(WXYZ) – B12 has been making rounds as a vitamin that can boost energy and mood.
But there’s no evidence that supports it’ll perk you up if your B12 levels are already in the normal range.
However, scientists have found an association between low B12 levels and depression. But there is still a lot we don’t know about this link – like if low levels cause the depression, or if depression will be improved if B12 levels are raised.
We do know our bodies needs B12 to make nerves, red blood cells and DNA. Without it we can have issues with memory, cognition, difficulty walking, yellowed skin, weakness and fatigue.
Our bodies don’t make B12. We get it from supplements and animal-based foods like seafood, meat, dairy products and eggs. Most people get enough B12 in their diet, but not everyone. There are a few things you should know so here are my prescriptions:
1. If you’re a strict vegetarian be sure to eat enough fortified foods like grains. Otherwise, you could have low levels of B12.
2. Get your levels tested if you’re over 50. Older folks tend to have trouble absorbing this vitamin and likely need a multivitamin or B12 shots.
3. If you want to take B12 supplements and are on medications, speak to your doctor first. He or she will check for interactions with the drugs you’re currently taking.
4. Don’t take high levels of B12 supplementation, it could be toxic to your liver. The recommended dietary amounts for people 14 years of age and older is 2.4 micrograms a day.
Research did find that getting regular amounts of B12 could help with depression relapse rates. It may also help a person with depression respond better to antidepressant medication.
If you have symptoms of depression, please don’t self-medicate or forgo traditional treatment. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and a blood test that can check for a deficiency.
For the rest of you with normal B12 levels, there appears to be no beneficial effect when it comes to supplementation.
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