Vitamin B12 is sometimes known as the painkilling vitamin. It aids in DNA production, cardiovascular support, and energy metabolism. It is also responsible for supporting nerve function and healthy blood cells. Making sure that your body gets the proper vitamin B12 absorption relies on what is called intrinsic factor or (IF), which is produced in the stomach. As we age, IF production decreases, which affects the proper absorption of B12.
Animals produce B12, so much of the B12 we consume comes from animal products, but if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet you are more likely to be at risk for a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 that is stored in the body can meet the body’s demand for a period of time, however, long-term vegans should consider a supplement to reduce the risk of deficiency. Some other benefits of B12 include brain health by aiding in the repair of neurons. It helps to improve sleeping patterns by improving your body’s natural circadian rhythms that tell your body it is tired when the sun goes down and to wake up when the sun rises. B12 is also an anti-inflammatory and helps with skin health. Lastly, B12 is beneficial to women who are pregnant and still breast feeding. Foods that are high in B12 include liver, oysters, clams, salmon, tuna, trout, beef, eggs, and fortified foods. If you are vegan some options that are fortified in B12 include almond milk, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and some cereals. If you’re not sure if they contain B12 simply read the label it should specify that it has been fortified with B12.