The vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that occurs naturally in a variety of animal diets. Vitamin B12 can also be found in edibles and dietary supplements for those who wish to increase their levels. The water-soluble vitamin B12 is essential for numerous physiological functions, the most important of which are the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also plays a crucial role in the growth and function of nerve cells and the brain. However, excessive quantities of vitamin B12 supplements should not be consumed without first consulting a physician.
Vitamin B12 tends to bind to the proteins found in the foods we consume. Enzymes and hydrochloric acid leave the vitamin B12 molecule in its intrinsic form in the digestive tract. Vitamin B12 then combines with intrinsic factor, a protein, to continue the absorption process in the small intestine. Supplements and fortified foods contain vitamin B12 in its unbound form to facilitate the vitamin’s absorption by the body. There is a vast selection of vitamin B12 supplements on the market.
In addition, vitamin B12 is a component of vitamin B complex and is water-soluble, so any excess will be eliminated through the urine. Typically, doctors contemplate using a vitamin B12 tablet containing up to 1,000 mcg per day to treat the deficiency. According to the Institute of Medicine, there appears to be no correlation between excessive vitamin B12 consumption and the development of adverse effects. A healthy individual who consumes vitamin B12-rich foods or dietary supplements will not develop health problems as a result of excessive consumption. In cases of severe anemia, physicians may recommend that patients take vitamin B12 injections or supplements.
In addition, vitamin B12 tablets are widely available in concentrations that are typically well above the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), but these additional amounts may not be absorbed because the body may not have sufficient amounts of intrinsic factor. Although there are reports that certain types of vitamin B12, such as sublingual tablets or liquids that are placed under the tongue, are absorbed through the oral tissues more readily and provide greater absorption than conventional tablets, this is not universally accepted. In patients with severe vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia develops due primarily to an inadequate supply of intrinsic factor.
In addition to aiding in the production of red blood cells, vitamin B12 improves mood and vitality levels. Several studies indicate that a vitamin B12 supplement often improves a person’s vitality and mood. The majority of vitamin B12 sources are derived from animals, but purple laver or Nori is a type of dried edible seaweed that is an excellent source of vitamin B12. Although the quantity of vitamin B12 is very low, vegans can benefit from incorporating seaweed into their recipes to increase their vitamin B12 intake.