1. What is Vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B-12 is something people in general, and particularly athletes, should consider taking. As we age, our bodies and its abilities weaken. We can’t absorb nutrients as easily and we become more prone to exhaustion and feelings of weakness -- that’s just human science. B-12 is essential for the development of red blood cells, and with a deficiency in red blood cells, a person often starts to feel tired and unable to perform to the best of their abilities. If you lack B-12 and are not obtaining other essential nutrients through food consumption, you become susceptible to grogginess and your stamina/endurance worsens. Additionally, your body’s oxygen capacity decreases, causing you to not be able to think/ or react as quickly.
2. How else does Vitamin B-12 benefit your body and athletic performance?
In addition to what was said in the first paragraph, B-12 has many other benefits, and on the flip side, if it’s not consumed regularly, particularly as you age, a lack of this vitamin can cause skin numbness and tingling, poor mental health, as well as decreased cognitive function, and poor coordination. There are no required routine checks on B-12 levels, and that is why it is recommended that you consistently check up on your B-12 levels and nutrition with your doctor. Properly maintaining your B-12 levels increases general wellness and athletic performance. The consumption of B-12 helps to improve energy levels and makes for a quicker, easier recovery from workouts, training sessions, and everyday life.
3. What can be done?
The best possible scenario would be to detect any lack of B-12 at an early stage by consulting with a medical professional. A lot of early symptoms can go unnoticed, so make sure to pay attention to your body and mind, and to do your research! Depending on your age, adjusting your diet to consume whole foods with the nutrients you need can make a world of difference. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, the excess will be excreted from the body. That is why it is important to maintain a good daily diet that is rich in foods containing B vitamins. If you feel off in any way, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a trained professional and gather some insight from them. According to an article for Active by Emily Brown, “B vitamins—especially thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6—are used to convert the foods we eat into energy our bodies can use during exercise. Folate and vitamin B12, for example, are required for the synthesis of red blood cells and the repair of damaged muscle cells. Therefore, adequate intake of the B vitamins is important to ensure optimum energy production and recovery.”