OK, OK, OK it is not just for mental health. A common list of benefits of proper B12 levels includes
- proper digestion, food absorption, iron use, carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- healthy nervous system function
- promotion of normal nerve growth and development
- help with regulation of the formation of red blood cells
- cell formation and longevity
- proper circulation
- adrenal hormone production
- healthy immune system function
- support of female reproductive health and pregnancy
- feelings of well-being and mood regulation
- mental clarity, concentration, memory function
- physical, emotional and mental energy
So, B12 and its mental health link is on the bottom of the list. The reason it usually comes up is we are at the beginning of the time of year when “Seasonal Affective Disorder” shows its head.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you don’t have adequate vitamin B12 levels in your bloodstream, you might notice some of the following warning signs:
- mental fogginess
- problems with your memory
- mood swings
- lack of motivation
- feelings of apathy
- fatigue and a lack energy
- muscle weakness
- tingling in your extremities
So where are the best natural sources?
Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal tissues, including foods like beef and beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, poultry and eggs. On thing that I just became aware of is that the few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs. An analog is a substance that blocks the uptake of true B12, so your body’s need for the nutrient actually increases.
If we can’t absorb the B12 that is in our food the deficiency problem is still with us. A happy, healthy gut flora will help us to get more out of anything we eat.