Men and women alike need to receive a variety of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Vitamin B-12 is an important B vitamin used for numerous physiological processes. Men should carefully keep track of their daily vitamin B-12 intake to ensure they do not become deficient in this valuable nutrient. However, before taking any supplements, consult your doctor.
Your body uses vitamin B-12 for several processes that are vital to life. Men need vitamin B-12 to produce myelin, a molecule that insulates your nerve fibers to increase the speed of neuron firing. The vitamin also promotes normal DNA creation and helps your body make new red blood cells. The presence of vitamin B-12 is also required for a number of chemical reactions involved in hormone, protein and lipid creation.
The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplement recommends that boys from age 9 to 13 receive 1.8 mcg of vitamin B-12 per day. Men over the age of 14 need 2.4 mcg.
The primary dietary sources of vitamin B-12 are animal products, so vegetarian or vegan men should take a B vitamin supplement to receive the benefits of vitamin B-12. Good sources of vitamin B-12 include ham, herring, cooked oysters, salmon, tuna, clams and liver. If you do not get enough vitamin B-12 through your diet, look for an oral supplement that contains the recommended daily intake of the vitamin.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency causes a variety of health problems. Because vitamin B-12 is needed for normal nerve functioning, deficiency may cause confusion, fatigue, balance problems, memory loss, poor reflexes, numbness, tingling and poor pain perception. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may also cause pernicious anemia, a problem with red blood cell production that causes a severe lack of energy. Another problem for men with vitamin B-12 deficiency is that their blood levels of homocysteine rise. Homocysteine causes blood cells to stick to the walls of your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack.