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Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin naturally found in some foods, added to others, and used as a dietary supplement and as a prescription drug.  Since your body does not produce vitamin B12, you must get it from foods and animals or from supplements. And you should do that on a regular basis because your body does not store long-term vitamin B12. Within the foods we eat, vitamin B12 binds to the protein. Hydrochloric acid and enzymes unbind vitamin B12 to their free form in the stomach.

Vitamin B12 occurs in different ways and includes the mineral cobalt, so vitamin B12 action compounds are commonly called “cobalamins.” Methylcobalamine and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamine are the active sources of vitamin B12 in human metabolism.

 

Sources of Vitamin B12

vitamin-b12-sources-food

Naturally, vitamin B-12 is found in animal products, such as fish, milk, eggs, and dairy products. Usually, this does not exist in plant foods.

Vitamin B-12 Healthy dietary sources include:

  • Red Meat
  • Liver
  • Egg
  • A dairy product like Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
  • Fish especially haddock and tuna
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Cereals
  • Ham
  • Lamb

Maintaining a good diet and getting adequate amounts of nutrients is always easier before successful therapy is needed. With a healthy diet, the deficiency symptoms are easily avoided.

 

Benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper forming of red blood cells, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. The metabolism of each cell in the body depends on vitamin B-12 because it plays a role in the synthesis of fatty acids and the production of energy. Vitamin B-12 allows energy to be released by aiding the human body to absorb folic acid.

Vitamin B12 breaks up a protein called homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are associated with an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke because it may facilitate blood clot formation and excess free radical cells, which may affect the normal function of the blood vessel. A lack of adequate vitamin B12 will raise homocysteine levels.

High levels of homocysteine are related to an increased occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment. Similar to cardiovascular disease, though work has shown that supplementation of vitamin B12 decreases serum homocysteine levels, this has not converted into decreased cognitive loss rates.

Every minute the human body is producing millions of red blood cells. Without vitamin B-12 these cells can’t properly multiply. Red blood cell production declines if the vitamin B-12 levels are too small. Anemia may occur when the count of red blood cells decreases.

 

Daily Requirement of Vitamin B12

Recommended dietary allowance is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day for men and women aged 14 years and older. The level rises to 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg a day for pregnancy and lactation, respectively.

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0–6 months*0.4 mcg0.4 mcg
7–12 months*0.5 mcg0.5 mcg
1–3 years0.9 mcg0.9 mcg
4–8 years1.2 mcg1.2 mcg
9–13 years1.8 mcg1.8 mcg
14+ years2.4 mcg2.4 mcg2.6 mcg2.8 mcg

* Adequate Intake

The average daily dosage unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). No upper limit was set for vitamin B12, as no toxic level has been identified. However, there is some evidence that supplements of 25 mcg a day or greater may raise the risk of bone fractures.

 

Deficiency of Vitamin B12

vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms

Measuring vitamin B12 in the blood is not necessarily the safest way to decide whether anyone is deficient, because certain individuals with a deficiency may have high levels of B12 in the blood.

Deficiency in vitamin B-12 occurs because the body is not having enough vitamin B-12. It can cause irreversible and potentially serious damage, particularly to the nervous system and brain. Even marginally lower than average vitamin B-12 levels can cause signs of deficiency, such as depression, anxiety, memory loss, and fatigue. Such signs alone, however, are not precise enough to detect deficiency of vitamin B-12.

Deficiency with vitamin B-12 carries a serious risk of permanent damage to the nerves and brains. Any people with deficient vitamin B-12 have an elevated risk of developing depression, mania, and dementia.

If the signs worsen, they may trigger physiological alterations in the hands and feet, such as numbness and tingling. Some people can fail to maintain equilibrium.

If the deficiency is left untreated, infants who lack vitamin B-12 may show unusual movements, such as face tremors, as well as reflex problems, feeding difficulties, irritation, and eventual growth issues.

Here are some Symptoms :

  1. pale or yellowing skin
  2. menstrual problems
  3. a sore mouth or tongue
  4. weight loss

 

The side effects of vitamin B-12 taking are very minimal. It is not known to be particularly poisonous, and even 1000-mcg levels are not thought to be dangerous.