Vitamin B 12, scientifically termed cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is required for healthy functioning of the nervous system, brain, erythropoiesis and synthesis of hemoglobin. Vitamin B12 dissolves in water and travel in the bloodstream, it can be stored in the body for almost four years. Any excess amount of vitamin B12 is excreted.

Functions

Vitamin B-12 is vital for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B 12 plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and create and regulates the DNA.

It is also involved in the metabolism of the cell in the body, energy production and synthesis of fat.

Vitamin B12 deficinecy

Deficiency

Inadequate intake of vitamin B12 results in megaloblastic anemia. The condition is characterized by production of abnormally large red blood cells in the red bone marrow. Pernicious anemia leads to inadequate absorption of vitamin B12. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause severe fatal damage to nervous system including brain. It poses risk of heart failure, memory loss, vision related disorders and infertility.

Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion and memory-related disorders
  • Poor reflexes

Since vitamin B 12 sources mostly include animal products, vegetarian people are more likely to develop Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Pregnancy and lactation can also deprive the females of vitamin B 12. Medical conditions that prevent absorption of vitamin B 12 include gastritis and bowel disease.

Treatment

Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency includes injections of hydroxocobalamin or cyanocobalamin to restore its level in body. Furthermore, diseases associated with vitamin B 12 deficiency complications are also treated appropriately.

Consumption of vitamin B 12 supplements and including its natural food sources in daily diet prevents its deficiency in the body. Meat, salmon, cod, eggs, milk and dairy products, soy products, yeast extracts and fortified cereals are some of the recommended food items to maintain the healthy levels of vitamin B 12 in the body.

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