Vitamin B12, popularly known as Cobalamin among the chemist fami, is a water-soluble vitamin.
It is one of the 8 B vitamins.
Like any other vitamin Cobalamin also has a variety of roles to play in the human body.
It is the biggest and most structurally complex vitamin and can be generated industrially only by bacterial fermentation synthesis.
It has a vital role to play in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and also during the formation of blood.
The RDA recommended daily requirement of this vitamin is found to be 1.2µg for children and 2.4µg for adults.
While for pregnant and lactating women 2.6µg and 2.8µg of vitamin B12 are required respectively.
Vitamin B12 is also safe to be used orally.
Vegans are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency as the vitamin is more commonly found in animal food such as beef, pork, liver, fish, liver, eggs, etc.
People who do not consume these foodstuffs can meet their vitamin requirements by oral supplements or by taking vitamin B12 injections.
In the supplement form, the entire B vitamin family should be taken as they act better when together.
Any excess is eliminated from the body through urine.
Vitamin B12 activity in the body
This vitamin promotes nerve cell activity, the replication of DNA, red and white blood cells, platelets, and also S- adenosyl-L-methionine, which is responsible for an individual’s mood.
It is also responsible for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and thus helps in making available the usable form of energy in the body.
In association with folic acid, it controls the homocysteine levels in the blood, excess of which can cause a fracture in bones and also heart attacks due to blockage in the arteries.
Homocysteine is known to be much more dangerous than cholesterol for causing heart attacks.
In addition to these high homocysteine levels in the blood, plasma is also associated with Alzheimer’s diseases, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, complications in pregnancy, and osteoporosis.
Thus, vitamin B12 plays a vital role in preventing all of the above-mentioned health conditions by regulating the levels of homocysteine.
Vitamin B12 also reduces the levels of LDL and bad cholesterol.
A deficiency of the vitamin can cause a host of problems in the body.
The first symptom is the onset of pernicious anemia, weakness, sore and inflamed tongue, poor appetite, dementia, diarrhea, mental deterioration, and fatigue. It can also cause severe damage to the brain and nervous system.
The natural process of aging causes a decrease in the ability of the stomach lining to produce hydrochloric acid, which is required to release Cobalamin from food, thus manifesting as vitamin deficiency.
Such patients are usually prescribed oral vitamin supplements or some times intravenous injections of vitamins to meet the requirement suggested by RDA.