b12, or cobalamin, is one of the eight types of B vitamins. This vitamin is necessary to ensure the proper functioning and health of nerve tissue, brain function and red blood cells.
What is cobalamin ?
Like all B vitamins, it is water-soluble. This means that this vitamin can be dissolved in water and transported through the bloodstream.
The human body does not store cobalamin. Any excess of this vitamin will be excreted in the urine. Vitamin B12 is structurally the most complex of the vitamins. It is also the most abundant vitamin available.
Vitamin B12 applications
This vitamin plays a very important role in the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system, and red blood cell production. It also helps in the manufacture and modification of DNA.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the metabolism of every cell in the body and plays an important role in fatty acid synthesis and energy production. This vitamin facilitates the release of energy by helping the human body to absorb folic acid.
The human body produces millions of red blood cells every minute, but without the presence of vitamin B12, the cells cannot reproduce properly. Red blood cell production decreases when vitamin B12 levels are low resulting in anemia.
The most common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. People with anemia may have the following conditions:
- Mouth or tongue sores
- Weight loss
- Pale or yellow skin
- Problems related to the menstrual cycle
Dietary sources of vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 can be found naturally in animal products such as fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products. This substance is not usually found in plant matter. Food sources rich in vitamin B12 include:
- Beef, chicken and lamb
- Fish, especially tuna and haddock
- Milk, cheese and yogurt
- Some yeast products
Vegetarians do not usually consume animal products but can take supplements. This issue is very important for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Some types of soy milk and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe and irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system.
Deficiency of this vitamin can also lead to anemia. Even at levels very low from the normal range, people may experience depression, confusion, memory problems, and fatigue. However, the presence of such symptoms is not sufficient to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency.
Constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss may also be due to a deficiency of this vitamin. Most of the acute symptoms include nerve changes such as numbness and burning in the hands and feet. Some people may have a hard time maintaining their balance.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system. Some people who do not have enough vitamin B12 are more likely to have psychosis, mania, and dementia.
Babies who are deficient in vitamin B12 may experience abnormal movements such as facial tremors, reflexology problems, feeding problems, irritability and potential growth problems if left untreated.
Who is most at risk?
Vegetarians do not usually use animal sources. These people are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency than others. This problem is more severe during pregnancy and lactation.
Vegetarian food does not contain enough cobalamin. People with pernicious anemia may also have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease that affects the blood.
People with this disorder do not have enough internal factors. Another group at this risk are people with small intestine problems. For example, those who have shortened their small intestine. They may not be able to absorb cobalamin properly.
People with Crohn’s disease may also be at risk, but researchers believe there isn’t much evidence to support this.
Gastritis, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease may lead to decreased absorption of nutrients. People with chronic alcoholism may have a deficiency in vitamin B12 because they are unable to absorb nutrients.
Diabetics who take metformin are advised to control their vitamin B12 levels. Because metformin may reduce vitamin B12 absorption.
Treatment includes vitamin B12 injections. Patients who have difficulty absorbing nutrients should be injected with vitamin B12. They are unable to absorb the oral vitamin.
How common is vitamin B12 deficiency?
Most children and adults who live in North America and Europe get enough B12, but the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in the United States ranges from 1.5 to 15% of the population. This is because some people, such as the elderly, people with pernicious anemia, and those with bowel disorders, may have difficulty absorbing vitamins from food, and even taking nutritional supplements may not help. .
Requirements and necessities:
In the United States, teens and adults over the age of 14 should take 2.4 micrograms of the vitamin per day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Pregnant women need 2.6 micrograms and breastfeeding women, 2.8 micrograms of this vitamin.
Too much vitamin B12 does not cause toxicity, but a doctor should be consulted before taking any supplement. Some medications may interact with this vitamin. These drugs include metformin, which is a proton pump inhibitor, and an H2 receptor agonist.
There is also evidence that the bacteriostatic antibiotic Chloramphenicol or Chloromycetin may be involved in the production of certain red blood cells in some patients taking vitamin B12 supplements .