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Vitamin B12 is found only in foods of animal origin. As a result, vegetarians and vegans, especially, suffer a deficiency of vitamin B12. This deficiency can be avoided by taking dietary supplements of vitamin B12 in tablet form.

Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the body's energy and nervous system, and its deficiency can cause serious health problems.

It is involved in the formation of red blood cells and the functioning of proteins, promotes concentration and memory, ensures healthy mucous membranes and protects the heart. Vegetarians need to take more vitamin B12 because they do not eat meat. Older people are also need more vitamin B12, as they often do not receive sufficient doses via food.

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble coenzyme, which enables the operation of various metabolic processes through interaction with other enzymes. Vitamin B12 is significantly involved in the production of red blood cells, cell division and transmission of nerve stimuli.

Vitamin B12, in combination with folic acid and vitamin B6, helps keep the heart and nervous system in a healthy state. Vegans in particular affected the lack of vitamin B12 because they do not consume any animal foods.

Effects of Vitamin B12

  • Almost all nerve fibers are surrounded by a protective layer that allows quick transmission of information. Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the production of this protective layer.
  • Vitamin B12 performs the intermediate step in the transfer of genetic information to daughter cells, especially important for red blood cells, rapidly dividing.
  • Vitamin B12 is involved in the regeneration of the mucous membranes.
  • Vitamin B12 is produced naturally by microorganisms in the human colon, but the amount is not enough to meet the body's needs. For this reason absorption of Vitamin B12 is essential through food.
  • Vitamin B12 is necessary for the functioning of the immune system.
  • Vitamin B12 is needed in the stages of reproduction and pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B12 is necessary for the functioning of the nervous system, as it is involved in the formation of the myelin sheath that protects nerve endings and allows communication between them allows.
  • Vitamin B12, folic acid together with vitamin B6 and participates in the conversion of homocysteine produced by the metabolism, preventing the development of cardiovascular system diseases. The amino acid homocysteine is used after various changes in gene regulation and protein production. However, if the remains of homocysteine are deposited in the body can cause vascular calcification.

Vitamin B12 is recommended for:

  • For vegetarians or those who follow a vegetarian diet
  • In the case of people with anemia
  • In diseases and surgery of the digestive tract
  • In pregnancy and lactation
  • For those with elevated homocysteine levels
  • Elderly people
  • When you have a high alcohol consumption
  • When you have a high consumption of snuff
  • Parkinson's, cancer, gout, etc: When drugs that reduce vitamin B, as in the case of anti-cholesterol drugs, antibiotics, antihypertensives, psychotropic drugs or medicines to treat various illnesses are taken.

What food contains Vitamin B12?

The richest sources of vitamin B12 are in the tripe and guts of animals. Milk and eggs also contain vitamin B12, but in a very small proportion. A pure vegetarian diet does not supply the body with vitamin B12 you need. Since vitamin B12 is stored for years in the liver, a deficiency is difficult to rectify.

Absorption of vitamin B12 from food, is performed in the small intestine with the help of intrinsic factor, a specific transport protein. Production and operation of this protein may be interrupted by various gastrointestinal diseases, as well as the normal aging process of the intestine, which causes the body to absorb fewer nutrients.

What does a Vitamin B12 deficiency cause?

The first signs of a lack of vitamin B12 are a tingling sensation in the hands and feet, often combined with a cold feeling. It can produce an incipient anemia, with unnatural pallor, general weakness and strong fatigue. It can even produce an unpleasant burning sensation on the tongue.

A permanent lack of vitamin B12 affects the functioning of the nervous system, causing mood swings, memory problems, dementia and mental confusion. Blood production and fertility in men and women can be affected by a deficiency of vitamin B12.

To whom is B12 important?

  • For vegans
  • For people with gastrointestinal disease
  • For people with anemia
  • For people who have undergone surgery for removal of gastrointestinal tissue
  • For alcoholics
  • For smokers

Experts opinion about Vitamin B12:

1. The brain ages more slowly

In a study at the University of Oxford on vitamin B12 it was discovered that it can prevent or slow down brain aging. It has also been scientifically proven that vitamin B12 provides greater power of concentration.

2. Smoke inhalation antidote

In medicine, a precursor of vitamin B12 is used to prevent cyanide gases and render them harmless. Even smokers benefit from this effect of inactivating cyanide through vitamin B12.

Déficit vitamina b12

Vitamin B12 deficiency 

If you suspect that you have a very low level of vitamin B12, you should know that you are not the only one. Recent clinical studies carried out in Framingham, United States, have shown that one in four adults has a lack of this vital nutrient. Nearly half of the population has vitamin B12 blood levels below the recommended level.

Vitamin B12 is correctly called the energy vitamin, as our body needs it carry out multiple vital functions, which include: energy production, hematopoiesis, DNA synthesis and formation of myelin. Myelin is the layer that insulates and protects the nerve endings, which, in turn, allow communication between them.

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Vitamina B12 factor intrínseco

Vitamin B12 and Intrinsic Factor

A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a Helicobacter pylori infection, which causes stomach ulcers. H. pylori bacteria damage the stomach cells that are responsible for the production of the intrinsic factor, which is essential for the correct absorption of vitamin B12.

Cobalamin is the technical name for vitamin B12. The main cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency is malabsorption syndrome. This condition usually develops when our stomach lining loses its ability to produce the intrinsic factor, which is the protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows the body to absorb it in the small intestine and distribute it through the bloodstream.

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Fuentes de Vitamina B12

Sources of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, belongs to the large group of water-soluble vitamins.

Their main functions are related to the maintenance of the myelin coating of nerve cells, the production of hemoglobin, the conversion of fatty acids into available energy and, to a lesser extent, the synthesis of DNA and neurotransmitters.

Therefore, a deficit of this substance may cause certain clinical conditions such as megaloblastic anemia, chronic fatigue or neurological disorders such as numbness or tingling. Read more