What Can Vitamin B12 Do for Your Eyes?

What Can Vitamin B12 Do for Your Eyes?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a diet. It could have been to lose weight, to feel younger, or to reduce blood pressure. You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and in terms of health, it couldn’t be truer. But, you probably haven’t dieted for your eyes.

In the big world of nutrition, eyesight is often left behind by more mainstream concerns, such as weight loss or maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. But that doesn’t mean your eyes don’t feel the effects of diet – just the opposite, really. Your eyes are delicate organs and require a mix of nutrients to function optimally. Vitamin B12 is among them, though researchers are still learning more about its exact role in keeping the eyes healthy.

What Can Vitamin B12 Do for Your Eyes?The Basics of B12

Chemically, vitamin B12 is a big, complex molecule. So much so, that it’s currently impossible to synthesize without the help of bacteria. As very few living organisms (only the certain bacteria as well as other single-celled life called archea) produce it naturally, humans have to get their fair share through diet.

Fortunately, B12 can be found in most animal products. Seafood, particularly shellfish, is an excellent source of B12, as are dairy products and eggs. Liver’s a little off the beaten dietary path for some, but it’s an incredible source of many vitamins, including B12.

For people who aren’t so eager to turn to the above options, getting sufficient amounts of B12 can be difficult. Vegans can take advantage of a wide range of B12 fortified products. Cereal, health bars, and yeast are all available in fortified forms. However, the actual amount of vitamin B12 in these foods varies and may not be enough for everyone. As a result, vegetarians and vegans are generally advised to take B12 supplements on top of their regular diet.

Effects of B12 on the Body

A solid B12 supply is crucial to having a well-oiled nervous system, as well as the creation of new blood cells. An untreated deficiency can wreak havoc in the body, eventually causing severe, irreversible damage.

Weakness, pale pallor, and light-headedness are all early symptoms. These can progress to bleeding and bruising issues, as well as stomach and intestinal difficulties. Without vitamin B12, the sheaths around nerves also become damage-prone; in severe cases, neurological symptoms will eventually appear, including poor memory, difficulty thinking and concentrating, and even personality changes.

Of course, as with most vitamins, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Still, it’s unlikely that you’ll consume excessive amounts of B12 and experience side effects – it’s virtually impossible to do so with dietary sources, and even most supplements aren’t going to put you in the danger zone.

People with certain disorders, including gout and megaloblastic anemia, should be extra cautious, as they may be more sensitive to supplements. In an otherwise healthy body, excess B12 supplements can cause nausea, raised blood pressure, and various skin problems. More worrisome, though less conclusive, tenuous links between certain cancers and B12 supplementation do exist.

Effects of B12 on Vision

We’re still far from understanding what parts of the visual system require B12, but recent studies have started to shed light on several uses of the vitamin.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an enormous and increasing problem for older individuals. The disease results from either a buildup of deposits at the back of the eye, or the growth of abnormal blood vessels. In both cases, sufferers lose significant portions of the central vision.

While prevention can go a long way toward stopping progression of the disease, actually diagnosing a case of AMD isn’t easy, given how subtly it advances. While there’s no cure for AMD, there does appear to be a dietary means of slowing it down. Extensive research shows that a vitamin cocktail of B6, B12, and folic acid cut the risk of female participants developing AMD by about 40 percent and made them less likely to encounter serious forms of the disease.

Optic neuropathy is among the rarer effects of B12 deficiency, but still poses a considerable threat to eyes. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying signals from the eyes to the brain; without it, even a patient with otherwise healthy eyes could lose vision. B12 deficiency can render nerves, including the optic nerve, to become brittle. It can cause damage to the optic nerve resulting in decreased central vision.

In one case, B12 supplementation not only halted the vision loss of a 63 year-old patient, but actually reversed it, returning his vision to normal levels after several months. In another study, it was found that three children with autism (who rarely ate animal products and consequentially had lowered B12 levels) had B12-related vision problems, which were again addressed successfully with supplementation.

Vitamin B12 and You

So, should you be concerned about B12 deficiency? It’s actually a tricky question to answer. Younger readers with diverse diets should be getting sufficient levels from their diet without any supplementation. However, anyone following a vegetarian or vegan diet should absolutely take care to get their recommended dosage.

People over 50 should also be on guard. The body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from animal sources declines with age. However, most fortified foods and supplements should still be effective.

If you do need to supplement, the next question is: what sort of supplement should you take? Several forms are available and you’re likely to see liquids, pills, sub-lingual supplements, sprays, and even injections. However, most people should avoid injections unless they’re at a hospital – injections are largely unnecessary, not to mention difficult to self-administer.

Most oral forms should be fine, as long as you get them from a reliable source like the Rebuild Your Vision Ocu-Plus Multivitamin. The most important thing is that you find a way to get enough vitamin B12 for the health of your eyes.

Related content:

About the Author

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Eye Health Now

Signup Now to Receive My Free Email Series on Improving and Preserving Your Eye Health Naturally.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Eye Health Now



Join or Start the Discussion

13 responses to “What Can Vitamin B12 Do for Your Eyes?”

  1. ajit says:

    Please let me know the natural cures for Floating Specks.

    Thanks.

    • Mark says:

      MSM natural sulfur ,by taking 1/4 teaspoons 3 times per day increasing up to 2 table spoons 2 times per day after 3 weeks maintain 7 days then detox has completed .go back to 1/4 TSP daily !!! Very safe and effective Cleanse .

  2. Anonymous says:

    B12 injections should definitely not be avoided if you have pernicious anemea and can not absorb b12 through the gut due to low stomach acid , . Always ask gP to check b12 levels if you suffer chronic fatigue and many other symptoms .

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sabri l vigabatrin and accord campground both damaged my optic nerve

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m only 22 and I’m having B12 related neurological problems. I’m about to start monthly shots.
    Doc said that in my case, it isn’t that I’m not getting enough of it, it’s that my body can’t absorb it

  5. Lezlie says:

    The Author is right, try to avoid injections. They contain preservatives, and you run the risk of infection whenever you pierce the skin. Instead, consider sublingual forms of B vitamins that absorb into the blood stream via the large vein under the tongue, and by-pass the gut. If you are aging and/or dealing with illness, take bio-available forms of B vitamins. For example, instead of regular B12 (cobalamin), supplement with the Co-enzymated form, Methylcobalamin. I take a sublingual Multi B Co-enzymated vitamin, plus extra B6 (as p5p) sublingual. B Vitamins work synergystically; if you are targeting one, it is important to supplement with all of them. And once again, the bio-available formulations are great, because they do not require conversion (in the liver) to be “body-ready”. They can go directly into the blood stream and get straight to work!

  6. Mark says:

    Highly Recommend Dr Group Vegan B12 ! Gets Absorbed works Best i have seen.

Leave Your Reply

["__initEmbeddedForm"
["__initEmbeddedForm"
"f8387802-d563-4fa7-be91-5f4e4a951c56"
"f8387802-d563-4fa7-be91-5f4e4a951c56"
{ "trackUrl": "https://www.mcssl.com/WebForms/beacon.ashx?wid=f8387802-d563-4fa7-be91-5f4e4a951c56" }]
{ "trackUrl": "https://www.mcssl.com/WebForms/beacon.ashx?wid=f8387802-d563-4fa7-be91-5f4e4a951c56" }]