Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is an indispensable element that our bodies can’t produce on their own so we have to rely on food and supplements to get our recommended daily requirements it’s of the greatest significance to know the types of food that have this crucial Vitamin in them and assure to incorporate more of these foods in your diet.
This Vitamin is naturally found in most animal-derived products like meat and dairy products having a wide variety of them can supplement you with all your needs for the day.
It is mainly absorbed through the stomach as it is a water-soluble Vitamin with the help of a protein called the intrinsic factor that binds to it and releases it in the bloodstream to be utilized by all types of cells as it is a major component of DNA synthesis in all body cells.
Why Do We Need Vitamin B12?
1) Helps in RBCs Formation
Vitamin B12 along with folic acid is crucial for the process of erythropoiesis as they form the purine and thymidylate bases in the DNA of the red blood cell and without this step, the erythroblasts or immature RBCs start changing their shape from biconcave spheres to large oval cells called megaloblasts and these abnormal cells can’t move properly through the bloodstream because of their big size and they have less oxygen carrying capacity causing what is known as pernicious anemia.
2) Promotes Heart Health
Vegetarians Despite being on a very healthy diet with improved serum lipids, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and weight loss still have been shown to develop cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease and stroke and some research papers attribute these conditions to the lack of sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 that lead to an increase of the homocysteine concentration above 10 mmol/l causing heart diseases.
3) Maintains Nervous System Health
Vitamin B12 is essential as a coenzyme for producing SAM which is an acid that plays a role in making various neurotransmitters and in making myelin which is the protective sheath around the axons of our nerves that has a major role in electrical insulation and conduction of nerve impulses so Vitamin B12 is helpful in the process of regeneration of peripheral nerves in case of any damage to protect us against peripheral neuropathy Deficiency in the formation of myelin or demyelination affects both central and peripheral nerves.
4) Prevents Major Birth Defects
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both pivotal for the normal development of the nervous system of the fetus. research shows that pregnant females with Vitamin B12 deficiency with levels lower than 300ng/l in the first months of pregnancy have more than 5 times the risk of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects which are congenital disabilities that affect the brain and the spinal cord such as spina bifida and anencephaly it also increases the chances of miscarriage and preterm labor.
5) Reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration:
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of irreversible severe central vision loss. Vitamin B12 along with folic acid and Vitamin B6 act by lowering the level of the amino acid homocysteine and promoting vision health for people at risk.
6) Has Antioxidant Properties
Cobalamin acts as a coenzyme producing a big amount of reduced glutathione which is one of the main antioxidants that the cells depend on for getting rid of free radical damage, especially in the liver and blood cells so it helps keep your cells young.
7) Improves Psychological Disorders Symptoms
Vitamin B12 has a major role in the production of brain chemicals that affect your mood such as serotonin. research shows that adding Vitamin B12 supplements along with antidepressants helps increase the chances of recovery from depression and improves the mood with omega 3 fatty acid supplementation it also helps reduce anxiety symptoms and lowers the risk of developing dementia and improves the symptoms of autism.
8) Supports Bone Health
Vitamin B12 with its function of reducing homocysteine levels have an important protective role on bone density they especially help postmenopausal women have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis and pathological fractures as their bones become more fragile by stimulating osteoblastic activity to produce more bone matrix
9) Heals Skin, Hair, & Nails
Vitamin B12 has a significant role in the production of DNA and cell regeneration so having sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 will help you heal your dermatological lesions earlier, it is also effective in the treatment of some serious skin diseases like eczema, reduces inflammation, improves your nails and hair health and prevents hair fall.
10) Supports Diabetes Treatment
Vitamin B12 is of great benefit to diabetics as it delays the progression of peripheral neuropathy and is an integral part of the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
one of the major antidiabetic drugs metformin has been known for reducing Vitamin B12 absorption so it is best for people on metformin to receive Vitamin B12 supplementation.