Why is vitamin B12 so important?
Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential vitamins as it affects multiple systems in the human body, necessary for vital functions such as:
Beyond these functions, vitamin B12 has also been linked to our mental well-being, as severely low levels have been suggested to disrupt the production of our mood-regulating neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine (ie. the “happy hormones”). In extreme cases, vitamin B12 deficiency has even been shown to cause major psychosis and mood-disorders. There have even been cases where patients were wrongly diagnosed and committed to mental health facilities. Yet, in these cases, psychosis was rather a symptom of a B12 deficiency, rather than an underlying condition.
How does B12 deficiency occur?
Unfortunately, like most vitamins, vitamin B12 cannot be made by the body – it must be received by food or supplements. Unfortunately, B12 is not found in plants either, and with the rise in the number of vegetarians and vegans, many people are not getting this vitamin from their diet either. Plus, if you suffer from a pre-existing condition such as celiac or crohn’s disease, no matter how much B12 you may be consuming, your body is likely unable to absorb it.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
The symptoms from a B12 deficiency can present slowly, intensifying over time, or rapidly as if they seem to appear out of nowhere. Common symptoms include:
If you relate with any of the symptoms listed above and struggle with depression or anxiety, we strongly encourage you to speak with your doctor about having your B12 levels checked. If a deficiency is found, your doctor can then prescribe the appropriate way to boost your B12 levels (either through diet, supplementation, or injections) and help you to start feeling better today!
Disclaimer: The information listed above is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment, but rather to inform readers on the latest anxiety research. Please speak to your doctor before beginning any supplementation or treatment.