B12 supplements are among the most widely used supplements in the world, even if people don’t realise they’re using them. B12 is in every top energy supplement, most good nootropics, and every single multivitamin on sale today. B12 is even added to most cereals and breads nowadays!
On top of that, many people take standalone vitamin B12 supplements to support energy levels, or to guarantee they’re getting enough while they follow a vegan diet.
But how soon does vitamin B12 start working?
How quickly should you start seeing the benefits of a vitamin B12 supplement?
Let’s look at what B12 actually does and try to answer this question in a little detail.
What B12 does
B12 is an essential nutrient. This means you need to consume it to live; your body can’t make its own and its needed to carry out basic bodily functions.
However, there’s no need to start panicking about B12 on a daily basis. As with all vital nutrients, your body is very effective at storing B12. It would take many months for you to even make a dent in your B12 stores, and more than a year for you to really feel the effects of a full-blown B12 deficiency.
But that doesn’t mean supplementation is pointless.
B12 has many important roles in the body, from forming DNA and protecting nerve cells to helping red blood cells to multiply. In fact, without B12, your body cannot produce red blood cells; this is why B12 deficiency is commonly associated with the same symptoms as anemia. In a sense, low B12 causes anemia!
While it takes months for your B12 levels to reach dangerous levels, having suboptimal levels in the short-term can seriously impair performance.
Being low in B12 can impair cognitive and athletic performance, as well as hindering proper nerve cell formation and maintenance.
That’s why B12 supplements can have such a massive impact on your health and performance, and why it is so important for some people to use B12 supplements.
How long does vitamin B12 take to work?
How soon vitamin B12 starts working depends on many things: the supplement you’re using, your ability to absorb the nutrient, and whether or not you have a serious deficiency.
But generally speaking, for people without a serious deficiency who are using a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement, you can expect to feel the benefits within 1-2 weeks. Initial benefits will likely include greater energy levels and increased mental stamina.
Vitamin B12 supplements will have a more noticeable and immediate impact in people with chronically low B12 levels, as well as in people with chronic fatigue.