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Vitamin B12—Cobalamin

Vitamin B12, a member of the vitamin B complex, is also known as cobalamin and contains the element cobalt. Although vitamin B12 is water-soluble, it is not excreted by the body as quickly as other water-soluble vitamins. It rather accumulates and is stored in liver, kidney and other body tissues. It is an important vitamin for the normal synthesis of red blood cells and functioning of the brain and nervous system. It also plays an important role in the synthesis of DNA.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause extreme damage to the nervous system, including the brain. Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in vegans who do not get adequate amounts, as the major dietary vitamin B12 sources are animal food products such as meats, eggs and dairy foods.

Pernicious anemia is the most common disease associated with the Vitamin B12 deficiency. It is characterized by large, incompletely formed red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency may also cause fatigue, constipation, weakness, weight loss, depression, dementia, poor memory, and numbness and tingling in the feet and hands.

Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk products.

Health benefits of vitamin B12

  • Assists in converting carbohydrates, protein and fat to energy
  • Essential for normal development of blood cells
  • Important for normal functioning of brain and nervous system
  • Necessary for the synthesis of DNA

Recommendations

RDI/AI – 2.4 mcg per day
UL – ND

 

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Principal Author: M. Ofiyeva
Date of Initial Publication: 07/05/2007
Article Last Updated: 03/10/2011