Does B12 help you sleep?
After battling with a severe illness where sleep became rare rather than something I could easily do before, I now know my answer.
What B12 does is cause the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, which helps to reset our circadian clock (sleep-wake cycle). B12 provokes the pineal gland into releasing melatonin faster than it usually would. Not only that, but it also causes the melatonin to decrease as you start to wake in the morning. Thus putting our sleep-wake cycle into motion.
It has been noted that the levels of B12 decrease every year with age or illness.
As a person who is doing maintenance chemotherapy – sleep issues are something I deal with all the time. Throw into that lack of focus, forgetfulness as well as difficulty retaining new information.
Illness sure does build up anxiety before bedtime, especially when going over my day to look for the positives.
Initially, when I started to forget little things, I was petrified as it was something which was new to me.
This was my first time dealing with cancer. It was a time of turmoil as I was/am a parent of 4 kids. Being forgetful was not precisely a life I pictured in my late 30s.
Heck, before starting chemo, I could fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. But now I was lying awake for hours wondering what was going to happen to my kids if something happened to me.
I prided myself on how good my memory was. But when chemotherapy came along, it just threw me for a loop.
With a nervous feeling, I approached my Doctor to see what I could do about this getting some good sleep to improve the other parts of my life. She suggested taking B12 to clear the constant brain fog.
I started my research, the more I learned, the happier I became.
Overcoming cognitive and mental function was imperative to me to get the sleep I deserved to heal from what chemo was doing to my body
That’s exactly what B12 helps with!
What got my attention about vitamin B12 was its relation to deficiency and dementia as well as psychiatric disorders. Since chemotherapy made my immune system nonexistent, I learned to make a good recovery was to take B12.
I started taking the supplement Jarrow’s Methyl B12. It takes at B12 at least 2 to 4 weeks to get into the system to start working, but this chewable tablet was noticeable within three days. I was amazed at how my thinking got sharper; attention was more focused. I noticed my mood was more balanced as well sleep wasn’t skipping over me anymore.
It’s pretty amazing to know that vitamin B12 deficiency can have fairly serious consequences, yet up to 40% of American adults are believed to have below-normal levels of vitamin B12.
Sleep isn’t only benefited from taking B12, you can also benefit in other areas of your life as well.
Weakness occurs because our body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. With the lack of red blood cells transporting oxygen becomes much harder to do.
And when transport takes place in our body, it requires energy. For energy, our heart has to work harder. This is where the weakness comes from.
I noticed with myself even though I was sleeping so much, yet I was still waking up tired. But now that I’ve started B12, my life has changed so much. I get up full of energy, ready to start my day.
Not only do I focus on working on my blog posts, but I also make time to go to the gym for at least 45 minutes a day. As I’ve learned, exercise helps to make chemotherapy work better.
Our red blood cells are specially stated to carry oxygen to our organs throughout our body. Without vitamin B12, they don’t form properly making their job that much more difficult.
Anemia runs in my family from my dad’s side. So getting cancer on top of being anemic was like getting hit with a double whammy.
Tell you the truth before getting cancer I was a very unconvinced person of taking supplements of any kind. I didn’t believe in all the mumbo-jumbo of taking this vitamin and that vitamin.
But after my diagnosis, I started wanting to be as healthy as possible to live as long as possible. I knew anemia was something I was going to have to deal with.
As I was researching vitamin B12, I was learning more and more positive things about it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it could also help my anemic body.
Who is at risk for B12 deficiency anemia?
- Those who come from a family with a history of the disease
- Having a part or all of your stomach or intestine nine removed
- Autoimmune disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Some medicines will lower your B12
- Strict vegetarian diets
- Being an older adult
- Being on chemotherapy
Symptoms of anemia are:
- Lack of sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Paler yellow skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Weight loss
- Numbness certainly in your hands and feet
- Muscle weakness
- Personality changes
- Unsteady movements
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is diagnosed through a routine blood test. Obviously, my blood test showed I was low in red blood cells.
With having this condition, your body will not make enough healthy red blood cells. The red blood cells are very vital to us living a good long healthy life. As stated above the red blood cells are what carries oxygen to every tissue as well as organs in our body.
Without oxygen, our body can’t work as well as it should. Which then leads to a low quality of life where we can find ourselves sinking into depression, which is actually what I’m going to talk about next.
Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in producing brain chemicals which affect the mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B12 are linked to depression.
What vitamin B12 does for our body is pretty amazing when it comes to linking to our chemical, hormonal imbalance.
Vitamin B12 assists in healthy nerve growth and development. Without healthy nerve growth and development, our nerves start sending out messages which can create for some confusion in our mind plus leading to a spiral downward.
It helps to improve the communication between nerve cells, which leads to better overall thinking as well as enhancing communication throughout our body. This causes our body to work as one rather than as individual parts.
As you know, adrenaline is vital to our well being. It is a hormone which is released when we are in a situation where a decision has to be made one way or another. Our heightened aware sense goes up, which helps to make a proper decision.
But without vitamin B12, this hormone isn’t released as efficiently as it should. This could lead us into a place of not having proper awareness to make the right decision.
Especially when depression clouds our judgment is when our inner critic comes out to play hard and heavy especially at bedtime.
By providing us with this emotional/mental energy, we are lifted out of depression very quickly. This happens because the adrenaline forces us to make a decision based on our raised awareness.
Lack of awareness/concentration is a precursor to depression. Once our mental focus becomes corrupted with incohesive thoughts, depression is not far behind. Vitamin B12 bolsters memory functions which help with concentration as well as a calming effect to balance our moods.
Now that we’ve learned the benefits of vitamin B12 let me explain how this nutrient works within our system.
Covering of Nerve Cells
This nutrient helps to build myelin sheaths. This is a process called myelination. Every cell in our nervous system is wrapped in an insulating coating called myelin sheath. This is a protective layer which is made up of protein and fat a substrate. This protective layer helps electric signals to transmit quickly as well efficiently between nerve cells.
Vitamin B12 works by producing the myelin sheath, which goes into shielding our nerve cells from becoming slow or sporadic. When the shielding is low on our nerve cells, it can lead to a host of neurological symptoms from trouble walking to changes in cognitive function mood.
Without the myelin sheath, our neurotransmitters get all messed. Neurotransmitters are chemicals which are responsible for signal transmission as well as cell communication in our brain. Serotonin, a crucial mood-regulating neurotransmitter, plays a very vital role in our mental health.
There are specific nutritional factors which can impact our brain’s production of serotonin; one of those is a lack of vitamin B12.
An imbalance of serotonin levels contributes to the formation of mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorders.
By taking vitamin B12, you will not only balance your serotonin levels, but you will also reduce anxiety as well as elevate your mood.
This nutrient can be found in food as well as supplements. I find personally for myself getting food to meet an adequate amount of B12 is just too much work for me. On top of maintaining chemotherapy as well as keeping up energy, getting the proper food to get an adequate amount of vitamin B12 is not a viable option for me at this time.
Below you will find a list of the most common foods that you can get vitamin B12 from:
- Animal liver and kidneys (3 to 5 ounces)
- Clams (20 small clams)
- Sardines (1 cup)
- Beef (one grilled flat iron steak)
- Fortified cereal (three-quarter cup)
- Tuna (3 to 5 ounces)
- Fortified nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons)
- Trout (3.5 ounces)
- Salmon (178 grams)
Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria or in the bodies of individual animals. There are very few if any plant-derived foods that contain a sustainable amount of B12. Most vegetarians and vegans have to seek out different sources of B12.
Below is a list of where vegetarians/vegans find a source of B12:
- dairy products
- shiitake mushroom
The micrograms of B12 in vegetarian food is very low. So you would be required to eat more than usual to get the necessary amount of vitamin B12 MCG.
A typical dose of B12 is 1 to 25 MCG per day.
- Young children 12 and under require 1.8 MCG
- Older kids and adults need 2.4 MCG
- Pregnant women need 2.8 MCG
For older adults, supplementation of 25-100 MCG per day has been used to maintain B12 levels. I’m not at the older level stage just yet, but due to my compromised immune system, I intake 25 MCG supplement per day.
As I stated before I have way too much on my plate to derive vitamin B12 from food, my go-to for this nutrient are supplements. The one I found which works best for me is Jarrow’s Methyl B12.
Why do I like this one the most:
- Promotes levels of restful sleep
- It melts in your mouth. No need to have a drink or juice handy
- Supports my brain cells
- Has over 2000 positive reviews
- Unlike swallowing with water this one works really fast, you’ll start noticing the difference within a couple of days
- Contains no wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish/shellfish, or peanuts/tree nuts which means it is suitable for vegetarians/vegans
- Much easier for the body to absorb
- Great flavor
- So worth it in the long run
Hopefully, I’ve provided enough of an answer to how does b12 help you sleep.
Share below how you would deal with b12 deficiencies which affect sleep?