The human body needs a certain number of vitamins in order to function normally. One of the eight B vitamins, B12 (cobalamin) plays a vital role for the brain and nervous system. Every diet should try to include at least one source of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is particularly important for the organism because it is used during metabolic processes taking place inside each cell. DNA synthesis is also influenced by the availability of vitamin B12, which makes it essential for processes of growth and recovery.
It is important to note that the individuals relying on a vegetarian diet are the most exposed to B12 deficiency. This is mostly because the vitamin can only be found inside animals. Meat and dairy products are the most important sources of vitamin B12. However, there are some voices in the scientific community which claim that bacterial symbiosis allows for B12 to be found in other food sources like algae. The claim is not fully verified as the vitamin seems to survive in a stabile form only for a short period of time. See Vitamin B12 History – en.wikipedia.org
B12 vitamin can be synthetically produced and the practice of adding it in foods is fairly common. Fortified foods which can provide a good source of B12 are cereals, energy bars, and energy drinks. Vegetarians should carefully monitor their diet so that they meet the recommended minimum dose on a daily basis.
Some of the most common effects of B12 deficiency include anaemia. This is explained by the fact that the vitamin also plays a role in red blood cell production, together with other substances like iron. Memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are also linked by studies with diets which failed to meet the necessary quantity. Because it is involved in essential body processes, it is also used to treat heart diseases, male infertility, diabetes, AIDS, asthma, or allergies. Products based on B12 are also effective for fighting skin infections or containing psoriasis and eczema.
Going back to how the brain and the nervous system works, there are strong clues to suggest that depression, sleep disorders, and some other conditions from the same family might be medicated with increased doses of B12. Statistical studies showed that the onset of depression can be put in direct relation with diets poor in B12 vitamin, although isolating and differentiating between factors has always been difficult.
B12 is a crucial “building block” for the human body and it intervenes in bone synthesis and tendon recovery. B12 supplements are recommended to women after a certain age to prevent or limit osteoporosis (the condition in which bones are weak). Deficiencies are often identified in older people, although focus on the right dosage should be maintained throughout one’s life.
Like any other substance, vitamin B12 has some contraindications which can limit its use. People allergic or sensitive to cobalt should avoid taking B12 supplements.
There are a couple of recommend ways to bring vitamin B12 into the body as a dietary supplement. The most common is oral, in the form of pills. Vitamins from the B group are often supplied together. In the case of B12, 1-25 mcg per day is the recommended dosage. However, older people should consider increasing the quantity to 25-100 mcg per day.
Vitamin B12 can be produced in laboratories, through the fermentation of some types of microorganism. Some debates are related to the fact that genetically modified organisms are used to increase the average yield. It is estimated that the annual production of systemic vitamin B12 goes around 35 tonnes. The numbers were provided for 2008.
The discovery of the B12 vitamin was triggered by the intention to identify foods with a positive effect in cases of severe anaemia. Experiments conducted on animals first identified iron as a crucial component. However, it was proven than another compound played an equally important role. The vitamin was isolated in 1948.
The health benefits of B12 vitamins are undeniable. Because it intervenes in functions at the most basic levels, it is a vitamin than should always be present in diet. Some positive effects of B12 still are on the list and await full scientific validation.
http://www.ausnathealth.com.au/vitamin-b12-chemical-compound-sustains – ausnathealth.com.au
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ – webmd.com