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Vitamin B12: Health Benefits, Uses, Interaction and Warning

Vitamin B12: Are you often tired? Do you have a flat mood? You could be suffering from vitamin B deficiency. Discover its benefits and how to get enough.

Vitamin B12: Description

Vitamin B complex, or cobalamin, is in the form of a red crystalline compound earning him the nickname “red vitamin.” Cobalamin refers to its cobalt content, unique among vitamins. Cobalamin is essential to the growth, cell division, the proper functioning of all body cells, and balance the nervous system. It is explicitly involved in the synthesis of DNA and RNA, proteins, myelin (a substance that forms a sheath around certain nerve fibers) in the formation of red blood cells, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of B12 used in most supplements.


Vitamin B12 deficiency

The stores of vitamin B12 in the body are important. Symptoms attributable to deficiency may, therefore, take months or even years to appear and are difficult to diagnose. B12 deficiency is often associated with a problem of absorption. B12, present in the food, is bound to proteins; they are separated under the action of stomach acid and enzymes. Once detached from the protein, it must bind to intrinsic factor, a substance secreted by the stomach lining, to pass into the blood. The absorption of vitamin B12 decreased if one of the two stages slowed or prevented. People with pernicious anemia (or pernicious anemia) do not secrete the necessary intrinsic factor in the absorption of vitamin B.


Vitamin B12: More Follows

It is estimated that 10% to 30% of seniors have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 because of low gastric acidity. US authorities recommend that people over 50 get their vitamin B in supplements or fortified foods in B12 because, in this form, it is easily absorbed, even in low gastric acidity. Vegans, who consume no animal products, are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. There is controversy about it, because the human body has significant reserves of B12 and that intestinal bacteria can synthesize small amounts. However, most sources agree that a diet completely devoid of B12 will eventually, after a few years, by depleting these reserves. Vegan women, pregnant or nursing, should ensure enough vitamin B in their diet (Red Star yeast and fortified soy beverages, for example) so that their child does not exhaust their low reserves.

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Vitamin B12 role in the body

  • Vitamin B12 is essential for cell replication, including that of the red blood cells.
  • It preserves the protective myelin covering of the nerves and involved among others in the production of substances that affect mood and psyche.
  • In combination with folic acid and vitamin B6, vitamin B helps the body to reduce the risk of suffering cardiovascular disease.
  • It also has beneficial effects on nerves and would be likely to prevent various neurological disorders and numbness and tingling of the extremities often associated with diabetes.
  • Vitamin B may also play a positive role in the treatment of some types of depression.

Vitamin B12: Take it with folic acid

  • It is available in the form of ampoules, tablets, capsules, and lozenges.
  • Taking a supplement accompanied by that of a folic acid supplement: high intake of any of these vitamins can mask a deficiency of another.
  • A doctor should make the diagnosis of pernicious anemia, and regular blood tests are needed. If you are taking medication, consult your doctor before taking supplements.
  • Vitamin B or cobalamin is the only vitamin B stored in the body in large quantities, mainly in the liver.
  • Low stomach acid levels or insufficient production of intrinsic factor – often related to age – can result in vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • A deficiency can take years to break out because the body has significant reserves.


Vitamin B12: against heart disease and depression

  • In most cases, the power source provides sufficient vitamin B12, but it becomes more difficult to assimilate after fifty.
  • Prevent a particular form of anemia called pernicious.
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Relieve nerve pain and numbness and tingling of the extremities.

Fight depression

B12 deficiency causes fatigue, depression, numbness, and tingling of the extremities due to nerve disorders, muscle fatigue, confusion, and memory loss. Hence, it is important to use supplements if your diet may not provide you with enough vitamin B12.

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Vitamin B12: Against neurological and immunity

There are often low vitamin B12 levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no indication of whether this deficiency contributes to the disease or results. Research shows that adequate intake of B12 enhances the immune responses of older people and could mitigate the loss of hearing and tinnitus. Anyway, it is a nutritional element needed for a healthy immune system. Some studies suggest that vitamin B may delay the time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS, but this remains to be verified.

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The recommended dose

The recommended daily intake is 2.4 micrograms.

To prevent anemia related to a strict vegetarian diet, 5-10 mcg daily. For older people, a supplement of 10 to 25 micrograms per day would be beneficial.

Usage tips

Take once a day, preferably in the morning or during a meal. High doses may color urine red, so do not worry.

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Vitamin B12: Deficiency and food

  • If deficit contribution: This condition can develop into dementia or pernicious anemia, both reversible provided they are treated early. Insufficient production of intrinsic factor requires therapeutic doses much higher (of the order of 1000 mg per day). Taking vitamin B12 injections as prescribed by the doctor is often necessary.
  • If excess contribution: The excess is excreted in the urine.

Food sources

Animal foods are the main source of vitamin B12, whether meat or fish, offal or shellfish, eggs, cheese, milk, or dairy products. Beer yeast and algae also contain in minor amounts. Note that cereals are often fortified with this vitamin.

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Other useful information

An egg or a bowl of milk provides more than 25% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12. Older people with mild vitamin B12 deficiency would not derive the maximum protection of the vaccine against pneumonia. A study of 30 elderly showed that they produced, after vaccination, fewer antibodies against the bacteria responsible for pneumonia when their reserves were low in vitamin B12, which made them more vulnerable to disease.

  • The number of elderly suffers from deficiencies in vitamin B12

Age sometimes causes atrophic gastritis, which reduces the production of gastric juice as well as intrinsic factors, resulting in a decline of assimilation. When provided through supplements or fortified foods, it is better absorbed by the body, because it does not require stomach acid for the separation of food proteins. The level of vitamin B12 also decreases if ulcer, Crohn’s disease, or other gastrointestinal diseases, chronic dyspepsia and drop, and with the outlet of antiepileptic drugs and birth control pills. Alcohol abuse harms its absorption.

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