Vitamin B12 has many health benefits. The active form is called Methylcobalamine and it is predicted that 60% of North American’s cannot convert regular B12 (cyanocobalamine) to the active form which makes it important to ensure you are looking for the methylated version in your family’s vitamins. Our body uses this important B vitamin in many biochemical pathways to create hormones, neurotransmitters, and red blood cells. B12 works along with other cofactors especially B9 and B6 to reduce inflammation, protect the cardiovascular and nervous systems, support mood, improve energy, and so many other important processes. To absorb B12, we require intrinsic factor which is a protein produced by the stomach in the presence of stomach acid. B12 deficiencies are quite common for a few reasons. As we age, we lose the ability to produce intrinsic factor and on top of this many are on acid blocking medications which reduces how much intrinsic factor is produced. Strict vegans and vegetarians are also at risk of developing B12 deficiencies as most of our dietary B12 comes from animal sources. I routinely check for B12 deficiencies as it is easy to correct and can really impact quality of life.
For benefits of other vitamins, click here.