Cobalt is an essential trace mineral that is mainly known as a component of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is cobalt’s biological reservoir and acts as an ultra-trace element. The body requires cobalt in minimal amounts to promote growth and maintenance. The amount of cobalt present in the food sources depends on the soil where the plants are grown. It holds a significant role in the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Also Read: Vitamin B12: Functions, Food Sources, Deficiencies and Toxicity
Cobalt plays a key role in various bodily functions, combined with vitamin B12 it promotes the healthy functioning of the nervous system and involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is actively involved in the production of haemoglobin and healthy red blood cells.
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Cobalt works well to optimise the functioning of the cardiac system, lowers the level of homocysteine which leads to damage of arterial walls that increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Besides these, cobalt assists in repairing the myelin sheath, the protective covering around the nerve axons which is responsible for proper conduction of nerve impulse, thus cobalt is effective for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, where the myelin sheath is damaged.
Deficiency of cobalt may lead to abnormal development of red cells that results in macrocytic anaemia. Some of the symptoms associated with cobalt deficiency are shortness of breath and decreased thyroid functions. There is no recommended dietary intake of cobalt, however, for proper assimilation of vitamin B12, cobalt is essential.
Check out this infographic to know about 5 foods super-rich in cobalt.