Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin and is a water soluble vitamin. It plays a key role in carrying out the routine functioning of your brain and its nervous system. It also plays a pivotal role in the formation of blood. It significantly affects DNA regulation and synthesis, and helps in energy production as it works in the metabolism of every cell of your body.
Vitamin B12 easily dissolves in water and once your body absorbs this water-soluble vitamin, the remains of leftover leave the body via urine. The body typically stores this vitamin in the liver for years.
How Vitamin B12 helps your body:
– It helps in the formation of red cells in blood,
– It maintains central nervous system.
– It maintains and increases metabolism of your body.
How and Where to Get Vitamin B12:
Animal products contain good amount of Vitamin B12 and so eating animal products can fulfill your requirement of this vitamin easily. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in meat and eggs, milk and milk products, poultry and fortified foods like soymilk, shellfish and organ meats such as kidney and liver, etc. The body has the tendency to absorb vitamin B12 from animal sources better than non-animal sources like plant sources. Normally, non-animal sources are not considered as reliable sources of this vitamin.
However, if you do not take animal products, you can make use of multivitamins and injections of vitamin B12. It is industrially produced by bacterial fermentation and so it is considered as most complicated vitamin structurally.
The amount of each vitamin that body needs, depends on the gender and age. Illness and pregnancy are other few factors that needs to be considered while calculating the requirement of vitamins for each person. Nursing mother and pregnant women need higher quantity. It is always advisable to consult the health care provider for the quantity that best suits you.
Effects of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:
B12 deficiency usually occurs when the body is not capable to absorb enough vitamin from the food or body does not get sufficient animal products. Body starts loosing the capacity to absorb this vitamin after the age of 50. People with digestive disorders or those who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery, lose ability to properly absorb this vitamin.
People following vegan diet and avoiding dairy products and eggs, need supplements of b12. Vitamin B12 is recommended not only to treat B12 deficiency but also to treat hereditary deficiency and for cyanide poisoning.
The balance intake of vitamin B12 is recommended for infants as 0.40 mcg per day below 6-months and 0.50 mcg /day for 7 to 12 months. For children between 1 to 3 years – 0.90, between 4 to 8 years – 1.2 and for 9 to 13 years 1.80 mcg/day are the recommended amount. Any one above age of 1 year, should have in take of 2.40 mcg daily.
A low level of this vitamin tends to cause weakness, pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia, tingling, loss of balance, numbness in the legs and arms, etc. Its deficiency sometime causes irreversible and sever damage to the brain and its nervous system and even slightly lower than standard level can lead to depression, fatigue and memory loss.