At a young age, most of us were taught that taking a daily multivitamin can help us stay healthy.
You may even remember how some of the individual vitamins can help! You know, like how vitamin C is good for immune system support. Or how vitamin D can help with bone health.
As we get older, we find out that maintaining optimal nutrition is a little more complex.
You see, sometimes when it comes to nutrition, we fall short of getting all the vitamins and minerals we need. This can be for a lot of different reasons...
Food preferences, allergies, availability, and several other factors have a big impact on the nutrients we absorb.
In fact, there are a few common vitamins that, as Americans, we tend to fall short on.
One of those vitamins is the last member in the B line of vitamins: vitamin B12.
Let’s take a look at what B12 helps with, where you can get it in your diet, and why you want to make sure you get enough!
What is B12 Good For?
At a very basic level, B12 is an essential vitamin that can help with healthy red blood cell formation and the function of your nervous system.
B12 is a water soluble vitamin, meaning it's dissolved in water and immediately ready to be used by tissue.
It’s also a critical factor in preventing megaloblastic anemia. This slows down the transportation of oxygen in your cells ... yikes!
B12 also helps with the production of DNA in your cells (which is pretty dang important)!
Feeling tired? B12 may help. After all, B12 can promote increased energy and improved mood ... two key benefits that should never be overlooked!
I'm serious! If you were to go look at the nutrition facts on just about any energy drink, you'll find B12! The same can be said about pre-workouts and a lot of energy products.
Trust me when I say, you don't want to be deficient in this essential vitamin. Here's why...
What are the Dangers of B12 Deficiency?
Another way to look at the benefits of B12 is by considering what can happen when you don't get enough of it.
B12 deficiency has been linked to:
• Osteoporosis and poor bone health
• Macular degeneration
• Constipation and other digestive issues
• Heart problems
• Birth defects
• Memory loss and dementia
As you can see, there are a lot of good reasons to make sure that you’re getting enough B12. You can avoid quite a few potential issues if you do.
But since B12 isn’t found in every food ... where, exactly, can you get it?
Here’s a hint: Some people refer to vitamin B12 as the ‘meat vitamin.’
What Foods are Good Sources of B12?
You guessed it! If you want to get your B12 from dietary sources, meat is your best option.
Or, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) puts it ... “Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.” 
Clams, tuna, and crab are especially high in B12 (which is good news if you like seafood). On the other hand, beef, liver, and dairy are also good sources.
Many grains (like oats and breakfast cereals) are fortified with B12 as well. This means B12 is commonly added to these foods to make them more nutritious. This can be a great option for vegetarians or those of us who don’t eat a lot of meat.
In a lot of cases, supplementing with vitamin B12 can be very advantageous too. Especially if you're struggling to get enough through your diet alone.
Should I Be Supplementing B12?
If everyone got enough B12 in their diet, then there wouldn’t be much of a reason for B12 supplements to exist.
However, research suggests that B12 deficiency may be one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world.
6% of adults younger than 60 in the US and UK suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This rate jumps to 20% for those who are older than 60 .
So, according to this and other supporting data, there are a lot of people who need help getting B12.
Certain groups of people may be more susceptible to B12 deficiencies. Since B12 is abundant with predominantly animal products, vegetarians may be lacking.
As we age, intrinsic factor (a protein produced by your stomach to help your body absorb B12) decreases. For this reason, elderly are more at risk for deficiencies.
If your gut health is compromised, so is your ability to absorb B12. Whether it’s from gastrointestinal conditions, surgeries, or just poor gut health ... you may be deficient.
Anyone who is dieting or restricting calories may also be low in B12, since they have a limited intake.
This is where supplements come in.
With supplementation, even those with unique dietary needs or gastrointestinal conditions can make sure they get enough B12.
Plus, when taken at the appropriate doses, B12 supplements are generally considered safe.
1st Phorm and B12
Eating a variety of animal proteins and fortified foods rich in B12 will help ensure that you get ample amounts through whole foods. If you’re in need of a supplement though, check out 1st Phorm B-Complex, for a daily dose of B12!
Other than that, the best thing you can do to make sure you cover your B12 needs is through a daily multivitamin. Not only that, but it will cover all your bases when it comes to essential vitamins and minerals.
Think of a multivitamin as the foundation of your house. Everything else is built upon the foundation. But if you don't have any foundation, what can you even build? Nothing!
So if you're truly wanting to be healthy and see great results with your fitness ... multivitamins are a great place to start.
Without these essential nutrients, your body simply can't operate at its best.
If you have any questions about B12 or any other aspects of your nutrition or fitness ... reach out to us! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches who are happy to help for free.
 "Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet For Health Professionals." NIH.Gov, 2 Mar. 2018, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 5 Jan. 2023.ABOUT THE AUTHOR