Vitamin B-12 Facts
Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) is a water soluble vitamin and is effective in very small dosages. Vitamin B-12 gets its name of cyanocobalamin from "cyano" meaning dark blue and "cobalamin" meaning cobalt-containing; it contains cobalt and is the only vitamin that contains essential mineral elements. It's not a typical vitamin, for it it is produced only by microorganisms and is found nearly exclusively in foods of animal origin. Vitamin B-12 is the only vitamin that the body stores in large amounts (mostly in the liver), and it is not easily absorbed because it has to bind with a protein called the intrinsic factor in the digestive process, before being carried and absorbed through the small intestine. Most people after the age of 50 have a limited ability to absorb Vitamin B-12, and as many as 10% of people over sixty are commonly deficient in this vitamin with devastating health effects: mental agility, heart disease, depression, and perhaps Alzheimer's. Vegetarians or people with low intakes of animal products are at the greatest risk for a deficiency of Vitamin B-12, as well as people with gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, Crohn's disease, gout, chronic heartburn, and excessive alcohol drinkers.
How it Works
Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) aids in the production of red blood cells, normal functioning of the nervous system, and helps to metabolize protein and fat. The coenzymes of Vitamin B-12 assist in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids that contribute to the formation and maintenance of the nerves, blood, and other cells. This vitamin is essential for cell replication and plays a critical role in the production of DNA and RNA.
Prevent anemia by forming and regenerating red blood cells.
Help maintain a healthy nervous system and reduce depression and irritability.
Alleviate nerve pain, numbness, and tingling.
Enhance proper utilization of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Reduce heart disease risks.
Sharpen mental agility, concentration, memory, and balance due to its "brain booster" effects.
May improve multiple sclerosis and tinnitus.
Promote growth and increase appetite in children.
Keeps the immune system healthy.
May improve symptoms of rosacea.
May slow the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.
Improve ability to fight off disease.
RDA for Vitamin B-12 is 6 mcg a day for adults, but it is commonly recommended to take 5 mcgs - 100 mcgs per day. Excess Vitamin B-12 is excreted in the urine and there are no adverse effects known from a high intake of this vitamin. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, depression, numbness and tingling in the extremeties, muscle weakness, confusion, and memory loss. Take with folic acid once a day.
Some Natural Sources
Liver, trout, beef, clams, crab, lamb, tuna, veal, hamburger, eggs, milk, yougurt, cottage cheese, American cheese, cheddar cheese, brewer's yeast, oysters, sardines, and organ meats
This information is based on reputable resources and scientific research but there is no guarantee that what we know today, will change with time. Readers should not use this information for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, but should always consult a medical professional regarding any medical problems and before undertaking any major dietary changes. This information is not meant to be substituted for medical advice.
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