In the pursuit of following a nutritious diet, we often forget to lay our emphasis on the micronutrients which are equally important for our body. One such important micronutrient is Vitamin B12 which is also called cobalamin. Vitamin B12 is a crucial water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in red blood cell synthesis and DNA production. It is also critical for the adequate functioning of our nervous system. However, Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially among the geriatric population. Deficiency can be due to a low intake of B12 or due to its poor absorption in the body.
Importance of Vitamin B12 for your body:
- Supports Energy: It plays an important role in generating energy. It keeps our cells healthy and agile. Without it, our cells get hungry, feel weak and tired.
- Protects the Heart: Vitamin B 12 protects us against heart disease by controlling and improving unhealthy cholesterol levels, protecting against stroke, and controlling blood pressure.
- Improves Mood and Outlook: Vitamin B12 acts as a cofactor in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine, thus B12 deficiency affects our emotions, mood, and sleep and can also lead to psychiatric disorders.
- Keeps You Young: Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps in cell reproduction and the constant renewal of the skin thereby keeping it youthful and healthy.
Food Sources to regain it:
- Eggs: Eggs are the rich source of Vitamin B 12 and a complete protein. Two large eggs (approx 100gms) gives around 22% Vitamin B12. Some researches have shown that egg yolks have a higher level of Vitamin 12 than egg white. So it is advisable to take the whole egg for Vitamin B 12.
- Milk and its products: Yogurt, cheese, milk, etc are a good source of protein as well as several vitamins and minerals, Vitamin B 12 is one of them. Some researches have proven that our body absorbs Vitamin B 12 more from milk and its product than eggs and other sources.
- Tuna and Salmon: Tuna is the most commonly consumed fish and has a high amount of Vitamin B12. Salmon is known for its highest amount of Omega 3 fatty acid and an excellent source of Vitamin B 12.
- Animal Liver: Organ meats are the richest source of Vitamin B 12.
- Fortified cereals: This helps vegetarian people to fulfill their requirement of vitamins. Not so commonly advised as a part of a healthy diet, fortified cereals can be a good option.
- Fortified nondairy milk: Among vegans, nondairy milk is popular as it is fortified with Vitamins. Soy, almond and rice milks are good sources of Vitamin B12 and a very good option for lactose-intolerant people.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that your body needs for many essential functions. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can limit anyone’s ability to think clearly, so it is advised to get the levels of B12 checked regularly at regular intervals.