What is vitamin B12 for? Find out how it helps health

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, is an essential micronutrient for the body, which cannot be produced naturally, so it must come from dietary sources.

In general, it is not difficult to find B12 source products, as the vitamin is present in meat, milk and eggs, as well as products that are industrially enriched with it (such as vegetable or even cow’s milk).

B12 is essential for the proper functioning of cells, especially those in the nervous system, bone marrow and intestine. Among the actions of the vitamin in the body are:


Participates in the formation of blood cells

There is a direct participation of B12 in the formation, maturation and repair of cells, including red blood cells.

Red blood cells, which are red blood cells, are greatly affected by the action of B12, as the vitamin assists in the correct division of blood cells, preventing them from becoming too large and fragile.

Since red blood cells are responsible for the transport of oxygen, if there are changes in its structure, oxygenation of tissues throughout the body can be compromised.

Helps in DNA repair

B12 indirectly participates in the structuring of DNA, as it acts as a coenzyme in this process. B12 deficiency generates changes in several processes of DNA synthesis, making cell division in the spinal cord difficult.

In pregnant women, B12 is even more necessary, as it is through maternal feeding that the baby will receive the necessary nutrients for its formation. The vitamin is necessary for the correct production of nucleic acid, which is DNA, reducing the risks of future problems.

Acts on the absorption and activation of vitamins

Cobalamin participates in the action of other components, such as the conversion of folic acid (vitamin B9) into a bioactive form (that is, capable of acting in the body). Therefore, without B12, the body begins to show folic acid deficiency.

Improves conditioning and gives more energy

In order for you to be able to perform your activities it is necessary that the organism has energy. And they don’t even have to be sports activities or wake up early to run a marathon. Simple activities, such as working, climbing a ladder and watching TV require energy.

If B12 is being ingested properly, your cells and muscle tissues will receive the necessary amount of oxygen (as it helps in the formation of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the cells), preventing exaggerated tiredness .

In addition, B12 participates in the transformation of carbohydrates into glucose (ie energy). Without the vitamin, muscles have no energy to burn, making any small task exhausting and  fatigue  constant.

Therefore, B12 helps you to carry out daily activities and facilitates those who are planning to start more intense sports.

Operates in the metabolization of nutrients

Vitamin B12 acts on the metabolism of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Some studies suggest that weight gain is related to a lack of it, as the vitamin could stimulate metabolism and obtain (or expend) energy.

However, what is really known is that adequate levels of B12 help in the correct metabolization of nutrients, but high consumption (through supplementation, for example) does not guarantee results in weight reduction.

People who want to reduce weight can be helped indirectly: as B12 helps to give you more energy and avoid tiredness, you are able to do more physical activities and therefore spend more calories.

Assists in the circulatory system

As vitamin B12 helps in the regulation and reduction of cholesterol levels, the entire circulatory system is benefited, causing a reduction in the risks of hypertension and heart problems.

Increases good cholesterol (HDL)

People tend to pay more attention to food and exercise to prevent an increase in LDL (which is bad cholesterol). But HDL, which is good cholesterol, also deserves attention.

A study published in the journal Medical Journal Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, indicates that the vitamins of the B complex may promote HDL production in the liver and small intestine.

This favors the synthesis of vitamins and hormones, reduces the risk of the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries and, consequently, reduces the chances of a  heart attack  or stroke.

Promotes a healthier nervous system

It is observed that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have a higher prevalence of hypovitaminosis B12, suggesting that the nutrient may participate in the functioning of the nervous system.

Although studies on the relationship between Alzheimer’s and B12 are ongoing, it is already known that the vitamin protects neurons and can reduce neuronal degeneration.

Homocysteine ​​reduction

Homocysteine ​​is an amino acid produced after the digestion of some foods, such as red meat and dairy products.

After digestion, the amino acid is sent into the blood and, in large quantities, can increase the risk of clogging the arteries and accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels (causing  atherosclerosis ).

B12 assists in the correct metabolism of homocysteine, preventing it from being concentrated in the blood and, therefore, minimizing health risks.