|Nutrition-Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
|Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, works with folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also keeps your central nervous system healthy. The only natural sources of Vitamin B12 are animal products.
Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials that a vitamin will dissolve in. There are two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins, which include the B-complex group and vitamin C, travel through the bloodstream. Whatever water-soluble vitamins are not used by the body are eliminated in urine, which means you need a continuous supply of them in your food. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin.
How Much B12 Is Enough?
Both adult men and women need 2.0 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day.
Sources of Vitamin B12
- Milk products
Can You Have Too Much or Too Little?
B12 deficiency can cause a type of anemia marked by fewer but larger red blood cells that's called pernicious anemia. It can also cause walking and balance problems, sore tongue, weakness, confusion and, in advanced cases, dementia. Vegetarians who eliminate all animal sources from their diet (also known as vegans) may benefit from taking a vitamin B12 supplement. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take vitamin B12 in doses greater than the RDA for pregnant (2.6 micrograms/day) or breastfeeding women (2.8 micrograms/day). Some people who have problems with absorption or have had bowel surgery may need injections of Vitamins B12 to prevent deficiency because their bodies can't absorb oral supplements properly.
People over age 50 may also need B12 supplements because the aging process diminishes the bodyâ€™s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from natural food sources.
If you want to get the most vitamins possible from your food, refrigerate fresh produce, and keep milk and grains away from strong light. Vitamins are easily destroyed and washed out during food preparation and storage. If you take vitamin supplements, store them at room temperature in a dry place that's free of moisture.