Vitamin B12 is one of the few B vitamins that your body can actually store. Nonetheless, it can be one of the more challenging ones to get through your diet, especially as you get older. If you want beautiful hair and glowing skin, it is a must—vitamin B12 is used by your body in the replication of DNA, an essential process for healthy hair and skin. Combined with other B-complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, and B5), it is even more powerful. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you will want to pay especially close attention to this article!
What happens when you have a vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the more common B-vitamin deficiencies, and may be seen even in developed countries like the United States. Why? Bad news for vegetarians—the main food sources of vitamin B12 are meat-based products. As a result, vegetarians and vegans can struggle to get the vitamin B12 that they need to stay healthy and beautiful. Another problem involves aging; when you surpass 50 years of age, you lose some of your ability to absorb this important nutrient. You also may not be able to effectively absorb B12 if you have celiac disease, Chron’s disease, or another digestive disorder.
Signs of B12 deficiency include anemia, poor balance, weakness, and numbness or tingling in your extremities. Additionally, the skin can start to turn yellow. Pigmentation problems commonly occur in patients who do not have enough B12; thankfully, hyperpigmentation is generally reversible when you start getting enough B12 in your diet. If you have these symptoms, it is wise to see a doctor for a diagnosis. If you do have the deficiency, you will be directed to get more vitamin B12 in your diet (or in cases of poor absorption, you may be given injections).
What are the best dietary sources of vitamin B12?
- Organ meats (such as beef liver)
- Dairy products
- Breakfast cereals and yeasts that have been fortified with vitamin B12
So if you are a vegetarian or vegan, and you are not taking a vitamin B12 supplement, chances are quite good that you actually are deficient. And likewise, if you are over the age of 50, and showing signs associated with low vitamin B12, it may be because you are no longer absorbing it quite like you should. And it couldn’t come at a worse time—after all, around age 50 your skin and hair are starting to show serious signs of aging! This is why it is a very good idea to take a supplement.
The best vitamin B12 supplements are those which contain not only vitamin B12, but other B complex vitamins. The reason is that vitamin B complex nutrients work together for a more powerful effect. You will have an easier time absorbing them when you take them simultaneously, and they will be more beneficial once you do. More on that in just a bit!
Health and Beauty Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. Because of this, it can help to boost metabolism in your skin. Nutrients will be able to more easily reach your skin, resulting in healthier tissue. Likewise, more nutrients will reach your scalp, and you will grow strong, healthy hair. Vitamin B12 keeps the pigmentation in your hair vibrant.
- Vitamin B12 also plays a key role in the synthesis of DNA, the genetic code that is used by all of your body systems to create new cells and tissue. For this reason, B12 is very important in the creation of new collagen. Collagen is the fibrous tissue in your skin which gives it elasticity. Elastic skin is firm and youthful. It doesn’t sag, and as a result, it doesn’t easily develop wrinkles and other lines of age. As you get older, your body starts producing less collagen than it did before. Taking vitamin B12 supplements regularly allows you to keep your skin looking young even as you age. This becomes more important than ever once you surpass 50 years and your body has a harder time absorbing vitamin B12.
- Getting sufficient vitamin B12 in your diet can prevent deficiency symptoms from forming, or reverse them if they have already started. Many of the B12 deficiency symptoms directly affect your appearance. Skin can turn yellowish, or you can develop discoloration in patches (this can occur on the nails as well). You may also experience changes in your hair, such as a loss of pigment. Taking vitamin B12 can restore a uniform appearance to your skin and nails and color to your hair.
- Vitamin B12 works closely with vitamin B9, or folate (also called folic acid). Folate is particularly good for you and fulfills a similar role in the body. Both these nutrients work hand in hand to synthesize DNA and build protein-rich tissue. You need both to keep your hair and skin as healthy as possible. Taking them together will boost their benefit.
- There are numerous other health benefits of vitamin B12. While this essential nutrient nourishes your hair and skin, you may also experience improvements in your energy level and mood. Vitamin B12 protects neurological health and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Imagine being able to look and feel better—and protect both body and mind against the effects of aging!
For a healthy body and mind and a youthful appearance, few nutrients are as beneficial as vitamin B12. With B12, your body can synthesize DNA and healthy tissue. Increased collagen will improve skin tone and texture, and the boost in your metabolism will keep your hair color bold and vibrant. If you are 50 or older, or you are a vegan or vegetarian, you are at extra risk for developing B12 deficiency. That makes it even more essential for you to make sure that you are getting extra vitamin B12 through a healthy Bcomplex supplement or hair or skin supplement.