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What is Vitamin B12 and why is it so important?

Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins that have a vital role in keeping our bodies in tip-top condition.

B12 is arguably the most important; from fighting fatigue and keeping our bodies’ nerve and blood cells healthy to producing DNA. Here we uncover the benefits of this important vitamin.

Where can I find B12?

Your body doesn’t make Vitamin B12, so it’s important to get it from a balanced diet. Beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese and fish are all good sources of B12.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, it may be that you aren’t able to get enough B12 as you are excluding those food groups. B12 can be found in some breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts.


What does B12 help with?


B12 contributes to the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen all around our bodies. Oxygen travels from your lungs into the blood and flows to all your vital organs: brain, lungs and muscles. If these organs do not receive enough oxygen, they’ll slow down and you’ll experience fatigue and tiredness.


B12 is thought to aid with the digestion and absorption of macronutrients.
Fats, proteins and carbohydrates are all metabolised by B12 into energy. Without the right amount of B12 in your diet, vital nutrients will not pass through your body and not absorb into the blood – causing deficiencies.



B12 contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, so may aid with the reduction in the effects of stress and anxiety on the body. B12 is needed for the proper development and functioning of the brain which may also aid with ailments such as stress and anxiety.

What happens if I don’t get enough B12?

The NHS recommends adults to have at least 1.5mcg of B12 a day. This is easily achieved through your diet as the body can’t product B12 itself. If you aren’t able to reach these levels, you are at risk of a deficiency.

A deficiency in B12 can lead to a condition called Anaemia. This is where you have fewer red blood cells than normal and you may experience these symptoms;

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Feeling faint
  • A pale yellow tinge to your skin
  • Sore red tongue

If you do experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your doctor for a blood test.


Why your body – and beauty – needs vitamin E

Vitamin E has a number of roles in the body, from building healthy hair, skin and eyes, to supporting your immune system. So, what can it do for you?

What is vitamin E?

Vitamin E isn’t just one vitamin; it’s actually a group of fat-soluble compounds. There are eight different types of vitamin E, with alpha-tocopherol the most common form found throughout the body.

You can find vitamin E in foods such as nuts and seeds, avocados, wholegrains, and vegetable oils.1 We store vitamin E in our bodies’ fatty tissues, so we don’t need to eat it every day.2

Why is vitamin E good for us?

Vitamin E has a range of functions, including bolstering our body’s defences and maintaining healthy skin and eyes.

A review by Indian researchers in 2014 found that taking 200mg of vitamin E every day could improve the immune system in healthy volunteers, while elderly people experienced increased resistance to viruses and a reduced number of infections over three years.3

Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cell membranes against free-radical damage.4 Oxidative stress has been linked to a number of conditions such as arthritis, ageing and heart disease, so vitamin E could even help prevent or delay these diseases.


It eases period pains

When you’re clutching a hot-water bottle to your stomach, it can feel like nothing relieves the misery of menstrual cramps. But a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2004 revealed that girls taking vitamin E supplements experienced less period pain and blood loss.5

Nearly 300 girls aged between 15 and 17 were given either 200mg of vitamin E or a placebo twice a day over four months. Those in the vitamin E group said both their menstrual pain, and the number of days they were in pain, reduced.

The study authors concluded that vitamin E inhibits the action of certain compounds in the body that can trigger menstrual pain.

It wards off Alzheimer’s Disease

Vitamin E could also help your brain stay sharp as you age. In 1997, the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study found the vitamin can block the production of hydrogen peroxide, which – along with other mechanisms – can result in Alzheimer’s.6

The same research found vitamin E could also slow progression in those with moderately severe forms of the disease.

Vitamin E and your beauty regime

There is a whole host of potential benefits to including vitamin E in your beauty routine. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2004 revealed that topical application of a gel containing vitamin E, among other vitamins, is ‘effective’ at reducing dark under-eye circles and wrinkles.7

What’s more, vitamin E can help keep your locks looking lustrous. A 32-week trial by Malaysian scientists in 2010 found that a vitamin E supplement increased the amount of hair in volunteers suffering from hair loss, compared with those taking a placebo.8

The team say the reason vitamin E could stimulate hair growth is most likely down to its antioxidant properties, reducing oxidative stress in the scalp which has been linked to alopecia.

And finally, vitamin E is also good for your nails. According to a 2016 review published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, there is some evidence that vitamin E can tackle poor nails too,9 helping them grow stronger and straighter.

So why not add vitamin E to your beauty regime before splashing out on expensive salon treatments?

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.



1. University of Maryland Medical Centre. Vitamin E. Available from:
2. Rizvi, S, et al. The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases. Available from:
3. As above
4. As above
5. Ziaei S, Zakeri M, Kazemnijad A. A randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. Available from:
6. Sano M, et al. A controlled trial of selegiline, alpha-tocopherol, or both as treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Available from:
7. Mitsuishi T, et al. The effects of topical application of phytonadione, retinol and vitamins C and E on infraorbital dark circles and wrinkles of the lower eyelids. Available from:
8. Beoy LA, et al. Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers. Available from:
9. Keen, MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in Dermatology. Available from:



How To Get Thick And Luscious Hair


Ever feel like your hair is brittle, snapping or just a little bit tired? We put our locks through so much. From straightening, pollution, styling and brushing, it is no wonder that sometimes our hair starts to feel limp and lifeless.

Thick And Luscious Hair

I have been lucky in the gene pool where I have a lot of hair. That is not to say it is thick. However, recently my hair has done a 360 and I am now seeing it grow faster, longer and THICKER!

I am not one for keeping secrets… so lean in and I’ll tell you what I have been doing.

Tom Oliver Nutrition

I have started taking supplements.

Alongside looking after your locks from the outside you also need to look after them from the inside.

My trusted hairdresser Ricky Walters, from Salon 64 London, introduced me a month ago to a supplement which has started to transformed my hair.

Tom Oliver Nutrition

Omega 3 Herring Caviar by Tom Oliver Nutrition

Omega 3 Herring Caviar, ethically produced from herring caviar, is rich in vitamin A, an essential ingredient for improving the elasticity and quality of healthy hair follicles. A recent study showed that Omega 3 Herring Caviar is 3 x better absorbed than normal fish oil, making it the ideal supplement choice to encourage a rapid improvement in hair strength and thickness.

When I started using it, I knew it would take a while to work as supplementation is not an instant fix. However, I started to notice my nails becoming stronger and my hair became shinier. This was after 4 weeks.

How To Get Thick And Luscious Hair

Six weeks later, I have started to get comments from my friends that my hair has grown longer.

I only recommend products when I notice a difference and these supplements are on my list.

One of the best things I can also say about them, unlike other Omega 3s, they do not leave you with that repeating flavour that other fish oils can give.

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