Herbal Supplements
Vitamin B12 General Information

  1. What it is

B12 is the last discovered and structurally most complicated vitamin from the B-complex. It has cobalt molecule at its center; that is why it is often called “cobalamin”. This is an essential water soluble bright red vitamin, 80% of which amount in the human body arestored in the liver.

Vitamin B12 is bound to protein in food, and it needs acid conditions to be released. Stomach acid is exactly what plays the key role in vitamin B12 release. Later it bounds to the intrinsic factor (secreted by the stomach lining cells) in the human body, which ensures its absorption by the body in the small intestine. Unlike other vitamins, this one is not quickly eliminated from the body; instead, it is stored by the liver for quite a long period of time. Therefore, it can take several years till its deficiency becomes vivid.

  1. What it does in the body

Cobalamin is essential for the body as it helps preserve healthy nervous system by playing an important role in the formation of the fatty layer that insulates nerves; as well as it promotes normal brain functioning aiding in the production of brain neurotransmitters.

B12 ensures the manufacture of healthy red blood cells, storage and use of folate by the body, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Moreover, vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of nucleic acid – material for DNA.

It is also said that vitamin B12 is important for normal growth and development, for healthy skin and hair, for normal sperm cells count in men, and in general, for the release of energy from the consumed food.

  1. Sources of vitamin B12

The main sources of vitamin B12 are the foods of animal origin: beef liver, kidney, and steak; chicken, calf, and lamb liver; diary products as cheeses and milk; shellfish, trout, tuna, salmon, clams, oysters, sardines; eggs and whey.

Plant foods are also suggested to have an analogue of vitamin B12; however, they are claimed to be useless in the human body, as B12 of the plant origin cannot convert into its active form and be absorbed by the body. Moreover, scientists suggest that B12 from the plants may even block the absorption of the original animal cobalamin.   

  1. What happens in case of cobalamin deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency may occur due to inadequate intake of the foods containing this element (vegans and vegetarians are at the highest risk), or due to different health disorders, which make it impossible for cobalamin to be normally absorbed by the body. Here belong diabetes type1, autoimmune and thyroid disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions, one of the most common of which is the lack of the intrinsic factor in the digestive tract.

A person having low levels of this vitamin may experience such symptoms as fatigue, dizziness, numbness in the arms and legs, ringing in the ears, pale skin, heart palpitations, headache, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, sore mouth or tongue and sleep disorders. Psychological signs include irritability, depression, confusion and decreased memory, concentration, and mental alertness. Cases of mania and psychosis were also reported.

Deficiency in this nutrient may lead to the development of such diseases as pernicious (permanent) anemia (a form of megaloblastic anemia), Alzheimer’s disease (or dementia in general), heart attack, stroke and cancer. It may be a contributing factor to the poor immune response, infertility, recurrent yeast infections and poor vision. The symptoms described above can actually be the warning signs of these disorders.

Severe vitamin B12 deficiency may cause irreversible damage to the brain and nerves, leading sometimes even to fatal consequences.

It should be noted that folic acid may reduce anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency; however, it cannot reverse or prevent the damage this condition causes to nerves. Moreover, its high doses may even trigger the damaging effect on the nerves of B12 deficiency.

Finally, recent scientific research states that far more people than it was suggested lack adequate amounts of cobalamin; besides, the representatives of all age groups turned out to be at similar risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, busting the myth that this condition targets mainly elderly people.

  1. What happens in case of vitamin B12 overdose

In addition to the fact that cobalamin is vitally important for the human body, this element is also said to be very safe: research shows that excessive intake of its supplements did not result in the adverse reactions development. Thus, a healthy person with no contraindications for the use of vitamin B12 can safely consume foods rich in it, or take vitamin complexes including this element without the risk of overdose.

About Vitamin B12

Medicinal Uses of Vitamin B12

Conditions improved by a supplement Vital importance of vitamin B12 for the human body is an undeniable ...

Your Feedback for This Article :

Send us your experience or opinion that we may publish on this site.

Your Nick :

Spam Protection: Fill-in following 4-digit code:

Your message ( HTML is not accepted ) :

About Vitamin B12

Medicinal Uses of Vitamin B12

Conditions improved by a supplement Vital importance of ...

© 2017 Chinese Herbs & Co. All rights reserved.