Many of us have felt joy and bliss from taking a bite out of our favorite foods.
Although our favorite foods may temporarily improve your mood, it takes a consistent supply of nutrients to sustain that mood-boosting effect for a longer period.
This is where Vitamin B12 comes into play.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is incredibly beneficial to your mood, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
In this article, we’ll discuss how Vitamin B12 benefits your mood in several different ways.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is essential for the overall healthy functioning of the body. It is one of the eight B-vitamins that helps convert complex carbohydrates from your food into glucose, which supplies your body with the energy it needs for the day. Besides its important role in energy production, Vitamin B12 benefits are overwhelming:
- Regulating your mood
- Supporting your mental sharpness and alertness
- Helping prevent memory loss
- Improving your ability to concentrate
- Helping Vitamin B9 with the production of red blood cells
Now that we know what Vitamin B12 is, let’s look at:
How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Affects Your Mood
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common amongst certain groups of people, including:
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Older adults over the age of 50
- People who have gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss or bariatric surgery
- Individuals with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or a similar other digestive disorder
- Individuals with pernicious anemia
- People with a long-term history of antibiotics use
- Heavy smokers and alcoholics
- People who regularly use medications that regulate stomach acids
- Individuals with acid reflux
- People who regularly use potassium supplements
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
Individuals with a Vitamin B12 deficiency have often reported changes in their moods. Low levels of Vitamin B12 have been associated with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Researchers believe high levels of homocysteine may help explain this connection.
Homocysteine is a kind of amino acid that the body uses to synthesize proteins.
Folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 are involved with metabolizing and converting homocysteine into other substances that are essential for the overall functioning of the body. High levels of homocysteine are linked with the development of cerebral vascular disease and/or neurotransmitter deficiency, which cause depression.
We’ll explore this in more detail later.
Let’s take a closer look at:
How Vitamin B12 Benefits Your Mood
Vitamin B12 has far-reaching effects on your mood and mental health. It is essential to the biosynthesis and metabolism of the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin has been called “the happy hormone,” due to its contribution to our well-being and feelings of happiness. It helps with the regulation and stabilization of mood and anxiety.
Folate, otherwise known as folic acid and Vitamin B9, and Vitamin B12 are closely interconnected in several different processes, such as the production of red blood cells, and helping the body effectively utilize iron.
They are also primary cofactors of one-carbon metabolism, which produces the naturally occurring chemical compound of S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe. This compound is important for healthy neurological functioning, especially when it comes to regulating stress and mood, and possesses strong antidepressant effects.
But how does that work?
The strong antidepressant effects of SAMe come from its key role in the process of methylation.
The process of DNA methylation involves the addition of methyl groups to DNA molecules, and helps change the activity of a DNA segment without changing its sequence. DNA methylation may turn gene transcription, the process of making an RNA copy of a gene sequence, “off” or “on.”
Why is this important?
Many studies have shown that depression has a genetic component. One systematic review of many studies on the relationship between DNA methylation and depression found that, overall, modifications in DNA methylation have a positive correlation with depression.
More specifically, most of the studies in this review found that hypermethylation in the BDNF and SLC6A4 genes were positively correlated with major depressive disorder, also known as MDD, or depression in general.
What are these two genes, and what do they do?
The BDNF gene is encoded with instructions for the synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is a protein found in the brain and spinal cord. This BDNF protein helps regulate the development, function, and survival of neurons.
It is also important to cognitive function, as well as synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of the synapses to grow stronger or weaker over time, in response to changes in their activity.
Furthermore, brain-derived neurotrophic factor is essential to learning and memory. The BDNF protein has been linked to various psychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and depression. The SLC6A4 gene is encoded with instructions for the transportation of serotonin from synaptic spaces into presynaptic neurons.
For those who don’t know:
Presynaptic neurons are triggered by an action potential to release neurotransmitters across a synapse to postsynaptic neurons. So, presynaptic neurons send the message, and the postsynaptic neurons receive the message.
SLC6A4 also regulates serotonin’s availability to other receptors of serotonergic systems. Additionally, it codes for the serotonin transporter protein that terminates the action of serotonin and recycles it. SSRI medications target the serotonin transporter protein in order to treat depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are antidepressants that affect the levels of serotonin in the brain. Vitamins B9 and B12 also work together in the folate and methionine cycles. In the folate cycle, tetrahydrofolate is enzymatically modified to provide the one-carbon units needed for one-carbon metabolism.
It is necessary for the folate cycle to function efficiently in order for tetrahydrobiopterin, or BH4, to be synthesized and regenerated. BH4 serves as an essential cofactor for the enzymes that convert amino acids into monoamine neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, as well as nitric oxide.
Let’s take a closer look:
BH4 is an essential cofactor for tryptophan hydroxylase in the conversion of L-tryptophan to 5-HTP.
So what about the methionine cycle?
One of the products of the methionine cycle is SAMe which, as we previously discussed, is essential for the regulation of your stress and mood, and possesses potent antidepressant effects. Clearly, Vitamin B12 benefits many factors related to the regulation of mood, anxiety, and depression.
How Homocysteine May Affect Depression
Previously, we mentioned a connection between high levels of homocysteine and the development of cerebral vascular disease and/or neurotransmitter deficiency, which cause depression.
Let’s dive deeper into that.
The dangers of high levels of homocysteine come from its toxicity to blood vessels and neurons. Additionally, homocysteine may lead to breakage of DNA strands, as well as oxidative stress and apoptosis, which is programmed cell death.
But where does homocysteine come from?
SAMe is an intermediary of the methionine-homocysteine metabolic pathway. It is along this pathway that methyl groups are produced for the synthesis of catecholamines and DNA.
Catecholamines help the body respond to stress or fright, prepare it for “fight-or-flight” reactions, and regulate the heartbeat, breathing rate, as well as other physiological functions. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine are catecholamines.
Back to homocysteine:
This amino acid is synthesized from methionine obtained through your diet using the process of demethylation, or the removal of a methyl group from a molecule. Homocysteine can be re-methylated back to methionine, in which folate and Vitamin B12 act as cofactors of the process. It can also go through the process of transsulfuration to become cysteine and glutathione, which requires Vitamins B6 and B12 to act as cofactors.
When you have a deficiency in Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, or folate, then you may develop a metabolic anomaly known as hyperhomocysteinemia. This medical condition describes abnormally high blood levels of homocysteine above 15 micromoles per liter. Excessively high levels of homocysteine decreases the SAMe-dependent synthesis of catecholamines, including the ones that we previously mentioned, as well as noncatecholamines, such as serotonin.
This is because of genetic alteration in the MTHFR enzyme within the homocysteine metabolism pathway that results in depression. The MTHFR enzyme is key to the metabolism of folate and homocysteine. Clearly, it is important to keep your levels of Vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folate within healthy, normal ranges in order to normalize your levels of homocysteine and prevent the development of hyperhomocysteinemia.
How Effective is Vitamin B12 Supplementation in Mood Disorders?
A lot of research has been done on how Vitamin B12 supplementation may benefit individuals with mood disorders. In one randomized controlled trial, researchers examined the effectiveness of Vitamin B12 supplementation in patients with major depressive disorder. These patients had low normal B12 levels and showed an inadequate response when previously treated with SSRIs.
There were 73 patients examined; 39 were randomized to the control group, in which they were given SSRIs; 34 were randomized to the experimental group, in which they were administered SSRIs and Vitamin B12 injections. Additionally, the patients in the experimental group had higher depression scores, as measured by the HAM-D score. The researchers determined that a 20% reduction in HAM-D score, or Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score, from the baseline score would be the primary outcome.
When the researchers followed-up with patients three months after treatment, 100% of the patients in the experimental group showed a 20% decrease in HAM-D score, compared to 69% of patients in the control group who showed a 20% decrease in HAM-D score. 44% of the patients in the experimental group showed a 50% decrease in HAM-D score; only 5% of patients in the control group showed a 50% decrease in HAM-D score. The researchers believe that this indicates that combining Vitamin B12 supplementation with conventional antidepressants may be effective in decreasing depressive symptoms.
Liposomal Vitamin B12 Technology
If you’re looking for ways to keep your Vitamin B12 levels within a healthy range, then you should consider a Vitamin B12 supplement. More specifically, you may want to consider Liposomal Vitamin B12.
But what is Liposomal Technology anyway?
Liposomal Technology uses micro sized fluid filled liposomes to protect and deliver nutrients directly into the cells and tissues of the body. These liposomes are very similar to human cells, which makes it easier for them to be transported within the body. As a result, nutrient absorption is greatly increased, and there is less intestinal discomfort than with using standard oral supplements.
- Micro-sized encapsulation that protects against the harsh acidity of the gastrointestinal tract
- Increased delivery to cells, tissues, and organs
- Higher absorption rates and bioavailability than other standard oral supplements
- Noninvasive compared to intravenous supplementation
- Lower doses provide the same effects as high-dose standard oral supplements
- Helps put nutrients to use by the body faster
- Prevents gastrointestinal distress usually experienced with standard oral supplements
One study published in the Global Drugs and Therapeutics journal in 2018 investigated how liposomal B12 supplementation affected B12 levels in the bloodstream, and whether the effect could be reproduced regardless of medication, basic biometric differences, and lifestyle choices.
A case series study was organized with 53 people above the age of 50 years old, non-vegetarian, and had baseline B12 levels of less than 225 pg/mL. For reference, normal B12 values range between 160 pg/mL and 900 pg/mL. Values that are lower than 160 pg/mL may be a sign of B12 deficiency. So the people involved in the study had relatively low blood levels of Vitamin B12.
The participants received Liposomal Vitamin B12 supplementation three times a day, equal to a daily dose of 1,000 mcg of Vitamin B12.Vitamin B12 levels were measured before supplementation, one week after the start of supplementation, as well as one month and two months after the start of supplementation. This study lasted over a period of 7 months.
After one week of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 54.68% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 93.6 pg/mL. The median level was measured at 281 pg/mL.
After one month of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 105.51% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 191 mcg/mL. The median level was measured at 362 pg/mL.
After the end of the second month of treatment, Vitamin B12 levels increased by about 270% compared to baseline levels, which meant an increase of 314 mcg/mL. The median level was measured at 480 pg/mL.
The researchers concluded that Liposomal Vitamin B12 supplementation successfully increased blood levels of Vitamin B12 regardless of lifestyle, demographic, and biometric factors.
Liposomal Vitamin B12 is highly effective in treating B12 deficiency in a very short period, in a noninvasive manner.
Why You Should Consider a Vitamin B12 Supplement?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that serves several crucial roles in the body, including improving your mood and decreasing your symptoms of anxiety and depression.
You should take the necessary steps to keep your levels of Vitamin B12 within a normal range to boost your mood and may help your depression.