Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. It is a complex molecule that contains the mineral cobalt and is the only vitamin that contains a metal ion. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. It is not typically present in plant foods, which is why vegetarians and vegans may need to obtain it through fortified foods or supplements. The body utilizes two active forms of Vitamin B12, methylcobalamin and deoxyadenosylcobalamin, which are crucial for processes such as DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and neurological function.

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The human body benefits from Vitamin B12 in several vital ways. It is integral to normal brain and nervous system function and plays a significant role in the formation of blood. Moreover, Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, affecting DNA synthesis and regulation as well as fatty acid synthesis and energy production. Without adequate levels of Vitamin B12, the body’s ability to perform these essential functions is compromised. For instance, Vitamin B12 helps in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which is crucial for protecting the heart and cardiovascular system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to various health issues, including pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia, and neurological disorders such as neuropathy. It can also contribute to the development of cognitive disorders, particularly in the elderly, and has been associated with an increased risk of dementia. Early detection and treatment of Vitamin B12 deficiency are critical for preventing irreversible health consequences. Adults are recommended to take 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 daily, and those with a higher risk of deficiency, such as vegetarians, should consider supplementation.

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To optimize the benefits of Vitamin B12, it is often recommended to take it in conjunction with other B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B9 (folate), as they work together in one-carbon metabolism. This synergy is important for processes such as DNA synthesis and repair. Additionally, maintaining adequate levels of other nutrients like iron and calcium can support the functions of Vitamin B12 and promote overall health.


  1. Butola, L., Kute, P., Anjankar, A., Dhok, A., Gusain, Neelam, & Vagga, A. (2020). Vitamin B12 – Do You Know Everything?. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, 9(43), 3194-3199.
  2. Chittaranjan, Y. (2020). Vitamin B12: An Intergenerational Story. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 76(Suppl. 2), 7-15.
  3. Lyon, P., Strippoli, V., Fang, B., & Cimmino, L. (2020). B Vitamins and One-Carbon Metabolism: Implications in Human Health and Disease. Nutrients, 12(9), 2867.

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