Nutritional Role of Vitamin B12

The nutrient cyanocobalamin, or vitamin B12 for short, has several important benefits that can be taken advantage of through supplementation. Involved in cell metabolism, B12 is essential for clean and healthy skin, as well as protection against an anemia-like illness that can lead to dangerous neurological problems. In this article, I'll teach you the basics of vitamin B12 and its health benefits.

A group of chemicals involved in similar cell processes, the B vitamins were once thought to be just one nutrient. Now they are divided into eight (or more, if you include yet another group of related compounds). And one of these (it's actually three, but let's keep it simple in this article) is now called vitamin B12. Important for the processes of cell metabolism, it indirectly causes many beneficial effects.

Among these are improved muscle tone and immune system efficiency, as well as healthy skin. There is anecdotal evidence that B12 also gives a burst of energy and can help you lose weight, and in fact many weight loss clinics offer injections of vitamin B12 along with their programs. However, both these benefits are not supported by scientific evidence so far, and most experts discount them. There is no doubt that B12 is a useful treatment for one very serious condition.

That condition is called pernicious anemia. This is a form of anemia that cannot be cured by the usual treatment of iron supplementation. In fact, it's a direct result of vitamin B12 deficiency. A lack of B12 can be caused by age, or by any kind of stomach illness or medication that reduces the amount of a particular stomach chemical necessary for B12 absorption. Also, true vegetarians might be at risk of B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is absolutely necessary for proper cell metabolism, as well as several other health benefits. While its use as a weight-loss aid is not established from a legitimate, scientific point of view, it is obviously useful for pernicious anemia. Since this vitamin is considered to be safe, we do recommend considering using a vitamin B12 supplement for weight loss experimentation or for use as an energy booster; however, there is no guarantee it will work effectively for these purposes. We also recommend taking it if you are a vegetarian, or are older than 50, as you may be deficient in it.