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Vitamin B12 to Help Combat Mental Illness

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

vitamin b12 and mental health

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  • Vitamin B12 plays an important role in neurological function, and deficiency leads to a number of related changes, including personality disturbances, irritability, depression, dementia and even psychosis
  • People with depression and high B12 levels have better responses to treatment
  • Vitamin B12 also helps regulate homocysteine levels, and increased homocysteine is linked to B12 deficiency as well as depression
  • Vegans or strict vegetarians who abstain from animal products and do not supplement their diet with vitamin B12 will often become deficient and may face increased risks of neuropsychiatric and neurological problems as a result
  • The only reliable and absorbable sources of vitamin B12 are animal products; however, even meat eaters can be deficient
  • If you have a minor deficiency, increasing B12-rich foods, such as grass fed beef liver, wild rainbow trout and wild sockeye salmon, in your diet can help, but for more serious deficiency you may need weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 supplements

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is necessary for your body to make red blood cells as well as for proper nerve function and DNA synthesis. Without adequate levels, you'll experience a number of physical symptoms, ranging from numbness to fatigue, but your mental health can also suffer significantly.

In fact, vitamin B12 is increasingly being recognized as an important tool for combating mental illness — and deficiency, which is common as you age, could be setting you up for depression, dementia, cognitive decline and more.

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