Thursday, January 18, 2024

Vitamin B-12.. Red blood cell formation. DNA synthesis and repair. Nervous system function. Energy metabolism

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It's a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body doesn't store it for long periods and needs regular intake through diet or supplements.
Here's a closer look at vitamin B12:


  • Red blood cell formation: Vitamin B12 is essential for producing healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Deficiency can lead to anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
  • DNA synthesis and repair: Vitamin B12 is involved in DNA synthesis and repair, ensuring proper cell growth and division. Deficiency can affect rapidly dividing cells, like those in the bone marrow and nervous system.
  • Nervous system function: Vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining healthy nerve function. Deficiency can lead to neurological problems, like numbness, tingling, and difficulty walking.
  • Energy metabolism: Vitamin B12 helps convert food into energy, impacting your overall energy levels and metabolism. Deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, and weight loss.

Dietary sources:

Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products, making it challenging for vegans and vegetarians to get enough.
Rich sources include:
  • Meat: Liver, beef, lamb, chicken, fish.
  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Eggs.
  • Fortified foods: Some breakfast cereals, plant-based milks, nutritional yeast.

Deficiency symptoms:

Early symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may be vague and nonspecific, but as the deficiency progresses, symptoms can become more pronounced. These may include:
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Pale skin.
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.
  • Difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Memory problems and confusion.
  • Depression.
  • Mouth sores.


The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may require slightly higher amounts.

If you're concerned about your vitamin B12 intake, talk to your doctor. They can assess your risk of deficiency and recommend dietary changes or supplements if needed.

Additional facts:

  • Vitamin B12 absorption can decrease with age, requiring older adults to be particularly mindful of their intake.
  • Certain medications, like metformin for diabetes, can interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.
  • People with digestive disorders like Crohn's disease may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food.
Remember, a balanced diet rich in animal products is the best way to get enough vitamin B12. However, if you're at risk of deficiency, supplements can be a helpful way to ensure you're getting the recommended amount.