We all try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough physical activity and getting in as much sleep as possible but sometimes it is simply not enough and this is when supplements could come in to help achieve ‘perfect health’. Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that contains a metal element known as cobalt and this is why it goes by the chemical name, cobalamin. The cobalt gives the water-soluble vitamin its distinctive red colour and is used by every cell in the body.
Vitamin B12 is used to produce healthy blood, to maintain the nervous system and help control appetite. Vitamin B12 is commonly known as folate and having a deficiency to this vitamin could lead to anaemia causing the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that can’t function properly.
Reasons why your body needs vitamin B12:
- Making of red blood cells
- Healthy brain and nervous system function
- Cell formation
- Food digestion, absorption and iron use
- Fat and protein metabolism
- Healthy immune system
- Mood regulation
- Memory function
Pernicious anaemia is where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the stomach, preventing the body from absorbing vitamin B12.
This lack of vitamin B12 causes hair to go grey. Researchers have since found that prematurely grey hair may indeed be due to a lack of vitamin B12.
New hair grows when the hair cells divide and multiply and when the levels of B12 are low, the hair cells can’t divide as efficiently.
This causes the hair growth to slow down and could even stop entirely. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body, when B12 levels go down so do the levels of homocysteine. Taking B12 supplements could lower homocysteine levels and thus could cause grey hair to darken.
In an abstract by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health a case of reversible generalised hyper pigmentation of the skin and nails with reversible premature grey hair due to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Although uncommon, vitamin B12 can lead to complications, particularly if you’ve been deficient in vitamin B12 for some time
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Lack of energy
- Sore or red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Disturbed vision
- Pins and needles
- Muscle weakness
- Psychological problems
- Problems with memory
The NHS explains complications of vitamin B 12 deficiency and said: “Although uncommon, vitamin B12 can lead to complications, particularly if you’ve been deficient in vitamin B12 for some time. Potential complications include problems with the nervous system, temporary infertility, heart conditions and pregnancy complications or birth defects.”
Taking a vitamin B12 supplement will help with a host of health problems and grey hair. You should also eat foods that are rich in vitamin B12 such as kidneys, sardines, beef, tuna and trout.
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