What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin to blood, nerve, and brain function. It’s usually found in foods like fish, dairy, meat, and poultry. People who eat plant-based diets may be more at risk of having low vitamin B12 levels.
How do I know if my vitamin B12 is low?
If you want to check your vitamin B12 level, you will need to see your doctor and ask for a blood test. The best way to prevent your vitamin B12 levels from getting too low is to eat a varied diet that includes sources of vitamin B12 as listed above. Some medications like metformin, heartburn medications, and seizure medications may lower your vitamin B12 over time too.
Can vitamin B12 affect my mood and energy levels?
Vitamin B12 works all throughout our bodies to maintain blood cells, nerve function, and many other things. This means that there is possibly a link between low vitamin B12 levels and low energy levels. Supplementing vitamin B12 will not change your mood or energy levels if your levels are normal, but having low vitamin B12 may cause you to feel tired or have brain fog.
Should I take a vitamin B12 supplement?
If you think you may have low vitamin B12 levels or are taking medications that may lower your vitamin B12, it may be a good idea to add a vitamin B12 supplement to your daily routine. This is especially true for older adults. If you are eating a balanced diet with meats, poultry, dairy, and/or fish, you should be getting all the vitamin B12 you need from your food, so there is no need to purchase an extra supplement.
• If your vitamin B12 levels are low, supplementing them may benefit your mood and energy.
• Some medications and diets may put you at risk for having low vitamin B12.
• Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you think you may have low vitamin B12, they can help you decide if a supplement may be right for you.
• Vitamin B-12. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 10, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b12/art-20363663
• Markun S, et al. Effects of Vitamin B12 Supplementation on Cognitive Function, Depressive Symptoms, and Fatigue: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression. Nutrients. 2021;13(3):923. doi:10.3390/nu13030923
• Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed July 26, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22831-vitamin-b12-deficiency