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The Source of B12 and its Benefits

Vitamin B12 is a powerful, natural source of energy. With benefits including mood enhancement and weight loss, what
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Aside from singing, what do Madonna, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber have in common? They all take vitamin B12! And judging by their stellar successes and staying power, they must be on to something good.

Vitamin B12 was first discovered early in the 20th century. Scientists who were looking for a cure for pernicious anemia, then a deadly disease caused by an autoimmune condition of the body, came upon it and conducted further studies. With the discovery of the B12 vitamin, pernicious anemia has ceased to be as fatal although treatment remains for the rest of the person’s lifetime.

Madonna et al however are not taking vitamin B12 for anemia, pernicious or otherwise. This amazing vitamin has so many benefits that celebrities are hooked on it as a regular part of their health regimen.  And it wouldn’t hurt for the rest of the ordinary mortals to take the cue and follow what their favorite stars are taking.

What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins and is referred to as cyanocobalamin. It's a water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in brain function, and a study done by the University of Oxford in the UK found out that a B12 deficiency caused the brain to shrink. It's important as well in nervous system functioning and in the formation of red blood cells. But what made people stand up and take notice of vitamin B12 is its fantastic capability to boost energy, enhance athletic performance and increase endurance. Hence its moniker, “the energy vitamin.”

Additional benefits of vitamin B12:

  • Provides energy and eliminates fatigue that leads to diminished coordination and muscular weakness
  • Improves memory and cognitive functioning, preventing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Promotes weight loss by increasing metabolism
  • Has a significant role in brain development and function, resulting in mental focus and clarity
  • Controls production of homocysteine, an amino acid that, in elevated levels, increases the risk for heart attacks, blood clots and strokes
  • Helps in the function of the nervous system, preventing numbness and tingling of extremities
  • Acts as a mood enhancer and fights off depression and anxiety; also aids in coping with stress
  • Promotes thick, healthy hair and clear, glowing skin

Are you getting enough vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in vegans because sources of this vitamin are shellfish, meats and milk, foods that vegans avoid. Clams and beef liver are the richest sources of vitamin B12. Older people are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because of the decreased ability of the body to absorb nutrients. People taking medicines for diabetes and intestinal parasitism have malfunctioning absorption systems that lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, it is important for people belonging to these categories to take vitamin B12 supplements to prevent conditions associated with its deficiency.

But even normal people who lead active lives or who simply want to feel energized instead of sluggish will benefit from vitamin B12 supplements. Being aware of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency will help you recognize if you are probably suffering from it yourself. Severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to grave complications such as pernicious anemia, Alzheimer’s disease and permanent brain damage.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Sense of imbalance
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Numbness of hands and feet
  • Diminished focus

How much of vitamin B12 should I take?
Dosage for vitamin B12 increases as a person gets older, with infants from  seven to 12 months needing 0.5 mcg per day and pregnant or breastfeeding women requiring 2.6 to 2.8 cg daily. Taking in more than the recommended daily allowance is no big deal, as excess vitamin B12 is simply excreted by the liver or stored for future use. Supplements are best taken 30 minutes before a workout or exercise program.

Vitamin B12 supplements are available in liquid form or as tablets and softgels and a readily available. With such remarkable results, it’s time to do as the stars do – take vitamin B12 and have a more active and productive life!

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