Supports the formation of red blood cells
B12 plays an important role in supporting the formation of red blood cells, helping them develop small and round.
If B12 levels are low, the red blood cells can become large and irregular in shape, making it difficult for them to move into the bloodstream at the right rate and therefore, transport oxygen to your vital organs. Because of this, low B12 levels can lead to anaemia, resulting in feelings of fatigue.
May prevent Alzheimer’s, autism and other neurological diseases
Vitamin B12 has a key part in DNA synthesis and ensures structurability of important regions of the chromosomes.
“Low dietary consumption of B12 results in respectively low serum levels, which induce alterations in DNA synthesis. Thus, deficiency of B12 may lead to DNA damage,” say scientists from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Studies have shown low B12 serum levels to have a role in neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and autism. Low B12 serum levels has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
Supports bone health
Research suggests vitamin B12 can support in bone health and therefore reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
A study from the University of Boston found that people with low levels of B12 also had low bone mineral density. With less mineral density, bones can become fragile and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
May lower the risk of macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in New Zealand and Australia. The disease affects the macula region of the eye. While there is no cure for the disease, experts say changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle can be key parts of prevention.
Several studies have shown that a B12-sufficient diet may help prevent the risk of macular degeneration. This is due to B12’s role in lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with macular degeneration.
See our list of foods that are rich in vitamin B12