As the world settles into living with a global endemic, staying healthy is a huge priority. But taking care of your health, from taking supplements for an immunity boost, to maintaining a good exercise routine, can be an overwhelming task. Taking vitamin B12 to boost your general health and wellbeing is a good way to start. But what is B12 and how does it support the immune system? Read on to find out more.
The human immune system
As humans evolved, a system that effectively identifies and neutralises threats in the body has always been present (2). Today, the human body’s immune system as we know it has evolved into a complex network of cells, tissues, organs and chemicals spanning our entire body. Each part of the immune system plays a unique role in protecting the body from harmful elements such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, abnormal cells, and infections (1).
The immune system is an organised network of defenses that keeps a record of every microbe and virus it has ever defeated. If your immune system is healthy, your body will be able to recognise and destroy that microbe before it can make you sick (3). Immunity keeps us healthy and able, giving us the freedom to explore and experience the world safely (4).
Furthermore, a healthy immune system develops antibodies that give you immunity from diseases you’ve already had, or diseases you are vaccinated for (5).
Taking care of your immune system
Our immune system often works quietly and in the background--a well-oiled machine that is designed to adapt to your environment and surroundings. However, if your body is unable to fight a harmful substance it encounters, it is more likely that your immune system is not working properly. An unhealthy immune system may also mount an attack against nothing, or continue to fight a substance that is long defeated. This results in autoimmune diseases and allergies (5).
The best way to support your immune system is to make healthy lifestyle choices. There are simpler ways to keep yourself protected such as frequent handwashing, to protect yourself from harmful bacteria you come in contact with (6).
Building good everyday habits such as getting regular quality sleep and drinking plenty of water can help maintain immunity. Sleep deprivation can affect the synthesis of protective proteins in your body that can fight infection, while dehydration can slow down your body’s processes and lower your defenses (6).
And last but not the least, get your recommended amount of nutrition to maintain a functional immune system. Your immune system needs the right amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support immunity. Adding bright, green and leafy vegetables into your diet is the best way to get these much-needed nutrients (6). Malnutrition or a deficiency of the nutrients your body needs can lead to lowered immunity and diseases (7).
What is vitamin B12?
If you are looking in particular for supplements to support your immunity, vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin can be a good start. Vitamin B12 is one of the eight water soluble vitamins under the B-vitamins group, essential in red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis as well as in the functions of the body’s nervous and immune systems (8).
Vitamin B12 can mostly be found in animal products such as red meats, fish, eggs, cheese and milk (9). While there are some plant-based sources of vitamin B12 such as algae, most humans will get about 25% their vitamin B12 from animal foods (10).
Vitamin B12 to boost immunity
Benefits of vitamin B12 include regulation and maintenance of healthy immune system functions. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in cellular immunity, helping our immune system to self-regulate and stay adaptive when it comes to responding to foreign substances (11). B12 also works with folate in producing S-adenosylmethionine, a compound involved in immune functions that help maintain our body’s cell membranes (12).
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a range of symptoms that include lowered energy, fatigue, neurological problems and the like (10). Since the body does not produce vitamin B12, it purely relies on our diet to provide our body its needs (9). If you feel you are at risk of deficiency, including vitamin B12 supplements into your diet can help you meet your daily requirement of said vitamin.
Supporting your immune system with vitamin B12 supplements is possible through Vitable Australia. A busy lifestyle needs a little guidance, and a custom vitamin subscription that includes tailor-fit supplements to support your immunity can be just what the doctor ordered. Vitamin Australia offers personalised supplements with delivery right at your doorstep.
Find out more about other supplements that can support immunity:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Health Direct Content Team. “Immune system”. Health Direct: Healthdirect.Gov.Au. Published April 2021 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/immune-system. Accessed December 4, 2021.
- Nicholson, L. “The immune system”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published October 26, 2016 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5091071/. Accessed December 4, 2021.
- Better Health Channel Content Team. “Immune system explained”. Better Health Channel: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published December 17, 2017 on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system#the-immune-system-and-microbial-infection. Accessed December 4, 2021.
- Kids’ Health Content Team. “Immune System”. Kid’s Health: Kidshealth.Org. Published October 3, 2019 on https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/immune.html. Accessed December 4, 2021.
- Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “Immune System”. Cleveland Clinic: My.Clevelandclinic.Org. Published February 22, 2020 on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21196-immune-system. Accessed December 4, 2021.
- Nutrition Australia Content Team. “Supporting your immune system”. Nutrition Australia: Nutritionaustralia.Org. Published September 25, 2020 on https://nutritionaustralia.org/division/qld/supporting-your-immune-system/. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- Pronschinske, J. “Support your immune function with good nutrition”. Mayo Clinic Health System: Mayoclinichealthsystem.Org. Published on June 24, 2021 on https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/support-your-immune-function-with-good-nutrition. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- The Health and Food Supplements Information Service Content Team. “Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)”. Health and Food Supplements Information Service: Hsis.Org. Published March 20, 2017 on https://www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b12-cyanocobalamin/. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- Better Health Channel Content Team. “Vitamin B”. Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published May 14, 2020 on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- Natural Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Content Team. “Vitamin B12”. Natural Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand: Nrv.Gov.Au. Published January 31, 2018 on https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-b12. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- Tamura, J., Kubota, K., Murakami, H., Sawamura, M., Matsushima T., Tamura, T., Saitoh, T., Kurabayshi, H., & Naruse, T. “Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8+ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficient patients by methyl-B12 treatment”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published April 1999 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10209501/. Accessed December 5, 2021.
- Mount Sinai Health System Content Team. “Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)”. Mount Sinai Health System: Mountsinai.Org. Published on https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin. Accessed December 5 2021.