Vitamin B12 is essential to our metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of proteins. It is also essential for the transportation and storage of folate within the cells and for the conversion of it to its active form. B12 is also involved in the manufacturing of the myelin sheath, a fatty layer which insulates the nerves, and is essential in the formation of neurotransmitters. Blood formation and genetic material also require the presence and use of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 supplementation can also be used to help treat cardiovascular disease and diabetic neuropathy.
Metabolism: Vitamin B12 is essential for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of proteins. It assists in the transporting and storage of folate in cells and the activation of folate to its active form. Cells that divide rapidly, like epithelial cells and bone marrow, have a greater need for Vitamin B12 compared to other cells.
Brain and nervous system: Vitamin B12 is involved in the manufacturing of myelin sheath, a fatty layer that insulates nerves. It is also an essential component in the formation of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 supplements can be taken in those suffering from psychosis and depression and has been given to those suffering from Alzheimer’s and seen positive results.
Blood cells and Genetic Material: Blood requires vitamin B12 in order to function and be manufactured properly. Vitamin B12 is also necessary for the production of nucleic acids, which make up our DNA. Taking vitamin B12 supplements or having the proper blood levels can help treat anemia and reduce plasma homocysteine levels.
- Up to 6 months: 0.4 micrograms (mcg)
- 7 to 12 months: 0.5 mcg
- 1 to 3 years old: 0.9 mcg
- 4 to 8 years old: 1.2 mcg
- 9 to 13 years old: 1.8 mcg
- 14 years old and older: 2.4 mcg
- Pregnant: 2.6 mcg
- Lactating: 2.8 mcg
Some conditions such as a deficiency, high homocysteine levels, and prevention of age-related macular degeneration, medical conditions, and overall health may vary daily intake needs.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take up to four or five years of poor diet or lack of intrinsic factor production to appear. Deficiencies of this vitamin are more linked to the lack of intrinsic factor rather than from insufficient dietary intake. Symptoms of deficiencies can include: nervous disorders, skin rashes, muscle weakness, anemia and kidney stones.
The Elderly: Vitamin B12 deficiencies are more common among the elderly than in younger people. The cause of this is usually a decreased absorption due to reduced production of intrinsic factor or from a stomach disorder called atrophic gastritis. Patients who are most at risk for this deficiency are those with gastrointestinal disorder, autoimmune disorders, Type 1 diabetes mellitus and thyroid disorders.
Blood: Vitamin B12 deficiencies are also the cause of pernicious anemia, where red blood cells become abnormally enlarged and reduced blood platelet formation causes poor clotting and bruising. Some symptoms associated with pernicious anemia are tiredness, pallor, lightheadedness, headache and irritability. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can also lead to a reduction in white blood cells, which increases the susceptibility to infections.
Brain and nervous system: A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to a deterioration in mental functioning and cause neurological damage or a variety of mental and psychological disturbances. Those suffering with Alzheimer’s have shown low levels of this vitamin although it is unclear whether this is the cause of the disease or the result. Some other serious results of a deficiency are a loss of nerve – insulating myelin, which starts in the peripheral nerves and eventually makes its way to the spinal cord causing decreased reflexes, abnormal gait, fatigue or poor vision.
Gastrointestinal system and heart disease: Deficiency causes poor cell formation in the digestive tract and can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, poor absorption of food, soreness of the mouth and tongue or diarrhea. Low levels of B12 can also lead to an increased level of an amino acid called homocysteine, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Sources in the Diet
Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat, fish or dairy products such as beef liver or kidney, trout, tuna, pink salmon, cottage cheese, feta cheese, oysters and beef steak.
Recent Studies and Articles
Vitamin B12 and memory
Vitamin B12 and its therapeutic effects
Vitamin B12 deficiency and the brain
Physical Characteristics: Red powder, slightly soluble in water
Formulation Notes: Usually sold as a trituration on inert carrier. Pink in color and not an issue in finished products. Unstable to light, heat, oxygen. Low use rate allows for use of overages.
B12 1% ON MANNITOL , 44 LB CTN
B12 0.1% ON DCP , 44 LB (20 KG.) CARTON
VIT. B-12 TRIT MALT. , 15.5 GAL DRUM 25KG/55LBS
B-12, 1.15% ON RESIN , SHIP & SELL BY THE LB.
B12 8% ON MCC , 22 LB CTN
VIT B12, 5% ON MANNITOL, 15.5 GAL DRUM, 25KG/55LB
B12 1% ON DCP, TR NUTRITIONALS – TOLL, 22LB (10KG) CTN
Vitamin B-12 1% Granular Trit, 22 lb. CTN
VITAMIN B12 5% ON MANNITOL, 55 LB DRUM
VITAMIN B12 GRANULAR TRIT 22LBS/CARTON
-  – Reavley N. The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs. New York, NY: M. Evans and Company, Inc.; 1998.
-  – Nelms, M. Sucher, K. Lacey, K. Roth, S. Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology. 2 ed. New York, NY: Cengage Learning; 2011.
-  – Boyle, Marie A. and Anderson Sara L. Personal Nutrition. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning; 2007.
-  – Dole Nutrition Institute. The Dole Nutrition Handbook. Printed in the United States of America; Rodale Inc. 2010.
-  – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/926.html