B-12 can help boost your:
What is vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is a nutrient you need for good health. It’s one of eight B vitamins that help the body convert the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy. Vitamin B-12 has a number of additional functions.
You need it for the:
- production of elements of DNA
- production of red blood cells
- regeneration of bone marrow and the lining of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts
- health of your nervous system, which includes your spinal cord
- prevention of megaloblastic anemia
How much vitamin B-12 to take
The amount of vitamin B-12 you need is primarily based on your age. The average recommended daily amounts of vitamin B-12 are:
- birth to 6 months old: 0.4 micrograms (mcg)
- 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
- 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
- 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
- 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
- 14-18 years: 2.4 mcg
- 19 and older: 2.4 mcg
- pregnant teens and women: 2.6 mcg
- breast-feeding teens and women: 2.8 mcg
Vitamin B-12 is naturally in foods that come from animals, including:
- dairy products
It also may be in some fortified cereals and nutritional yeast.
What is a vitamin B-12 deficiency?
Although most Americans get enough vitamin B-12, some people are at an increased risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency, particularly those who:
- have celiac disease
- have Crohn’s disease
- have HIV
- take prescription antacids, anti-seizure medications, colchicine, or chemotherapy medications
- are vegans and don’t eat meat or dairy products
- drink alcohol regularly
- have an immune dysfunction
- have a history of bowel disease, such as gastritis or Crohn’s disease
The symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency include:
- muscle weakness
- muscle stiffness
- muscle spasticity
- low blood pressure
- mood disturbances
The most serious condition associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency is megaloblastic anemia. This is a chronic blood disorder in which the bone marrow produces overly large, immature blood cells. As a result, the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.