What are B12 Vitamins?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is present in some foods and widely available as a dietary supplement. The body requires it for the optimal development, function and myelination of the nervous system, DNA synthesis, and healthy red blood cell formation.
B12 Vitamin Benefits
Vitamin B12 contains the essential trace mineral cobalt, leading to the use of the name “cobalamins” for compounds containing vitamin B12. The body first uses cobalt to absorb B12, making it an essential component of the supplementation process. Cobalt is also required to produce hemoglobin (red blood cells) in addition to ensuring the nervous system runs smoothly through the creation of a myelin sheath – a protective, fatty coating surrounding nerve fibers.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people and individuals on vegan/vegetarian diets that do not contain adequate amounts of B12-rich animal foods. In addition, individuals that have undertaken weight loss surgery are also at risk due to changes resulting during the operation that harm the mechanism used by the body to extract vitamin B12 from food.
Signs of low vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Abnormal sensory sensations
- Tingling in hands, feet, and legs
- Troubles with walking, balance problems
- Inflamed and/or swollen tongue
- Cognitive problems, difficulty thinking, inability to reason, memory loss
- Weakness and/or fatigue