The simple answer to this is YES as far as increasing our energy goes. This is due mainly to the fact that more and more Americans are deficient in Vitamin B12. There is no solid evidence that supports the theory that B12 helps you lose weight, but it may help if you are deficient in B12, as deficiencies have been shown to cause fatigue as well as a reduced rate of metabolism.
Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is the largest and most powerful of the B-complex vitamins. Deficiencies in B12 may lead to pernicious anemia, poor appetite, failure to thrive (growth failure in children), tiredness and reduced energy, nervousness, depression, sleep disorders, changes in mood, and more.
So what does your body actually use vitamin B12 for?
Obviously vitamin B12 is a very important part of your diet. It is necessary for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. It helps in the formation and regeneration of red blood cells, which is how it helps prevent anemia. B12 maintains a healthy nervous system; promotes growth in children; and increases energy. Unlike other vitamins, B12 is NOT available in plants, this vitamin is found in animal sources including beef, liver, blue cheese, eggs, fish, milk, and milk products.
Because Vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources, vegans are especially prone to B12 deficiency, as they depend on plants for all their nutrients. (We suggest foods fortified with B12 for our clients who are vegans: some breakfast cereals and plant milks.)
The natural process of aging causes there to be less available B12 in your blood. This is due to the lining of your stomach gradually losing its ability to produce hydrochloric acid, necessary to release vitamin B12 from your food.
There are other contributing factors to our reduced B12 status. Popping antacids such as Tums, or taking anti-ulcer drugs that lower stomach acid secretion will reduce the ability to absorb vitamin B12.
Often, patients that undergo gastric bypass surgery lose their ability to make intrinsic factor, which is a protein that binds to B12 so that it can be absorbed in the small intestine, as it is made in the lower part of the stomach, which is often removed in such surgeries.
Very low B12 intakes and/or the inability to absorb B12 (such as seen in the two cases stated above), can cause anemia and nervous system damage.
So, I usually recommend vegans, anyone suspecting B12 deficiency, and all folks over 60, to take a supplement of B12. It is important to take at least 10 mcgs per day, (it is a water soluble nutrient, so taking more has little downside risk). Also, at the same time, take a good Vitamin B-complex, as it is important to supplement all of the B vitamins together -they are integrative in their processes. An over-consumption of one B vitamin can counterbalance the others.
So, the bottom line is: While B12 is not the magic answer to all of your weight loss problems, it is vital in your nutrition and well-being. For more facts about vitamin B12 and other advantages that were not mentioned here ask your Genetix Program Coach!