Vitamin B12 – how important is it?

Most people know very well how important vitamins are to our body. A proper diet requires that you provide all the essential nutrients. For many people abandoning eating meat, the problem may be Vitamin B12, which is not available in plant products. However, a shortage can also be met by a person who does not follow such a rigorous diet. It is worth taking a closer look at why it is so important.

Vitamin B12 – basic information

Vitamin B12 is a microelement that can naturally be found in a variety of foods or in dietary supplements. It exists in various forms and has cobalt in it so that compounds with active vitamin B12 are often referred to as “cobalamin. Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are forms of microelements that work in our body.

Vitamin B12 chemical formula (complicated, isn't it?)
Vitamin B12 chemical formula (complicated, isn’t it?)

Vitamin B12 is needed for

  • correct formation of red blood cells
  • neurological function
  • dNA synthesis

Sources of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can be found in animal products, as

  • fish
  • red meat
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • milk
  • milk products

Usually, we will not find this microelement in plant-derived products unless they are artificially added. In this case, you should pay attention to exactly how much was added to avoid shortages. In terms of dietary supplements, we mainly meet with cyanocobalamin – a form of vitamin B12, which our body easily transforms into methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. It is worth noting that taking B12 in the form of a conditioner means weaker absorbability than when getting it from products. For example, only about 10 mcg of 500mcg of the supplement is absorbed by our body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

In the case of vitamin B12 deficiency, we can meet such effects as

  • megaloblastic anaemia
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite

Neurological changes like numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can also occur. In addition, the deficit may also be manifested by problems with maintaining balance, depression, dementia, problems with memory or dry mouth and language. Interestingly, neurological symptoms may appear without the onset of anaemia, which causes more difficult detection, which is why early diagnosis and intervention is very important to avoid serious and irreversible changes.

Recommended supplement containing active form of Vitamin B12 - Methyl B12 Plus from Apollo Hegemony
Recommended supplement containing active form of Vitamin B12 – Methyl B12 Plus from Apollo Hegemony

Folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency

It is also worth mentioning the important issue of correlation between folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency. Large amounts of folic acid can “mask the harmful effects of micronutrient deficiency by repairing megaloblastic anaemia without affecting neurological damage. For this reason, supplementation with folic acid should not exceed 1,000 mcg per day.

Vitamin B12 and health

There have been many studies on whether supplementation with vitamin B12 may have a positive effect on our health in specific areas

Cardiovascular diseases

Although vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are important for homocysteine ​​metabolism, the American Society of Cardiology has stated that available studies are unable to confirm whether the effects of B vitamins can support our heart

Energy and endurance

Often, vitamin B12 is promoted as a great supplement for athletes who will add energy. However, in a survey made in 2004, this has not been confirmed, however, it is a rather old study also possible that in the future we will learn something else.

Dementia and cognitive functions

There are studies that indicate the effects of vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid on dementia and problems with cognitive function. However, they are not considered 100% sure, more research is also needed.

Summary

Vitamin B12 is very important for our body. In the case of a normal diet, we should be able to provide adequate amounts of it so as not to be worried about a shortage. However, in case of impossibility, it is important to use dietary supplements. In addition, there are some promising possibilities for B12 in support of training. However, their operation is not entirely certain.