Does Vitamin B12 Really Give You Energy?

Vitamin B12 is essential in order for the body to function properly, but perhaps its most important role is aiding in the proper production of red blood cells (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). The primary function of red blood cells is to supply our body's organs with adequate oxygen. People who suffer from a B12 deficiency can develop megaloblastic anemia, a type of anemia associated with abnormally large red blood cells. These misshapen and enlarged red blood cells lead to the decreased production of red blood cells, ultimately depriving the body of necessary oxygen. Without enough oxygen reaching our vital organs and tissues, we can become very sick.

In addition to the development of anemia, other symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, an inflamed tongue, and more (via Harvard Health Publishing). Vitamin B12 deficiency can be detected by a simple laboratory blood test ordered by your regular healthcare provider.

Unless you're deficient, B12 supplementation won't boost your energy levels

If you're found to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, adequate supplementation to boost your levels is critical. Typically, treatment of this deficiency is either through regular and frequent B12 injections or high-dose B12 supplements. Right now, the scientific data shows vitamin B12 supplementation can boost energy levels, but only in individuals who are severely deficient (via Healthline). 

That means for the majority of people, who have normal B12 levels, taking a supplement will not increase their energy levels. For those who do, however, have a deficiency, they may notice their fatigue subsiding and their energy levels increasing within a matter of mere weeks, as their body finally is able to get the adequate oxygen levels to organs and tissues.

Vitamin B12 levels can also be boosted by increasing your dietary intake of foods rich in the vitamin such as oranges, spinach, beans, peanuts, and so many more. So before you run out to the pharmacy to stock up on B12 supplements in hopes of boosting your energy levels, it's best to start out with a visit to your healthcare provider. Unnecessarily taking vitamins is not without risk either.