Vitamin B12

What is Vitamin B12? Benefits, Food Sources, and Side Effects

Vitamin B12 or the so-called cobalamin is one of the eight types of vitamin B, which is a water-soluble nutrient that the body cannot manufacture on its own, but depends on obtaining it from food, and it is one of the important and necessary vitamins for the health of the body, and vitamin B12 plays a major role in the production of DNA in cells, and in metabolic processes in all cells of the body, in addition to its other functions.

In some cases, a deficiency of vitamin B12 may occur, which leads to the emergence of many pathological symptoms, especially in the nerves and the brain, and the treatment of this deficiency is by taking nutritional supplements for this vitamin, and in this article a detailed explanation of vitamin B12.

Synthetic vitamin B12 can be available as a dietary supplement and it food sources are many and varied, they can be easily obtained from meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and it is also found in fortified whole grains, but the absorption of vitamin B from animal sources is much better From plant sources.

Benefits of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has many benefits for the body, the most prominent of which are the following:

  • It helps convert the food eaten into glucose;
  • To provide the body with the energy needed to carry out various vital processes.
  • production of DNA elements.
  • Red blood cell production.
  • Regeneration of the bone marrow, lining of the digestive system, and the respiratory system.
  • Important for the health of the nervous system, especially the spinal cord.
  • Anemia prevention.
  • Contributes to the preservation of eyesight in old age.
  • Helps fight heart disease.
  • Helping recover from stroke.
  • It can be a line of defense against some types of cancer.
  • Mood improvement.
  • Memory improvement.
  • Stimulating the immune system.
  • Promote healthy sleep and slow down the signs of aging.

Vitamin B12 uses

The nutritional need of vitamin B12 varies from one person to another according to age, gender, general health status, and whether the woman is pregnant or breastfeeding or not. The nutritional supplement of this vitamin is used to treat many disease conditions, or to reduce some disease symptoms, and among the most prominent of these cases What follows:

  • Vitamin B12 is used as an oral supplement to help treat memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.
  • It is used to delay the appearance of signs of aging.
  • Helps improve mood, increase energy and focus.
  • It helps in increasing the performance of the immune system.
  • It can be used as an aid in treating heart disease and arterial blockages, in cases of high blood triglyceride levels, and to lower high homocysteine ​​levels that may contribute to heart disease.
  • It is used to treat some cases of male infertility.
  • It is used to relieve symptoms of diabetes and the nerve damage it may cause.
  • Helps treat sleep disorders.

In most cases, vitamin B12 deficiency is treated using oral supplements and doses as needed, but in some cases, vitamin B12 injections are prescribed to people who have problems in the digestive system, which affect its absorption, as well as for people who suffer from severe deficiency in this vitamin.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency appear when it is not available in the body within the normal limit, either due to not eating foods rich in it, or due to poor absorption, and the most prominent symptoms that indicate its deficiency are the following:

  • General depression and mood disorders.
  • Memory problems occur.
  • General confusion and fatigue in the body.
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.
  • Pernicious anemia, a serious condition associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, where the bone marrow begins to produce large and immature red blood cells, and these cells are not able to carry oxygen with the same efficiency as normal red blood cells, so symptoms of anemia appear on the patient.
  • Tremor, weakness, and stiffness in the muscles.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Frequent dizziness and loss of balance. [4] Urinary incontinence.
  • drop in blood pressure;

People most at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency

The people most at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Patients with celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity.
  • People with Crohn's disease.
  • People with acquired immunodeficiency virus, or AIDS.
  • People who take antacids for a long time, such as fometidine.
  • Chronically taking some treatments, such as colchicine and chemotherapy.
  • Vegetarians who do not eat meat or dairy products.
  • People who drink alcohol regularly.
  • Those who suffer from any defect in the immune system.
  •  Those with a history of inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease.

Vitamin B12 side effects

Although the vitamin B12 supplement is safe for most people when taken in the specified doses, like other vitamins, excessive intake may lead to the emergence of some side effects, the most prominent of which are the following:

  • diarrhea.
  • Itching and sensitivity in the body.
  • Rash.
  • blood clots;
  • Combining vitamin B12 with the antibiotic chloramphenicol can lead to serious side effects.
  • People with Leber's disease, an eye disease, should avoid taking vitamin B12; Because this may cause damage to the optic nerve, which in some cases may lead to blindness.  

Where Vitamin B12 Is Found: