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Vitamin B12 - properties, occurrence and dosage of vitamin B12

by bartosz zuchowski on June 11, 2020

Vitamins and minerals are extremely important for the proper functioning of the human body. Since most of them cannot be produced by the body, we must provide them with a daily diet, of course in the right proportions. In addition, it is worth knowing in what products vitamins and minerals are present, and in what form they are best absorbed.

vitamin b12

Vitamin B12 properties

Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin due to the fact that it contains cobalt particles. It belongs to the water-soluble vitamins. The source of vitamin B12 are animal products, mainly meat and its preparations, as well as dairy products. However, it is not found in products of plant origin. Interestingly, negligible amounts of cobalamin are also produced by the bacterial flora of the large intestine, but it is not used by the body because it is absorbed in the small intestine. Therefore, it has virtually no significance for meeting the body's needs. The absorption of vitamin B12 available in food is quite difficult and very complex, because it depends on the proper functioning of the digestive system. Vitamin B12 combines in the digestive system with so-called the internal factor IF (also called Castle's factor), which is produced in the stomach. This factor has a transport function. After passing into the small intestine, the internal factor detaches from the vitamin and allows it to be absorbed. A protein called transcobalamin II is responsible for transporting vitamin in the blood plasma. Gastrointestinal disorders or natural problems with cobalamin absorption occurring with the patient's age contribute to vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 role in the body

For the human body, vitamin B12 is very important. First of all, it plays a key role in ensuring the proper functioning of the nervous and hematopoietic systems. Vitamin B12 participates in numerous metabolic processes taking place in rapidly dividing cells, such as: blood cells nerve tissue (brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves), digestive system, skin. It is necessary for proper growth, is involved in the processes of cell division, the production of red blood cells (participates together with folic acid in the formation and maturation of blood cells) or the synthesis of myelin, which is a component of nerve casings (so-called myelin sheaths). It also participates in the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. It participates in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B12 is important in the maturation of epithelial cells. It allows you to maintain mental health. It also improves mental performance as it participates in the formation of neurotransmitters and myelin sheath.

What is vitamin B12 responsible for?

Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper growth of the body and its proper functioning. In addition, it is responsible for the metabolic process by strengthening and stimulating it. Not everyone knows, but vitamin B12 also affects energy production inside cells. The right amount of vitamin in the human body reduces the feeling of tiredness and fatigue, while maintaining high activity and fitness of the muscles. Vitamin B12 primarily: is necessary in the course of many metabolic and energy transformations, has a positive effect on the proper functioning of the nervous system, by combining with other vitamins and substances, such as folic acid, it affects the metabolism of homocysteine ​​(an excess of this amino acid leads to atherosclerotic changes), affects the production and maturation of red blood cells, improves the functioning of the human immune system, reduces fatigue, enables the synthesis of nucleic acids, affects normal cell growth and division.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

The correct concentration of vitamin B12 is very important for everyone's health. Both deficiency and excess can cause many health problems. Symptoms of disorders are, however, often not very characteristic, which means that B12 deficiency is not always quickly diagnosed. In addition, the vitamin is consumed slowly, and its liver reserves are enough for several years.

vitamin b12 DEFICIENCY

The most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are mainly:

  • disorders in the hematopoietic system (anemia) seen on morphological examination,
  • chronic fatigue
  • numbness in the limbs
  • changes related to the nervous system (in particular neurological and psychiatric symptoms)
  • mental impairment
  • feeling anxious
  • depression
  • balance disorder
  • memory impairment
  • patient personality disorder

Analysis of the research shows that there is a significant relationship between problems with vitamin B12 deficiency and the occurrence of diseases associated with dementia or dementia in the elderly. Deficiency of vitamin B1 leads to an increase in homocysteine, and thus increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Deficiency also results in the development of pernicious anemia (Addison-Biermer anemia, megaloblastic).

Vitamin B12 prevents anemia and atherosclerosis

Vitamin B12, due to the fact that it participates in the production of red blood cells, allows you to maintain their number at a favorable level for the body. Participation in the synthesis of blood cells is of great importance in preventing anemia in every human being. Deficiency of vitamin B12 causes a special type of disease called megaloblastic anemia (Addison-Biermer anemia), associated with a disturbance in red blood cell production. In addition, they have an incorrect appearance (usually they are much larger than in healthy people) and inability to work properly. Due to the fact that vitamin B12 is also involved in the metabolism of homocysteine, it is also particularly important in the prevention of atherosclerosis, because it blocks excessive accumulation of homocysteine, and high concentration of this substance is a risk factor in atherosclerosis.

Can vitamin B12 protect against Alzheimer's?

Research shows that the right concentration of vitamin B12 helps keep the nervous system in good condition. Alzheimer's disease attacks the patient's nervous system and causes numerous changes in the psychological and neurological sphere. The disease is severe and often significantly reduces the quality of life of patients. These changes are often referred to as dementia disorders. Research shows that one of the factors that can affect the development of Alzheimer's is a significant reduction in the level of vitamin B12 found in blood plasma. Long-term studies and observations lead to the conclusion that vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with cognitive deficits.

Vitamin B12 and mental health

A deficiency of vitamin B12 also adversely affects human mental health. Psychopathological changes were frequently observed in people suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, the most common of which were:

  • restlessness
  • changes in the sphere of personality,
  • mild memory impairment,
  • depression,
  • symptoms of dementia
  • psychotic disorders (hallucinations, delusions).

Studies of vitamin B12 plasma concentration in patients suffering from psychiatric disorders indicate that as much as one third of the study group had values ​​below the expected norm. Deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to disorders, as a result of which the body has less of such substances as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, which have a significant impact on mental health.

In depression, a relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and depression caused by physiological factors is observed. In the absence of adequate B12 levels, depression is usually much more severe and suicide attempts are definitely more effective. In patients with depression and vitamin B12 deficiency, supplementation has improved the effectiveness of existing treatment in many cases.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly

According to recent scientific reports, some symptoms that were previously considered to be symptoms associated with the physiological aging process may be due to vitamin B12 deficiency. It is currently believed that the main cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly is malabsorption of vitamin B12 from food and too low a supply in the diet. In older people, symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include, among others the nervous system. In the first place paresthesia (numbness, tingling) of the hands and feet usually occurs, but also gait uncertainty. There is a great relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and dementia. B12 deficiency has been shown to greatly affect the development of cognitive deficits in the elderly.

Vitamin B12 excess

Vitamin B12 is stored in the body. If there is too much of it, it is excreted in bile and faeces. For some people, taking a high dose vitamin B12 supplement for a long time can cause allergic symptoms. Vitamin B12 demand The body's need for vitamin B12 is high because it performs very important functions in the body, and its deficiency can lead to dangerous consequences. That is why it is so important to ensure its delivery. In the case of diet, it is worth paying attention to products that are rich in vitamin B12 and from which the body will absorb it very well. If you have problems maintaining its proper concentration, you should consult your doctor.

Vitamin B12 where it occurs

A great way to get vitamin B12 into your body is to eat meat, but this is obviously not the only source of this vitamin available. In addition to meat, vitamin B12 is also found in some species of fish. It is worth remembering that the source of vitamin B12 can also be milk and milk products and eggs. In the meat group, the highest amount of vitamin B12 in 100 g of the product is in beef, approx. 1.4 µg and in turkey meat, from 0.7 to 1.7 µg. Pork is about 0.6-0.7 µg, while chicken meat is the poorest in vitamin B12, it contains only about 0.4 µg. The analysis of a group of dairy products shows that there is not too much vitamin in milk alone, about 0.4 µg, while definitely more it was observed in yellow cheese (in the range from 1 to 2.2 µg) and in cottage cheese (0.7 - 0.9 µ). Eggs, 1.6 µg are also a good source of vitamin.

Vitamin B12 dosage

The demand for vitamin B12 is varied and depends, among others from age and state of health. An issue to look out for is vitamin dosage. How much vitamin B12 should you take? The Institute of Food and Nutrition has developed guidelines that include recommended daily doses for various groups of people.

  • children aged 1-3 years - 0.9 µg dose,
  • children aged 4 - 6 years - 1.2 µ dose,
  • children aged 7-9 years - 1.8 µg dose,
  • older children and adolescents - from 1.8 to 2.4 µg,
  • adults - 2.4 µg,
  • pregnant women - 2.6 µg,
  • women during breastfeeding - 2.8 µg.