Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is one of the B group of vitamins that are deposited in the body in large quantities, mainly in the liver. The process of absorption of this vitamin in the body is quite complicated and takes place as follows: vitamin B12 is extracted from food protein using enzyme digestion in the presence of sufficient gastric acid. After that vitamin binds to a protein produced by cells lining the stomach (called intrinsic factor) and refers to the small intestine where it is absorbed.
Lack of gastric acid or internal factors can cause a deficiency of this vitamin. This occurs with age but also in patients suffering from disorders of the digestive system.
Most people through food intake enough vitamin B12, but after 50 years can occur decreased ability to absorb it from food. Taking supplements of this vitamin is useful, because a mild deficiency may increase the risk of depression, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Functions of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is very important for the production of DNA and RNA (genetic material in cells) for cell reproduction and in particular the production of red blood cells, maintains the protective sheath around nerves (myelin) and thus helps in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. In conjunction with folic acid, helps reduce high levels of blood homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Its beneficial influence on the nerves, vitamin B12 helps to prevent various neurological disorders and helps in the treatment of depression. Sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 prolong the period between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. In patients with Alzheimer ‘s disease is a common low level of this vitamin.
Recommended daily dose of vitamin B12
Recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 for adults is 1.5 mg (micrograms).
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Lack of this vitamin can be seen through the fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, numbness in the extremities due to nerve damage, memory loss. It is possible to develop dementia and pernicious anemia, but both can be cured if detected early.
The level of vitamin B12 in the blood decreases with age, and older people may have a need to take supplements of vitamins, as well as people who do not eat foods of animal origin – meat and dairy products (vegans). Decreased levels of vitamin B12 is possible for people with ulcers, Crohn’s disease, other disorders of the digestive system or the chronically poor digestion, in people who have gout and those who take medicine for epilepsy (seizures). People who consume too much alcohol have an unfavorable absorption of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Overdose
Taking excessive amounts of vitamin B12 so far didn’t give known side effects because of excess vitamin immediately is ejected through the urine.
Sources of Vitamin B12
The main sources of vitamin B12 are foods of animal origin: meat, eggs, cheese, organ meats, brewer’s yeast, fish, oysters. Cereals also contain this vitamin.
Use of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is taken once a day, preferably in the morning, along with 400 mg of folic acid. Multivitamins generally contain the minimum recommended amount of vitamin B12 and folic acid, while larger amounts of supplements containing the B complex. If you have a need for large quantities, just take a supplement of vitamin B12 or B12 with folic acid.
If you use vitamin B12 supplements, along with them you must take supplements of folic acid. High amounts of one supplement can conceal the lack of a second.