Vitamin B12, is also called as cobalamin. it is the last of the B-Complex vitamins and like other B-complex vitamins it is also a water-soluble vitamin. It plays a significant role in proper functioning of our central nervous system. It also aids in proper formation of blood. Like few other B vitamins, it is also involved in cellular metabolism and thereby affecting DNA synthesis and regulation. It contains one of the rare elements – cobalt.
Vitamin B12 – Cobalamins Sources
Vitamin B12 is not synthesized in the body and it is not available through most vegetarian foods. Only some type of bacteria is capable of synthesizing this vitamin. Our intestine has these bacteria and this vitamin is synthesized there. However there is sufficient amount of vitamin B12 in dairy products like milk, yogurt and buttermilk. Though present in eggs the egg white has a binding factor which prevents absorption of this vitamin, so it should be avoided.
If you are a vegan then you can have barley grass, laver and wheat grass. These are pretty good sources of vitamin B12. Vegans should also be careful while taking antibiotics as it will destroy all the bacteria in the intestine (along with good bacteria). They can replenish those bacteria by consuming probiotic yogurt once.
Biological Functions of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B7 is required by the body on an every day basis to maintain good metabolism levels. The important biological functions of Vitamin B2 are:[checklist]
- Controls Blood sugar levels especially fasting blood sugar
- Maintains healthy hair and nails
- Aids glucose metabolism[/checklist]
Vitamin B12- Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in severe damage, mainly to the central nervous system. At slightly lower levels people may experience symptoms like fatigue, poor memory, depression and minor mental disorders. Vitamin B12 deficiency might also be a result of other metabolic disorders in the body.
Vitamin B12 – Requirements and supplements
On an average a normal individual requires around 2 to 3 μg/day. Vegans should have a regular dose of wheat grass or barley grass to get the required vitamin B12, else it is advisable to go for supplements. Vitamin B12 is relatively safe and there is no risk of over-dosage, even in greater amount it is not harmful. The vitamin supplement industry produces this vitamin through bacterial fermentation-synthesis and this vitamin is present in all the vitamin supplements. However read more about the vitamin supplements and the associated risks before going for a supplement.