Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce. It’s found naturally in animal products, but also added to certain foods and available as an oral supplement or injection.
Vitamin B12 has many roles in your body. It supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. For most adults, the recommended daily intake (RDI) is 2.4 mcg, though it’s higher for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 may benefit your body in impressive ways, such as by boosting your energy, improving your memory and helping prevent heart disease. Here are 9 health benefits of vitamin B12, all based on science.
1Helps With Red Blood Cell Formation and Anemia Prevention
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in helping your body produce red blood cells. Low vitamin B12 levels cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly.
Healthy red blood cells are small and round, whereas they become larger and typically oval in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency. Due to this larger and irregular shape, the red blood cells are unable to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream at an appropriate rate, causing megaloblastic anemia. When you’re anemic, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your vital organs. This can cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness.