Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient that plays a significant role in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is essential for forming red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and maintaining the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibres.
Several studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency increases the risk of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. One study found that individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 had a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety than those with adequate levels.
Vitamin B12 is also necessary for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and behaviour. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can decrease the production of these neurotransmitters, resulting in mood disorders.
Moreover, studies have suggested that vitamin B12 supplementation may improve mental health outcomes in individuals with depression and other mood disorders. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that vitamin B12 supplementation reduced depressive symptoms in people with depression.
In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. A study found that individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 had a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia than those with adequate levels.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure adequate intake of vitamin B12 through a balanced diet or supplementation. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults, and it is primarily found in animal-based foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Vegetarians and vegans may need to take vitamin B12 supplements or consume fortified foods to meet their daily requirements.
Injectable vitamin B12 is often considered to be better than oral supplements because it allows for direct absorption into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the small intestine, but the process requires the presence of a protein called intrinsic factor, which is produced in the stomach. Some people may have reduced intrinsic factor production, which can impair the absorption of vitamin B12 from oral supplements.
Injectable vitamin B12, on the other hand, bypasses the need for intrinsic factors and is directly absorbed into the bloodstream, ensuring better absorption and bioavailability of the nutrient. This is particularly important for individuals with conditions impairing their ability to absorb vitamin B12 through the gut, such as pernicious anemia or gastrointestinal disorders.
In addition, injectable vitamin B12 can provide faster relief for symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, such as fatigue, weakness, and neurological symptoms. This is because injectable forms of vitamin B12 are typically administered in higher doses than oral supplements, resulting in a more rapid replenishment of vitamin B12 stores in the body.
However, it is important to note that injectable vitamin B12 is not necessary for everyone and should only be used under the guidance of a GP (like this medical clinic in Mentone, Bayside, Melbourne). Injectable vitamin B12 may also carry a higher risk of side effects compared to oral supplements, including pain or redness at the injection site, itching, and allergic reactions.
Injectable vitamin B12 may be a better option for individuals with impaired vitamin B12 absorption or those who require rapid replenishment of vitamin B12 stores. However, it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and is not necessary for everyone. Oral supplements can also provide adequate vitamin B12 intake for most individuals.
Vitamin B12 (especially in combination with Folic acid)is critical to mental health and cognitive function. Adequate intake of this nutrient is essential for maintaining optimal brain health and preventing mental health disorders. Therefore, it is important to ensure sufficient intake of vitamin B12 through diet or supplementation.