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The Significance of the B12 Vitamin

April 13, 2022 3 min read

The Significance of the B12 Vitamin


We've mentioned previously on topics with regards to the vitamin family. However, did you know that the B12 Vitamin is one of the B vitamins essential to maintaining a healthy body? They are also commonly known as Cobalamin. The B12 vitamin is needed for the processes to convert the carbohydrates, fats and proteins from food into energy. The vitamin B12 also helps keep the red blood cells healthy and therefore prevent heart disease as well as keeping the immune system functioning at its maximum level, which is exceptionally crucial in our times due to the ongoing pandemic. In addition, the vitamin is used to create the protective covering of all nerve cells in the body.

As you might have guessed by now, the most noteworthy function of B12 is to form healthy red blood cells. Nevertheless, all cells need B12 to keep them healthy. The white blood cells, amongst others, need the vitamin to help ensure that the immune system is functioning correctly. All of the nerve cells in the body also need B12 to form their protective fatty layer. This is essential for all of the nerves but is especially so for those in the brain. Unfortunately, there is insufficient B12 to create this protective layer, and the brain will not be functioning correctly.

Interestingly, the amount of B12 that the body needs is relatively small. However, the B12 on its own is not enough as the body cannot absorb it easily. In order to help the body absorb B12, the stomach produces an intrinsic factor that enables more of the B12 vitamin to be absorbed. One thing to note is that the B12 vitamin can only be found in animal foods such as liver, eggs, fish and meat, but most people consume far more than their recommended daily amount of the B12. Fortunately, this is not a problem as the body can only absorb about half of the B12 that is being consumed. One might question, what if one has a deficiency of B12 vitamins, and what should one do? Something worth noting is that the body can recycle the B12 vitamin, which significantly cuts down on the impact of a B12 deficiency. Regardless, strict vegetarians or vegans are likely to require B12 supplements if they do not eat any animal products that contain B12.

Worst case scenario, if the body does not have enough B12, anaemia is the most apparent symptom. Evidently, this is due to the fact that there is not enough B12 vitamin to make healthy red blood cells. Anaemia can also be caused by the body not creating enough intrinsic factors to help absorb the B12 available in the food consumed. The body tends to make fewer inherent factors once a person reaches 50, which will lead to more minor B12 being absorbed, and supplements of B12 may be required. Kids are also at risk from anaemia because they may not eat the vitamin's food. Lastly, it's also worth noting that pregnant women need more B12 vitamins because the baby will be absorbing it during the pregnancy to grow appropriately.

 

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