I recently got some B12 supplements in a package I received and have been taking them daily. I open the cabinet every day and see the claim to help increase my energy. So, this is what brought about me diving into this topic a bit more. I am sure I knew this at one point in my nutrition career, but mom brain is 100% real and beats 8 years of education every single day.
Questions I am hoping to answer? Can extra vitamin B12 help with energy levels? Can you take too much?
What is it? Nutrient that helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy. Also plays a role in the creation of DNA and helps prevent a specific type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia.
Just a little bit of science for fun…… There are two things required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. This process is pretty fascinating in which B12 is split from the protein it is attached to in food, by hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It then attaches to a protein made by the stomach and this is known as the intrinsic factor. It can then be absorbed by the body.
How much do we need? Adults- 2.4mcg , Breastfeeding women- 2.8mcg
Foods with vitamin B12- Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beef liver and clams are the highest (but who eats those,) other items such as nutritional yeast, grains, can be fortified with vitamin B12.
Can I get too much? The body is only going to absorb what it needs. If extra vitamin B12 is taken in there needs to be more intrinsic factor for it to be absorbed. This means we are not going to absorb extra unless we have the extra protein made by the stomach and we will make extra unless we need more. All the rest will be found in your urine. FYI- My supplements contain 3000mcg (go back and look at daily requirements)
Will extra vitamin B12 help increase my energy? Based on the studies I read through, no evidence showed extra B12 or B complex helping with more energy. The reason some may get a boost in energy is due to the fact that vitamin B12 is directly related to the production of red blood cells. If supplements are taken when there is a deficiency this could correct anemia that was present, which is known for low energy levels. However, for people without a deficiency there is no evidence that it increases energy.
My recommendations for extra energy. Sleep when you can and be a caffeine queen. 😊
Taylor Williams, MS, RD/LD