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How Vitamin B12 Works

Benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has health benefits for young and old alike, and everyone in between. It combats asthma in children, has shown promise against HIV in adults, and has helped the elderly who find their minds aren't as sharp as they used to be.

Older adults who notice a decline in mental function, even the emergence of Alzheimer's disease, need to get on the B12 bandwagon. Experts have found that when mental symptoms are treated with vitamin B12 within six months of onset, many of the symptoms disappear or mental clarity improves.

As you get older, vitamin B12 can reverse mental slowdowns or just help you get a good night's sleep.
© 2007 Publications International, Ltd.
As you get older, vitamin B12
can reverse mental slowdowns
or just help you get a good night's sleep.

Vitamin B12 may also help alleviate depression in the elderly by working with a compound that helps to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for a calm feeling of well being.

B12 also plays a role in melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for letting you get a good night's sleep. As we age, the body is less efficient at making this hormone. B12 supplementation has helped some older adults sleep better.

On the opposite end of the life spectrum, children who have asthma may benefit from vitamin B12 as well. Weekly injections of 1,000 mcg or daily oral supplements of 1 to 3 mcg improved their condition and resulted in less shortness of breath.

AIDS patients typically have low levels of this vitamin. This can be used as an indicator that overall nutritional status is low and that attention needs to be given to intake of all nutrients. In the laboratory, vitamin B12, in any form, reduces replication of HIV. This is a hopeful treatment yet to be tested in humans.

Several studies show that B12 dramatically increases sperm counts in men whose counts are low. The vitamin also jump-starts sperm's action, increasing motility rates.

People with tinnitus, that constant ringing in the ears, are often deficient in vitamin B12. Supplementation diminishes the irritating ringing for some people.

Fortunately, most people get more than enough B12 in their daily diet. Find out the recommended daily allowance on the next page.

Vitamin B12 is just one of the many vitamins that are part of a healthy diet. Check out the following links to learn more:
  • Vitamin B1, or thiamin, is one of the essentil vitamins added back to "enriched" foods. Learn about it at How Vitamin B1 Works.
  • Found mostly in protein, Vitamin B3 keeps us strong. How Vitamin B3 Works explains what happens if you don't get enough of it.
  • Everyone knows Vitamin C fights the common cold. Learn how it does the trick at How Vitamin C Works.
  • Biotin aids in metabolism, turning food into energy. Learn more at How Biotin Works.
  • Vitamin K plays a vital role in blood clotting. Learn more at How Vitamin K Works.
  • To learn about the many vitamins in our diet, how much you should be eating, and where to find them, go to our general Vitamins page.
  • If you're looking for the best prices on B vitamins, click here.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.