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Home :: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Alternative name :: Cyanocobalamin and cobolamin

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin, is best known for its role in preventing anemia. The vitamin works with folic acid to help form and regulate red blood cells. It also helps the body absorb and utilize iron. Vitamin B12 is an important water-soluble vitamin. In contrast to other water-soluble vitamins it is not excreted quickly in the urine, but rather accumulates and is stored in the liver, kidney and other body tissues.

Benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed to prevent anemia. It aids folic acid in regulating the formation of red blood cells, and helps in the utilization of iron. This vitamin is also required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, the synthesis of protein, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It aids in cell formation and cellular longevity. In addition, vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage, maintains fertility, and promotes normal growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings. Vitamin B12 is linked to the production of acetylcholine, a neuro transmitter that assists memory and learning. Vitamin B12 supplementation has been shown to enhance sleep patterns, allowing for more restful and refreshing sleep.

Vitamin B12 is also linked to the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that assists memory and learning. Unlike other B vitamins, vitamin B12 takes several hours to be absorbed by the digestive tract. While excess vitamin B12 is excreted in the urine, a small "backup" supply is stored for three to five years in the liver.

Recommended Dosage of Vitamin B12

The minimum Recommended Dosage Allowance of Vitamin B12 are :-

  • Adults - 2 mcg.
  • Pregnant women - 2.2 mcg.

Special Intake of Vitamin B12

Individuals taking anticoagulant drugs, anti gout medication, or potassium supplements have increased needs for Vitamin B12 Individuals, including vegetarians, who do not eat foods that contain Vitamin B12, need vitamin B12 supplements. Because they have difficulty absorbing the vitamin, the elderly and people with AIDS also have increased needs for vitamin B12.

Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B12

A vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by malabsorption, which is most common in elderly people and in those with digestive disorders. Deficiency can cause abnormal gait, bone loss, chronic fatigue, constipation, depression, digestive disorders, dizziness, drowsiness, enlargement of the liver, eye disorders, hallucinations, headaches (including migraines), inflammation of the tongue, irritability, labored breathing, memory loss, moodiness, nervousness, neurological damage, palpitations, pernicious anemia, ringing in the ears, and spinal cord degeneration. Strict vegetarians must remember that they require vitamin B12 supplementation, as this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal tissues. Although people adopting a strictly vegetarian diet may not see any signs of the deficiency for some time-the body can store up to five years worth of vitamin B12 - signs will eventually develop.

Rich Food Sources of Vitamin B12

The largest amounts of vitamin B12 are found in brewer's yeast, clams, eggs, herring, kidney, liver, mackerel, milk and dairy products, and seafood. Vitamin B12 is not found in many vegetables; it is available only from sea vegetables, such as dulse, kelp, kombu, and nori, and soybeans and soy products. It is also present in the herbs alfalfa, bladderwrack, and hops.

Cautions

Anti-gout medications, anticoagulant drugs, and potassium supplements may block the absorption of vitamin B12 from the digestive tract. Taking vitamin B12 in sublingual tablets, which are dissolved under the tongue rather than swallowed, can be a good option for those who have difficulty absorbing this vitamin. Intrinsic factor is a protein produced in the gastrointestinal tract that is necessary for absorption of vitamin B12. People who lack intrinsic factor must use a sublingual form for absorption.



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