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The essential Vitamin B12

vitamin-B12

 

Undoubtedly, we all know importance of vitamins. Although these are very important for various body functions, some of them are not at all synthesized by the human body and it is completely dependent on outer source to meet its day to day need.

Vitamkin B12 is one of such vitamins. These are very essential for nerve, muscle, brain and circulatory system.

Types of vitamins:

Vitamins are classified into 2 categories:

1- Liposoluble vitamins are those vitamins which can dissolve in fat: for example, vitamins A, D, E, and K.

2- Hydrosoluble vitamins are those vitamins which can dissolve in water which includes Vitamin C and Vitamin B group (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12).

A brief history- what people thought about it

In 1849, the Vitamin B12 deficiency was first described. It was thought fatal up to 1926 until a diet rich in vitamin B12 was seen to reduce the symptoms of this deficiency. It was even thought that Vitamin B12 deficiency might take many years to develop. Some recent research has shown disease implications with subclinical B12 deficiency.

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is mostly seen in developing countries, in elderly and in vegetarian populations. It is essential for DNA synthesis and for cellular energy production. It is thought to be one of the most leading nutrient deficiencies in people. As it is a hydrosoluble Vitamin, it can dissolve in water and travel through the blood-stream. It can be stored in the human body for at least 4 years and the excess, unwanted vitamin B12 is excreted through urine.

Vitamin B12 can be found in:

It is a complex water-soluble organic compound. It occurs in several forms especially in the form of cobalamin. Methylcobalamine, coenzyme B12 is the significant form of vitamin B12 which is used in supplements and pharmaceuticals [1]. Vitamin B12 is available in foods of animal origin. Foods rich in vitamin B12 include liver, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, and dairy foods. Vitamin B12 bioactive forms cannot be obtained naturally from plant sources. Some plant food contains vitamin B12, seaweeds, mushrooms also contain B12. These are also available in some fermented foods.

In the human body, the largest site for storage of vitamin B12 is liver.

skin-vatamin

Are you worried about Vitamin B12 deficiency? Know it with some common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Might lead to Anemia
  • Difficulty maintaining balance
  • Confusion
  • Mood disturbances
  • Muscle weakness
  • Intestinal problems
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Poor memory etc.

The amazing health benefits:

“Health is wealth”: When you eat healthily you stay healthy. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to many health issues as it plays an important role in maintaining your health. Vitamin B12 supplements are quite popular these days.

Keeps the brain healthy: The most effectively taken form of vitamin B12 is methylcobalamine, especially in neuronal organelles [2]. The deficiency of this vitamin has been associated with memory loss, mood disorders as Alzheimer’s in elderly. Cobalamin might play a vital role in the prevention of brain disorders [3]. In a study – the combination of omega 3 fatty acid supplements and vitamin B12 showed alleviation in the declining mental rate in people suffering from early-stage dementia [4]. Cobalamin is helpful in neuronal regeneration; hence its supplementation might help in repairing the negative effects of ischemia [5].

Energy booster: Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the body as it enhances the energy level of the body [6]. Vitamin B12 benefits your metabolism as it is needed to convert carbohydrate into usable glucose so that you get energy. As, this vitamin is water soluble, so it cannot be stored in an extra amount. The excess of this is excreted through urine. Vitamin B12 supplements have been a source or product for a surge of energy. There is no exact scientific evidence that suggests this vitamin boost energy in people having it in enough quantity.

Believed to be an antidepressant: Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the in synthesizing and metabolism of serotonin (mood stabilizing chemical). Hence, this vitamin deficiency might lead to the risk of depression. Cobalamin is a form of vitamin B12. Its supplementation improved depressive symptoms in patients having depression and low normal cobalamin levels in a randomized trial performed [7]. Another trial showed that anti-depressant and vitamin B12 improved the conditions of depression in people [8]. The improvement is seen in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency, but no scientific evidence is available for effect on normal people.

Good for eyes: Vitamin B12 deficiency is related to nervous system damage and hence, it might affect the optic nerve very badly. In a study, involving 5442 women with high risk of cardiovascular disease who had been consuming Vit B12/Vit B9/Vit b6 for 7 years revealed that the macular degeneration risk was alleviated by 34-41 % [9]. So, people who don’t eat meat, fish or any non-vegetarian food make sure you too get that enough vitamin B12 through supplements.

Promotes blood cell formation: An essential vitamin for blood cell formation includes vitamin B12. A normal healthy cell appears to be small and round while during a deficiency of vitamin B12, shape of blood cells typically changes and appears larger and oval. Because of its increased size, the mobility of the blood cells decreases, and they are unable to move from the bone marrow which might lead to megaloblastic anemia. Thus, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause abnormal blood cell formation.

Use with Caution

  • People suffering from heart concerns should use this with caution.
  • Patients having high blood pressure
  • People with a history of cancer
  • People having skin disorders
  • Patients with genitourinary concerns
  • Patients with gastrointestinal concerns
  • People having blood disorders
  • People with low serum levels of potassium
  • Patients with a history of gout

Market Insight: Vitamin B12 industry has also gone through many ups and downs but still has maintained an optimistic growth graph. In the last 4 years, vitamin B12(cobalamin) market has shown a growth rate of 9.58% from 190 million $ in 2013 to 250 million $ in 2016. It is estimated that in the next few years vitamin B12 market size will expand and reach up to 280 million $ [10].

 

Author: Sonali Pradhan

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