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10 Amazing Benefits Of Vitamin B12 (And Where To Get It)

10 Amazing Benefits Of Vitamin B12 (And Where To Get It)

Vitamin B12 is necessary to ensure the proper functioning and health of nerve tissues, brain function, and red blood cells.

A wide variety of signs and symptoms[1] may occur when you are deficient including cognitive impairment and slowed mental processing and a host of behavioral and emotional issues such as depression, irritability, and psychosis. In young children, the symptoms include poor growth and development, and difficulties with movement.

This vitamin can be found most commonly in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products. As you age, your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food slows down making it difficult to reap vitamin B12 benefits[2]. The following as some of the benefits of Vitamin B12:

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 1.  Helps maintain a healthy digestive system

Vitamin B12 also protects against heart disease by regulating cholesterol levels[3], which assists in the prevention of high blood pressure.

Improving absorption begins with consuming adequate amounts of B12-rich foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and other fortified foods which assist in producing healthy gut bacteria. Healthy gut bacteria keeps the digestive system functioning well and ensures that B12 is properly absorbed.

2. Helps keep hair, skin and nails healthy

Vitamin B12 helps in the reproduction of tissue cells and cellular regeneration is essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails.[4]  It is important for metabolism and its metabolic boosting properties assist in boosting the skin’s metabolism. Nutrients are able to more easily reach your skin, resulting in healthier tissue, vibrant skin tone and strong healthy hair and nails.

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3. Helps in healthy regulation of the nervous system

Healthy amounts of vitamin B12 can assist in reducing brain shrinkage which can cause depression and stress.[5] B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate are linked to depression.

4. It is a natural energy enhancer

Low energy levels, lethargy and the feeling of not wanting to do anything may be a sign that you are not getting enough Vitamin B12. Working in concert with the other B vitamins, B12 is known for its ability to keep you alert and feeling energized. It is needed to convert carbohydrates into glucose in the body, leading to energy production and a decrease in fatigue and lethargy in the body

5. Helps to prevent anemia

B12 is necessary for the production of a healthy level of red blood cells. The constant production of red blood cells helps to ward off megaloblastic anemia[6]which causes chronic fatigue and physical weakness throughout the body.

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6. Protects and treats certain types of cancer

Vitamin B12 helps in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers, particularly prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancer.

7Protects Against Heart Disease

B12 has been shown to assist in sustaining and improving the cardiovascular system overall.[7] Adequate levels of vitamin B12 is a major part of a comprehensive approach to maintaining a healthy heart.

8. Helps to prevent stroke

B vitamins have been linked to a lower incidence of stroke which is a condition that occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain, or a blood vessel bursts in the brain. Vitamin B12 helps to protect against heart disease like a heart attack or stroke by lowering high homocysteine levels in the blood.

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Foods that enhance vitamin B12 benefits

Foods high in Vitamin B12[8] include shellfish, liver, fish, crab, fortified soy products (tofu, soymilk), fortified cereals, red meat, low-fat dairy, cheese, and eggs. Below are the top 10 foods ranked in order according to the percentage of B12 they contain based on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommending daily value (DV) index.[9]

  1. Shell fish[10]Clams, oysters and mussels contain massive amounts of B12. One 3 oz. serving of cooked clams contains 1401% of the recommended DV.
  2. Liver[11]: A three-ounce serving of beef liver will provide you with 1178% of the recommended DV.
  3. Fish[12]: Fish highest in B12 are  Mackerel (269% DV), Smoked Salmon (257% DV), Herring (186% DV), Tuna (154% DV) , Canned Sardines (126% DV) and Trout (106% DV)
  4. Crustaceans[13]: Crustaceans include crayfish, shrimp, lobster and crab. A three oz. serving of crab contains 163% DV.
  5. Red Meat[14]: Beef and lamb are particularly high in this vitamin. A three ounce serving of cooked beef contains 85% DV
  6. Fortified Soy Products[15]: This category is inclusive of food items such as tofu and plain soymilk which contains 34% DV.
  7. Fortified Cereals[16]: The amount of B12 in cereals will vary by brand and in order to find the correct cereal to fit your nutritional needs, make sure to check the label. A cup of Kellogg’s All-Bran Buds cereal contains 300% of the recommended DV. Most cereals do not have B12 levels this high.
  8.  Dairy products[17]: These products include: Nonfat Yogurt (25% DV), Reduced Fat Milk (22% DV), Skim Milk (21% DV) Whole Milk (18% DV), and Full Fat Yogurt (15% DV)
  9. Cheese[18]: Adding three ounce serving of the following cheeses to your favorite dishes is a great way to get some additional B12 incorporated into your diet: Swiss (14% DV), Reduced Fat Mozzarella, Parmesan and Gietost (11% DV), Tilsit (10% DV) and Feta (8% DV).
  10. Eggs[19]: Surprisingly, there are a variety of eggs that provide a good dose of B12, including: Chicken eggs (6% DV per yolk), Goose (122% DV), Duck (63% DV), Turkey (22% DV), and Quail (2% DV).

As you can see, most foods delivering vitamin B12 benefits are primarily meat products, which can prove to be problematic for those who do not eat meat or meat products.

Here are some ways vegans can maintain their meat-free diet and still avoid becoming B12 deficient:[20]

  1. Eat fortified foods two or three times a day to get at least three micrograms (mcg or µg) of B12 a day
  2. OR  Take one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms
  3. OR  Take a weekly B12 supplement providing at least 2000 micrograms.

It is important to note that the less frequently your body receives B12 the more you will need to take. Vitamin B12 is best absorbed in small amounts although there is no harm in exceeding the recommended amounts or using more than one option above to receive the recommended daily dose. Fortified foods such as grains, nut or grain ‘milks’ and nutritional or brewers yeast can be added to foods to provide B12 organically. Yeast can easily be added to foods with little or no effect on the taste or texture.

Precautions

Vitamin B12 is considered safe for most people when taken orally, applied to the skin, taken through the nose, administered as a shot, or injected into the vein (by IV). It is even considered safe in large doses. However, here are a few specific precautions and warnings you should be aware of:[21]

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Doctors recommend that pregnant and breast-feeding women are careful not to exceed the recommended DV as the effects of taking higher doses during these times are unknown.
  • Post-surgical stent placement: Vitamins B6, B12 and folate should be avoided after this type of coronary procedure as it could cause the blood vessels to narrow and lead to complications.
  • Allergy or sensitivity to cobalt or cobalamin; Leber’s disease or a hereditary eye disease: People with these conditions should avoid taking B12
  • Abnormal red blood cells (megaloblastic anemia): This condition is often treated by vitamin B12 therapy, however, it could also exacerbate this condition. Follow the advice of your health care provider
  • High numbers of red blood cells (polycythemia vera): Vitamin B12 deficiency therapy could unmask the symptoms of this condition.

Reference

[1] http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms-causes#1
[2] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219822.php
[3] http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/heart-health/lowering-cholesterol-naturally-with-b-vitamins/
[4] https://eunatural.com/vitamin-b12-hair/
[5] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-and-depression/faq-20058077
[6] https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/anemia-megaloblastic/
[7] http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/health-benefits-of-vitamin/2015/04/07/id/387945/
[8] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-vitamin-B12.php#vitamin-b12-density-by-gram
[9] http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm
[10] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=15159&t=15159&h=15159&s=100&e=85.0&r=190.0
[11] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=13327&t=13327&h=07041&s=100&e=81.0&r=28.4
[12] http://www.lifehack.org/496827/10-foods-highest-in-vitamin-d-that-you-should-include-in-your-diet
[13] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=15137&t=15137&h=15137&s=100&e=134.0&r=85.0
[14] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=23065&t=23065&h=23065&s=100&e=34.0&r=85.0
[15] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=16272&t=16272&h=16238&s=100&e=91.0&r=243.0
[16] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=08005&t=08005&h=&s=100&e=30.0&r=31.0
[17] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=01151&t=01151&h=01118&s=100&e=245.0&r=245.0
[18] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/cheese-high-in-vitamin-b12.php
[19] https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-comparison.php?o=01125&t=01125&h=01131&s=100&e=17.0&r=50.0
[20] http://veganhealth.org/articles/vitaminb12
[21] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-926-vitamin%20b12.aspx?activeingredientid=926

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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