B12? What difference has it made in your life? Share your experiences below!
Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin B12
Length: 51 minutes
- Judy McBride. B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Ebesunun MO, Umahoin KO, Alonge TO, Adebusoye LA. Plasma homocysteine, B vitamins and bone mineral density in osteoporosis: a possible risk for bone fracture. Afr J Med Med Sci. 2014 Mar;43(1):41-7.
- Biemans E1, Hart HE, Rutten GE, Cuellar Renteria VG, Kooijman-Buiting AM, Beulens JW. Cobalamin status and its relation with depression, cognition and neuropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using metformin. Acta Diabetol. 2014 Oct 15.
- Osimani A, Berger A, Friedman J, Porat-Katz BS, Abarbanel JM. Neuropsychology of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly demential patients and control subjects. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2005 Mar;18(1):33-8.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.