Are you a vegetarian, older adult, pregnant or have a history of stomach problems? If so, you may be among the many Americans who have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is a particularly important vitamin, one of eight that is needed for healthy skin, eyes, hair and liver, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Vitamin B12 also helps nerve cells function properly, and works with other nutrients to control blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which is why many people take vitamin B12 supplements to help protect their heart.
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, so if you don't eat meat or dairy, you may want to consider taking supplements. Also, Crohn's disease, pancreatic disease, and weight loss surgery can make it difficult to absorb nutrients, so if you've experienced any of these things you may need to increase your vitamin B12 intake.
Even if you've never had any of these conditions and are not a vegetarian, that doesn't mean you have perfect vitamin B12 levels. All older adults are at risk of deficiency, which is a problem because B12 has been shown to be extremely beneficial for this population.
For example, studies have suggested that low vitamin B12 levels may put a person at an increased risk of developing dementia, according to researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Furthermore, one large study found that women who took a combination of vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6, reduced their risk of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that may cause older adults to lose their vision.
Do you still need more reasons to take vitamin B12? Don't worry, there are plenty. Do you ever find yourself feeling extremely tired throughout the day? It could be a sign that you need more B12. While more research is needed, studies have suggested that people who experience chronic fatigue could benefit from increasing their vitamin B12 intake, since fatigue can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B12 can be found in foods such as clams, liver, trout, eggs and milk. Of course, one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of this nutrient is to take a vitamin B12 supplement, so consider taking these natural pills to help boost your health.