If there’s one thing that we all agree on, it’s eating plenty of vegetables.
Everyone rallies ‘round the broccoli! We treat our veggies like the perfect food for health, but do you know that they actually have one flaw?
Despite being a rich source of nutrients, most veggies lack vitamin B12!
Do you really need vitamin B12? Yes, you do – especially when you’re going through menopause.
Get to know the best vitamin B12 benefits during menopause and the top foods you can eat to get B12!
What’s the Deal with Vitamin B12?
Do you have brain fog, mood swings and fatigue?
You might be dealing with vitamin B12 deficiency!
40% of people lack vitamin B12 and it’s considered a leading nutrient deficiency globally. We need to address this vitamin deficiency because B12, or Cobalamin, is crucial to red blood cell and DNA formation, two functions that hold the key to our survival.
Vitamin B12 has wide-reaching effects in our body. For this reason, B12 deficiency symptoms can vary.
Unlike other vitamins, our body can’t make B12 by itself. In addition, it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means that the body can’t store it for long periods like fat-soluble vitamins. For this reason, we need to replenish B12 daily through our diet.
Plant-based food is great but has low vitamin B12 content. Dietitians say that B12 is more common in seafoods, beef liver and eggs.
The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of B12 every day for women and men over the age of 14. Older people and those who have gut issues need more.
12 Best Vitamin B12 Benefits That Will Change Your Menopause Journey!
Menopause is a life transition that comes with many changes. For this reason, we need to support our bodies with the right nutrients as much as we can!
Vitamin B12 benefits you every day, most especially during menopause. Here are 12 ways how B12 can help you.
1. Promotes better mood
Regulating mood is one of the best vitamin B12 benefits during menopause!
B12 is a mood-boosting vitamin! It stimulates the release of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones relaxes your central nervous system. B12 also reduces mood problems such as anxiety and depression during menopause!
2. Improves brain function
Anybody have brain fog and loss of focus during menopause? Vitamin B12 helps in brain cell regeneration. B12 is also good for nerve health and maintains your brain’s signaling pathways. As a result, you have better concentration and memory.
A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also says that B12 prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. On one hand, B12 deficiency symptoms include brain disturbances and psychiatric problems.
3. Supports hormone production and balance
Vitamin B12 stimulates the adrenal glands and other organs to produce estrogen. This is especially helpful when your ovaries slow down during menopause. Besides this, it also promotes better use of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
4. Fights stress!
B12 is a great anti-stress vitamin! It relieves tension, irritability and anxiety because of its calming properties.
5. Keeps our skin, hair and nails healthy
If you want to keep your skin supple and your hair and nails strong, B12 is a helpful vitamin! B12 repairs damaged cells, prevents inflammation and reduces skin redness, dryness and blemishes. It can also help with skin problems such as dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
6. Pumps up your energy levels!
Vitamin B12 plays a big role in metabolism. This makes it an essential vitamin for energy production.
Besides boosting your energy, B12 is also important for proper muscle contractions. Healthy muscles mean no tension and exhaustion!
For people who have low levels of B12, chronic fatigue is one of the common B12 deficiency symptoms that they’ll experience. B12 deficiency can also cause joint and muscle pains.
7. Improves digestion!
Vitamin B12 benefits extend to as far as our gut. B12 helps with stomach acid production, which is necessary for food break down. It also maintains our gut flora.
8. Supports heart health!
B12 keeps your heart healthy by regulating homocysteine. This compound is a by-product of protein from the food we eat. Besides this, B12 also keeps your arteries healthy and controls your cholesterol levels. Heart palpitations are common in people with vitamin B12 deficiency.
9. Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
Remember homocysteine in heart health? Too much homocysteine because of poor diet, and low levels of B12 can up the risk of fractures. Low estrogen and progesterone also increases this risk. To counter this effect, take more B12!
10. Maintains thyroid health
Boosting metabolism is one of the best vitamins B12 benefits in menopause. B12 is an integral part of metabolism. Without B12, your thyroid gland becomes sluggish, which may cause hypothyroidism. B12 helps by boosting thyroid hormone production and repairing damaged thyroid tissues.
11. Maintains normal levels of red blood cells
Red blood cells carry oxygen for the body. Oxygen keeps us alive! B12 is essential in forming red blood cells. For this reason, B12 is a good supplement that can prevent anemia, which can cause chronic fatigue.
When you have a B12 deficiency, your body creates defective red blood cells and this means lower oxygen-carrying capacity. As a result, your nerves and tissues are deprived of nutrients. Some B12 deficiency symptoms you’ll notice include numbing, tingling sensations in your hands and feet as well as a ringing in your ears.
12. Protects the liver!
Do you know that your liver balances hormones? When your body releases hormones, the liver activates their function. After they’re done with their work, the liver collects them back, deactivates and flushes them out. Your liver also filters toxins and xenoestrogens which may cause hormonal imbalances.
Besides this dozen vitamin B12 benefits, the vitamin works to create normal DNA and RNA. These two are essential for proper growth and development.
Vitamin B12 may also lower the risk of cancer. Experts say that B12 is effective for cancer prevention when taken with folate. The vitamin strengthens the immune system and has anti-tumor effects. It reduces cervical, lung and colon cancer risk.
10 Ways to Get More Vitamin B12!
We want to help you get the most of your vitamin B12 benefits! Here are some tips that you can do every day.
1. Consume top foods with vitamin B12! The richest food sources of vitamin B12 include shrimps, crabs, salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. Seafoods like mussels, clams and oysters are also great B12 sources. Not to forget liver meat, lean chicken, beef and turkey are good sources as well. Many vegans go for almond milk and coconut milk, Greek yogurt, organic eggs and Swiss cheese for their B12 needs.
2. Eat more dark leafy greens or veggies. These veggies are not rich in B12, but they have folic acid, iron and vitamin B9. These nutrients help create vitamin B12! Examples include your lady’s finger, kale and broccoli.
3. Add nutritional yeast in your diet. It’s a great source of B12! Nutritional yeast comes in flakes and powders but it’s also available in granules. You can use nutritional yeast like a seasoning! Sprinkle it over your food and mix it in your salad dressings or dips.
4. If you’re a meat eater, pick organic, pasteurized and grass-fed meat. They have lesser chemicals, xenoestrogens and harmful compounds. Choosing organic meat means you get more healthy amounts of B12 too!
5. Take B12 supplements – there are plenty of B12 supplements in the market. Buy organic/natural B12 supplements and check if it’s vegan-certified. Choose methylcobalamin B12 kind and pick the spray or liquid forms. They are easier to absorb and are convenient to use!
6. Stay hydrated! B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which means it needs water for better absorption in your gut. Ease fast absorption, drink eight or more glasses every day!
8. Spice it up! – a study explains that “piperine,” a compound in black pepper may help improve the absorption of B12.
9. Take enough calcium – calcium is necessary for vitamin B12 absorption, so make sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient – from healthy sources of course!
10. Add a little caffeine in your life! Caffeine stimulates the production of stomach acids which helps the body absorb B12. Enjoy a cup of coffee but keep it to just one or two a day!
Common Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
One of the most common causes blamed for B12 deficiency is aging. Statistics say that 4 in 100 women aged 40 to 59 are B12 deficient.
But studies say celebrating another birthday is not the only reason!
- Dietary deficiency – poor eating habits, restricted dieting and excessive alcohol consumption. B12 deficiency symptoms are common in vegans and vegetarians.
- Bacteria overgrowth in the gut – poor digestion gets your bad bacteria to thrive. When they grow in number, they’ll have a fun party eating up all your B12.
- Lack of intrinsic factor – if you lack intrinsic factor your intestines can’t absorb B12. You lose your intrinsic factor if you have gut problems like gastritis.
- Removal of the stomach – a surgical operation that removes part or your whole stomach. Indications include bleeding ulcers, repeated ulcers or stomach tumors and cancer. As a result of this procedure, you will no longer produce intrinsic factor and stomach acids. These two substances are important for B12 absorption!
- Gut problems – celiac disorder and Crohn’s disease messes up gut balance. As a result, this hinders B12 absorption.
- Medications – drugs for stomach ulcers, heartburn, diabetes, seizures and convulsions are the ultimate B12 absorption disruptors.
Dr. Berg has a great video about B12 where he explains these causes in a more in-depth view. Be sure to watch it [3:20]!
How will you know if you have a B12 deficiency?
One best way to know if you lack the vitamin is through a Vitamin B12 test. The normal vitamin B12 result is 190 to 900 nanograms per liter (ng/L).
As we age, our gut slows down so absorbing nutrients like B12 can be a challenge. Besides eating B12-rich foods, make sure to support your gut!
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What vitamins and minerals do you take? Do they help you relieve symptoms? Let’s talk about it in the comment box below.