17 August, 2011
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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin B12
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12
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Does Taking B-12 Vitamins Help Raise Your Blood Pressure?
While vitamin B-12 has a variety of functions in your body, one of its most important jobs is helping to produce red blood cells. If you have a B-12 deficiency, your body cannot produce red blood cells correctly, which can lead to low blood pressure. A B-12 supplement may help raise lower blood pressure that registers at that level due to a B-12 deficiency. However, you should always follow your doctor's advice regarding proper blood pressure disorder treatment.
Proper neurological signaling, the production of energy and the formation of red blood cells are just a few of the bodily functions vitamin B-12 plays a part in. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin B-12 is mainly present in two forms in your body: methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosyl cobalamin. The latter is necessary for your body to metabolize energy from food; however, it is also important for the production of hemoglobin, the compound in your red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Since B-12 is heavily involved in your body’s production of hemoglobin and red blood cells, a B-12 deficiency can contribute to a condition called anemia. According to WomensHealth.gov, this condition occurs when you do not have enough red blood cells or your red blood cells do not have enough hemoglobin. This means that your blood cannot carry enough oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body, leading to symptoms like fatigue and dizziness. However, a more dangerous complication from anemia is low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can be dangerous, but it is thankfully easy to treat. When your heart does not have enough blood to pump through your arteries, your blood pressure can drop significantly. Symptoms of low blood pressure can include dizziness, fainting, nausea, pale skin, fatigue and rapid breathing. A severe drop in pressure can even cause oxygen deprivation, as your heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood throughout your body, leading to heart and brain damage. However, treating low blood pressure due to a B-12 deficiency can be as simple as taking a supplement.
Your body can usually get enough B-12 from your diet, and regulate the amounts it needs. Despite this, sometimes individuals have trouble absorbing the vitamin due to various illnesses or other conditions. This occurs particularly among older people, who have decreased absorption abilities due to their ages. For this reason, older people should get their daily B-12 through a supplement, which will help prevent low blood pressure. However, if you believe that your low blood pressure is caused by a B-12 deficiency, talk to your doctor before treating it yourself with a B-12 supplement.
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