By: Hello Physician
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is necessary for the body to function properly.
Although most people can obtain the necessary amount through diet, some factors, such as age, pregnancy, genetics, medical conditions or medication can make it difficult to incorporate or increase its demand. Find out here in which foods vitamin B12 is found, what its effects are and what happens if you don’t consume enough (or too much).
Vitamins are substances that the body needs to grow and develop normally. These can be differentiated into:
- Vitamin A.
- Vitamin B.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D.
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin K.
Vitamin B, in turn, is subdivided into other categories:
- B1 or thiamine : helps convert nutrients into energy.
- B2 or riboflavin : helps convert food into energy and also acts as an antioxidant.
- B3 or niacin : plays a key role in cell signaling, metabolism, and DNA production and repair.
- B5 or pantothenic acid : helps the body obtain energy from food and participates in the production of hormones.
- B6 or pyridoxine : intervenes in metabolic function, production of red blood cells and creation of neurotransmitters.
- B7 or biotin : plays a key role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and regulates gene expression.
- B9 or folate : stimulates the formation of white and red blood cells, cell growth and the metabolism of amino acids.
Finally, we find vitamin B12 or cobalamin.
Benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays a main role in the formation, repair and maintenance of red blood cells. This allows to properly oxygenate all the organs of the body and improve their functioning.
- The most important vitamins to take care of your skin
Vitamin B12 also improves frequent resistance of the body, avoiding fatigue or poor performance at work or during exercise. Other benefits associated with it are:
- Combat symptoms of stress.
- Decrease the risk of cancer.
- Maintain good cognitive function.
- Prevent anxiety or depression.
- Reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Recommended intake of vitamin B12
Depending on the age or condition of the people, professionals recommend the following daily intake of vitamin B12:
- 0 – 6 months : 0.4 mcg.
- 7 – 12 months : 0.5 mcg.
- 1 – 3 years : 0.9 mcg.
- 4 – 8 years : 1.2 mcg.
- Over 14 years : 2.4 mcg.
- Pregnant women
: 2.6 mcg.
- Lactating women : 2.8 mcg.
9 – 13 years : 1.8 mcg.
If in the long run this consumption is not respected, a deficiency may occur of vitamin B12. This can cause irreversible damage to the body, such as:
- Anemia, and its respective symptoms: diarrhea, sore mouth or tongue, pale or yellowish skin, or menstrual problems.
- Difficulties in maintaining balance.
- Numbness or tingling in hands and feet.
- Increased risk of infection.
- Loss of appetite.
- Involuntary weight loss.
- Memory problems.
- Nervous system problems.
Babies who lack vitamin B12 and are not treated may show unusual movements, such as facial tremors, poor reflexes, difficulty feeding, irritation and growth problems.
What foods are rich in vitamin B12
To avoid risks of vitamin B12 deficiency, specialists recommend including the following foods in the diet:
- Lamb liver : each 100 g has 84 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Chicken liver : each 100 g has 56 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Lamb kidney : each 100 g has 52 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Cow liver: each 100 g has 47 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Beef kidney : every 100 g has 28 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Sardine : each 100 g has 28 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Pig liver : each 100 g has 25 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Mussels : each 100 g has 22 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Octopus : each 100 g has 20 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Oysters : each 100 g has 16 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Tuna : each 100 g has 12 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Salmon: each 100 g has 3 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Eggs : each 100 g has 1 mcg vitamin B12.
- Cheese : each 100 g has 0.8 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Yogurt: each 100 g has 0.8 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Milk : each 100 g has 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12.
- Chicken: each 100 g has 0.3 mcg of vitamin B12.
Because vitamin B12 is found in animal products, vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk of deficiency.
In these cases, it is advisable to speak with the doctor to assess the situation, and eventually recommend the use of certain supplements.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for the proper functioning of the body. However, experts warn that in excess (usually due to misuse of supplements) can lead to an overdose.
- These are the main symptoms of anemia
This condition has been linked to different health effects, such as:
- Allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.
Vitamin B12 supplements can also interact with medications you are already taking, such as antibiotics (Chloramphenicol), anti-reflux drugs (Omeprazole or Lansoprazole), or histamines (Tagamet or Zantac).
If you detect a problem after consuming vitamin B12 supplements, do not stop taking any of your prescribed medications, and consult a health professional as soon as possible.
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using substandard herbal and supplement therapies should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, with other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted : Deplorable Comprehensive Natural Drug Data, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.