The Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Men: What Can It Do?

As a man, I often wonder what type of benefits you can get from each vitamin. I continue that quest by researching what the benefits of vitamin B12 for men actually are.

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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, plays a very important role in the formation of red blood cells, cell metabolism, the function of different nerves in the body and DNA production. While we can source our vitamin B12 from many of the foods that we eat each day (different types of poultry, meat, fish, fortified cereals and dairy products), a lot of people (especially men) have to supplement to meet their daily requirements. As a man gets older, their ability to absorb B12 decreases.

An actual B12 deficiency isn’t very common, but a lot of men (and women) benefit from supplementing to increase their intake. This is a water-soluble vitamin, so the body gets rid of whatever it doesn’t need through our urine output. If low levels of vitamin B12 aren’t addressed, this can lead to issues such as anemia, muscle weakness, low energy, low mood and even nerve damage.

What Can Vitamin B12 Do for Men?

Smiling men in a line together

Men that supplement with vitamin B12 can boost their body’s ability to perform some very important functions like the production of red blood cells, production of DNA and nerve signals / production. Dealing with a B12 deficiency over the course of many years can lead to some pretty serious health issues that affect your neurological ability and result in the development of diseases.

B12 doesn’t really cause any kind of side effects, so it’s beneficial for men to get their daily dose through both food and supplementation. Many of our readers often ask me if men should take a multivitamin. I can tell you this – I myself take a B12 supplement routinely, either on its own or from a multivitamin.

Vitamin B12 Benefits a Man Can Expect

This essential vitamin that protects and nourishes your nerves, blood, and DNA must come from either food or supplements. It’s not something that our body produces on its own. If you’re getting enough B12 each day, you can expect some pretty impressive benefits.

Increases Energy Production

When you’re deficient in vitamin B12, this can lead to fatigue and weakness in different areas of the body. This is caused by a lack of red blood cells and oxygen in the body. B12 can effectively improve the energy you have throughout the day, increase your physical performance levels and increase endurance.

Helps Brain Function

Increasing your B12 consumption can reduce your risk of memory loss, seizures, cognitive impairment and much more. There are a number of studies that have concluded patients with Alzheimer’s disease have high levels of homocysteine in their body that could be caused by nerve cell loss. You can protect your cells with B12 supplementation as well as lower your homocysteine levels.

Helps Keep Blood and Nerve Cells Healthy

Vitamin B12 is used by the body to form new red blood cells as well as facilitate the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that is used by the body to carry oxygen in your blood. If you don’t have enough B12, your bone marrow isn’t able to produce adequate amounts of red blood cells. Their formation is proper either, as red blood cells will end up being the wrong size and shape. They could even die off quicker than they normally should. Over time, this can lead to a condition called megaloblastic anemia.

Prevents Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia refers to a person having very large red blood cells. There will also be a decreased amount of these cells in the body. Megaloblastic anemia occurs when you are deficient in vitamins B12 and B9. This prevents healthy development of your red blood cells and bone marrow function. Not enough oxygen will be carried through the body.

Helps Build Muscle

Heavy barbell with weights held by a man in the squat position

The production of red blood cells is important in regard to oxygen being delivered to your muscles. When oxygen supply is adequate, more muscle can be built on the body during physical activity.

Improves Skin Health and Hair Health

Our bodies require vitamin B12 for cell reproduction, which affects us not only internally but on the exterior of our body as well. This vitamin is actually included in a number of cosmetic and beauty products that are applied topically. B12 can reduce inflammation on the skin, cure dryness and heal acne. It can also help keep your hair healthy and strong.

Improves More Restful Sleep

If you struggle with getting good quality sleep at night, you’ll be happy to know that B12 can have an effect on a man’s pineal gland. This gland is responsible for producing melatonin, which is a natural hormone that helps us fall asleep at night and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

Enhances a Man’s Mood

A large percentage of men who are struggling with depression also have low levels of vitamin B12 in their body. While we don’t quite know how B12 deficiencies can eventually lead to depression, it’s likely that there is a link between B12 and the different chemical processes that occur in the brain. Some men have actually found they experienced an improvement in their depressive symptoms when taking a B12 supplement.

Bone Health

Vitamin B12 can regulate our homocysteine levels. When our levels are too high, this can lead to the breakdown of bone because of lower blood flow in these areas. The body also experienced slower bone building which eventually leads to an increased risk of fractures and the development of osteoporosis as a man ages.

What Are Symptoms of Low Vitamin B12 in Men?

I’ve talked a bit about the various issues that you may experience if you’re a man that is deficient in vitamin B12, but there are some specific signs you should watch out for if you suspect that you’re dealing with a deficiency. Supplementing early on can ensure that you don’t develop severe health complications.

Some men that have low levels of vitamin B12 in the body may experience:

  • A pale or yellow complexion
  • Low levels of energy
  • Tiring easily
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of balance
  • Pins and needles in your extremities
  • Numbness in your arms and legs
  • Impaired reflexes

How Much Vitamin B12 Can a Man Take Per Day?

Your doctor can diagnose low levels of B12 in the body with a simple blood test. If you have been advised to start taking a B12 supplement, it’s recommended that adult males should consume 2.4 micrograms of B12 each day. If you’re over the age of 50, the recommended dietary allowance can increase to 100 to 400 micrograms. The male body absorbs less B12 as it ages, so your dose may increase as well to compensate.

The Relationship between Aging and Vitamin B12 Levels

Smiling bearded man in agray jacket

As with many different processes in the body, it becomes harder to absorb vitamin B12 as we age. This is caused by a shift in the stomach acids that we have in our gut, as well as the stomach enzymes that are needed in order to properly process B12. If you’re dealing with a diagnosed digestive issue, you may want to talk to your doctor about the need for supplementing with B12 regularly.

Vitamin Supplements with B12 Support

Now it’s time to take a look at some of the best vitamin supplements that contain B12 support in them. I’ve tried a number of them myself, and I’ve been careful to choose items from only reputable and trusted brands. These products provide a number of benefits, which I’ll cover below.

1st Phorm M-Factor Men

1phorm m-factor men

1st Phorm M-Factor Men delivers a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients to your body, including B12. This supplement is designed to address nutritional deficiencies while also boosting your immune system, improving your gut health, stimulating muscle growth and function while also balancing your hormone production. This pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin from 1st Phorm can ensure that optimal amounts of micronutrients are delivered to your body so it's functioning optimally. Very precise ratios of nutrients have been used to support the different biochemical functions and demands of the body.

M-Factor Men from 1st Phorm has been formulated with the male body in mind to provide us with all of the essential micro-nutrients that contribute to peak metabolic function and protein synthesis. In addition to B12 and other nutrients, this supplement contains A2PC, which is a unique blend of essential and non-essential amino acids that have been specifically formulated to help boost protein synthesis and stimulate muscle growth.

First Day Men’s Daily Provisions (Gummy)

first day organic mens vitamins

First Day Men’s Daily Provisions is a gummy supplement designed for males over the age of 17. It contains an organic fruit and vegetable blend of ingredients along with nine different key nutrients (Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B9, B12, C, D3, and K). It’s optimal for a modern lifestyle that focuses on health and wellness. Every single gummy is made with 12 different organic fruits and veggies that are packed full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. You get real food and nourishment from every dose. First Day Men’s Daily Provisions contains 80 percent less sugar than your average gummy supplement. Backed by scientific advisors, this Men’s Daily Provisions supplement is a great way to get your dose of daily B12 without breaking the bank or consuming anything artificial or unhealthy.

Ritual Essential for Men Vitamins

man holding a bottle of ritual essentials vitamins for men

This scientifically developed multivitamin for men from Ritual can help fill in nutritional gaps in the diets of males between the ages of 18 to 49. It helps support cardiovascular health from non-soy vitamin K2 and omega-3 DHA that has been sourced from microalgae. Omega-3 DHA has been included to help support brain health. You can boost normal muscle function with B12 and D3 while also boosting your body’s immune response with chelated zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D3. All of the ingredients used in Ritual Essential for Men Vitamins are traceable and come from reputable sources.

Autumn DNA (Personalized Through Testing)

autumn dna multivitamins organic

For a more personalized approach to supplementation, Autumn DNA offers DNA testing that can help determine what nutrients you should be supplementing with. Your lifestyle, gender and age are also taken into consideration when a recommendation is made. Instead of taking the wrong nutrients and bombarding your body with things that it doesn’t need, Autumn DNA considers the specific set of needs that a person has based on their lifestyle choices and genetics. High-quality formulas have been developed by an expert medical team inside of an award-winning lab. Once your testing is complete, you’re provided with a report that has actionable insights designed to keep you healthy and maximize your overall health.

Diet: Foods That Are High in Vitamin B12

In addition to high quality supplements, you have the option of increasing your vitamin B12 intake from the foods that you include in your daily diet. Some of the foods that contain high levels of B12 include:

Animal meat options like liver contain high levels of vitamin B12. Just one serving can help you achieve more than 7,000 percent of your daily B12 requirement. Lamb is an excellent source of B12, and it also contains nutrients such as copper, selenium and vitamins A and B2. They’re also very high in antioxidants.

Beef is a great source of vitamin B12. Steak and ground beef can provide you with well over your 100 percent daily recommended value of B12. Just make sure that you’re getting your nutrients from lean cuts of beef, and always cook it at a lower heat to preserve its B12 content.

Fortified cereals, bread and dairy products may contain added vitamin B12, as well as the other B complex vitamins. If you’re opting for a fortified cereal, make sure that you’re careful with its sugar composition. A lot of cereals contain crazy amounts of sugar, making them really unhealthy. As a rule of thumb, I usually opt for a cereal that contains less than 10 grams of sugar in each serving. Also, it should be made from whole grains.

Salmon has a very high B12 content as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Just one half of a filet of salmon can provide you with your daily recommended dose of B12. It’s also an excellent source of B vitamins.

The Bottom Line

Most men are getting a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 from the balanced diet that they are eating. However, older adults and people who are following a specialty diet may have low levels that are impacting their health. If you have been diagnosed with low levels of vitamin B12 or suspect that you have a deficiency, you can quickly increase your intake by consuming B12 supplements. Just make sure that you’re opting for a high-quality option that is sold from a reputable brand. It’s even better if you can find a supplement that sources its ingredients from whole food sources. This increases bioavailability and provides you with more beneficial nutrients on a daily basis.

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Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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