Category: Vitamins | Vitamin B 12 – Cobalamin
What is Vitamin B 12 – Cobalamin?
Vitamin B 12 – Cobalamin is a water soluble vitamin that is necessary for red blood cell formation, neurological functions and synthesis of our DNA. It contains the biochemically rare form of cobalt, and can only be synthesized in the human body by naturally occurring bacteria in the stomach.
Sources of Vitamin B 12 – Cobalamin
Vitamin B 12 is found naturally, primarily, in animal products such as fish, shellfish, dairy products, organ meats (particularly liver and kidney), eggs, beef, and pork.
Most dietary supplements contain Vitamin B 12, usually as cyanocobalamin, a form of cobalamin that is readily convertible in the human body to its active forms. NOTE: A healthy person will only convert less than 1% of a supplements total amount of the Vitamin B 12.
Many store bought products are fortified with Vitamin B 12, in particular cereals, which are mostly fortified with 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) as developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Store bought products do not always list Vitamin B 12 as it is not required unless it has been fortified.
Vegans / Vegetarians
Reliable sources for vegans are foods fortified with B 12 (such foods are some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and Vitamin B 12 supplements. Make sure you are reading the labels to insure that the products you are purchasing actually are fortified with Vitamin B 12, at with at least 6.0 mcg.
For all that are over 50 years old it is highly recommended that you eat fortified foods, and/or take supplements, regularly (at least 3 to 4 days/week). The older we get some of our body parts do not process foods and supplements as efficiently as when we were younger, one such case is called Atrophic Gastritis, a condition that affects 10 to 30% of those over 50, causing us to not process Vitamin B 12 as easily.
Vitamin B 12 (Cobalamin) Recommended Daily Allowance
RDA’s have not been established for ages 0 to 13, Adequate Intake (AI) levels that have been established are:
- 0.4 micrograms for 0 to 6 months
- 0.5 micrograms for 7 to 12 months
- 0.9 micrograms for 1 to 3 years
- 1.2 micrograms for 4 to 8 years
- 1.8 micrograms for 9 to 13 years
RDA for adults and adolescents:
- 2.4 micrograms for adults and adolescents over 14
- 2.6 micrograms during pregnant females
- 2.8 micrograms for lactating females
- 25 to 100 micrograms for adults age 50 and older have been used to support B 12 levels
Deficiency of Vitamin B 12
There are five types of people prone to Vitamin B 12 – Cobalamin deficiency:
- Vegans / Vegetarians
- People with eating disorders
- Baby Boomers / The Elderly
- People with HIV
- People who are infected with Helicobacter pylori, an ulcer causing organism that damages stomach cells
Also, people who are taking high doses of Folic Acid may have their Vitamin B 12 deficiency masked and need to have your physician test for any deficiency.
Symptoms of Vitamin B 12 Deficiency
For those with a mild deficiency you may feel fatigue, depression, and in some cases poor memory recall.
Greater deficiencies may cause mania or psychosis.
Medical Uses of Vitamin B 12
Vitamin B 12 is used to treat vitamin B 12 deficiency, cyanide poisoning, and hereditary deficiency of transcobalamin II.
Vitamin B 12 is given as part of the Schilling test for detecting pernicious anemia, a condition where the body can not create enough healthy red blood cells.
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12 – Office of Dietary Supplements | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Vitamin B 12 (cobalamin) | University of Maryland Medical Center
What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12 | The Vegan Society
Vitamin B 12 Dosing | Mayo Clinic