Vit B12 (cyanocobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin essential for your body’s metabolism. It is so vital for the body’s metabolism and the formation of normal red blood cells that people can often feel exhausted and tired when lacking in Vit B12. Most people obtain it from regularly sourced foods such as meats and fish. If vitamin B12 intake is not met through diet alone, you can try supplementing with tablets and oral mouth sprays; however, if you are severely deficient, injections may be needed through your Doctor. Vit B12 deficiency can often cause fatigue, tiredness, and reduced physical performance.
One of the leading causes of tiredness and lethargy in adults is anaemia, and one of the leading causes of anaemia is a lack of folate or Vit B12. Over the last few years, more people have been using Vit B12 for overall well-being and athletic performance. They work hand in hand, so if one is low, it can affect the other, which is why people supplement it.
### So why the craze now?
Over the last few years, the “wonder drug” has dramatically enhanced its public perception with increasing social media presence. Some claim it makes them feel more energetic, with others claiming it increases strength and endurance. With this, there have been more readily available self-injection kits, which can sometimes contain up to 40,000% of their recommended daily amount. High doses do not cause harm because it is water-soluble; in theory, the body will only use what it needs, and the rest will get excreted.
However, is it all true?
A study run by Spradley showed that Vit B12 reduces fatigue and improves muscular endurance. Especially since Vitamin B12 is crucial to the production of nerve cells, RNA/DNA and red blood cells, energy levels come into play. If an individual is Vit B12 deficient, this will have undesired effects on well-being and performance.
Sleep is vital to the body’s recovery, and Vit B12 plays a role through the production of melatonin which encourages sleep, stabilized mood and motivation, allowing healing to occur. Because of this and its involvement in the nervous system, Vit B12 can improve cognitive function, concentration and reaction time.
A recent study shows that 34% of all athletes use Vit B12 injections, with endurance athletes having an even higher percentage of 46%. A study was completed investigating whether the concentration of Vit B12 in the blood affects the haemoglobin level. The haemoglobin level is important for red blood cells and oxygen supply to the muscles. The results summarised a positive correlation between high blood Vit B12 and haemoglobin, but insufficient evidence supports this. Concluding, there are potential benefits of improving red blood cell parameters, especially in athletes with insufficient vitamin B12. Supplementation should be considered
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