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"How much vitamin B12 do we need and what's the best way to get it?"

NBC News TODAY interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about vitamin B12, which may have a positive effect in some COVID-19 patients. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Vitamin B12 is considered something of a hot health supplement — especially since COVID-19. In fact, a recent study conducted in Singapore that examined how B vitamins might help alleviate symptoms of COVID-19 found that patients who were given vitamin B12 supplements (500 μg), vitamin D (1,000 IU) and magnesium experienced a reduction in the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and the need for oxygen and intensive care support

What is vitamin B12?

This essential nutrient works to preserve the health of your nerve and blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vitamin B12 also helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells, and helps to prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.

Our bodies need vitamin B12, but they don’t make it on their own, Dana Hunnes, Ph.D, a senior registered dietician at the Ronald Reagan University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center and professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told TODAY. But if you have a very varied diet, it's not necessary for most people to take a supplement, she said.