Vitamin B12 is part of the family of the B Complex vitamins and is also called as Cobalamin. Like the other B Complex vitamins, it also plays an essential role in our body’s biological processes like metabolism, DNA Synthesis and also important for the brain function.
But the similarities that it shares with other vitamins are fairly restricted and it is unique in various ways compared to other nutrients. Let’s look at some of the major differences:
- It is water soluble like other B-Complex vitamins which do not tend to store well in the body. But it is said that this vitamin can be stored in the body for a long time.
- B12 vitamins are only made from microorganism like fungi and bacteria. So it is not widely abundant in foods that we normally consume. It can typically be found in animal foods and so, for vegans it becomes a problem to look for this vitamin. However, it is present in fermented foods like mushroom and others.
- It has a complex structure compared to other vitamins in its family.
- Mostly all other vitamins are easily absorbed into the body, but Vitamin B12 has a more complicated procedure of absorption.
- This is the only vitamin that contains an element of metal, namely cobalt, and that is the reason why it is also known as Cobalamin.
Sources of Vitamin B12
It does play a very critical part in our daily functioning, but it is a challenge when it comes to incorporating it in our nutrition. If you regularly consume fish and other meats, then there is not very likely to be a problem. You can also get Vitamin B12 from Alpha Levo IQ capsules.
But if you are vegetarian, then you have to rely on highly fermented foods like tempeh (soya product) and fungi. Some of the major sources are listed below
- Cow’s milk
- Egg, Cheese
Functions of Vitamin B12
- Brain and Nervous System – The brain utilizes a large amount of energy in the form of oxygen and B12 support this by regulating the production of red blood cells that generate oxygen. Also, this vitamin generates certain methyl elements that are required by neurotransmitter to send out messages to and from the brain. Without the production of methyl, the brain cannot send out signals to other body parts ably.
- DNA – Along with other key nutrients like folate and Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 is also required for effective production of DNA which is the backbone of cells and all life
- Cardiovascular Health – It aids in the production of oxygen holding red blood cells called hemoglobin. It also prevents too much build-up of homocysteine which is associated with heart diseases and stroke. Vitamin B12 regulates and converts homocysteine in the blood.
- Metabolism – Many organs in our body including heart, liver, muscles and kidneys require energy levels of oxygen which is called as aerobic energy. Vitamin B12 helps in the metabolism process to produce this aerobic energy and in turn supplies energy in the form of oxygen to all the parts of our body.
Key Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B12 protects against certain types of cancer and heart disease. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause problems to heart function and also cause a form of anemia.
- It helps improve brain function by providing methyl enzymes to aid production of neurotransmitters. With improper levels of this vitamin, nerve damage can ensue and break down the insulation sheath around the nerves. As this happens, it becomes difficult to pass on signals especially to peripheral areas like hands and feet. So it’s vital to consumer Vitamin B12 to prevent nerve disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- It is a major source of energy especially in the form of oxygen. Oxygen is needed more to perform functions of the brain efficiently. And hence, this vitamin enhances our energy levels, attention span and revs up our mood.
- It is also said to reduce risks of osteoporosis and weak bones by supporting the role of bone forming cells. So, Vitamin B12 also keeps your bones healthy.
All in all, Vitamin B12 is not just a unique vitamin that is not so abundantly found in natural sources of food, but also a very important vitamin that keeps our mind and body healthy by aiding many important functions.
So it is important to consume them in our diet and in case you are a vegetarian look for fermented foods rich in Vitamin B12 or consult your doctor for supplements of the Vitamin. Always try to consume high nutrient diets rich in all sources of vitamins to keep you healthy and fit.