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What Is Vitamin B12 Used For In The Body

Ability To Walk And Move

Why is vitamin B12 so important for our health? How is vitamin B12 used in the human body?

If nerve damage from B12 deficiency continues unaddressed, it can alter the way you move. This can sometimes affect balance and make you more likely to fall, says Greene. This is one of the easier things to correct, and by doing so we can prevent any declines in quality of life that occur with mobility issues and falls.

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Are You At Risk

The US Office of Dietary Supplements lists the average daily recommended amounts for vitamin B12 for people in various stages of life. Most of us get enough B12 from food but certain populations may be at risk for deficiency, including people on a strict vegan diet, those taking long-term antacids for heartburn, and elderly people and those whove had surgery to removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12. Vitamin B12 in supplement form may be necessary if a person has a moderate to severe deficiency. It is preferable though, that for most people, they get it from food, Weinandy says. If you decide to take a B12 supplement, look for one that contains the vitamin as methylcobalaminits easier for the body to use. And before you buy, read up on these other simple ways to make your vitamins more effective.

Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News,Los Angeles Daily News

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What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is more common in people whose families come from northern Europe. It is caused by one of the following:

  • Lack of intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a protein made in the stomach. It is needed to absorb vitamin B12. This type of B12 deficiency anemia is called pernicious anemia.
  • Surgery that removes or bypasses the end of the small intestine. This part of the small intestine is where vitamin B12 is absorbed.

The inability to make intrinsic factor may be caused by several things, such as:

  • Chronic gastritis
  • Surgery to remove all or part of the stomach
  • An autoimmune condition, where the body attacks its own tissues

Other types of megaloblastic anemia may be linked with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and a family history of the disease.

The inability to make intrinsic factor may be the result of several factors, such as chronic gastritis, gastrectomy , or an autoimmune condition . Other types of megaloblastic anemia may be associated with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and a family history of the disease.

May Support Bone Health And Prevent Osteoporosis

Vitamin B2 Riboflavin

Maintaining adequate vitamin B12 levels may support your bone health.

One study in more than 2,500 adults showed that people with a vitamin B12 deficiency also had lower than normal bone mineral density .

Bones with decreased mineral density can become delicate and fragile over time, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Other studies have also shown a link between low vitamin B12 levels and poor bone health and osteoporosis, especially in women (

10 ).

A study involving 5,000 women aged 40 or older concluded that supplementing with vitamin B12, along with folic acid and vitamin B6, may reduce this risk .

The group receiving these supplements for seven years had fewer cases of macular degeneration, compared to the placebo group. The risk of developing any form of the condition was 34% lower, while it was 41% lower for more severe types .

Ultimately, further studies are needed to fully understand vitamin B12s role in promoting vision health and preventing macular degeneration.


Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 decreases homocysteine levels in your blood. This may help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.

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What Is Vitamin B12 Used To Treat

vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated with the drug msgcobalamin. The production of red blood cells and the function of the brain and nerves are dependent on the amount of B12 in the body. People with a range of conditions, including diabetes, can sometimes benefit from the use of msgcobalamin.

Descriptions Of Deficiency Effects

Between 1849 and 1887, Thomas Addison described a case of pernicious anemia, William Osler and William Gardner first described a case of neuropathy, Hayem described large red cells in the peripheral blood in this condition, which he called “giant blood corpuscles” , Paul Ehrlich identified megaloblasts in the bone marrow, and Ludwig Lichtheim described a case of myelopathy.

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When Vitamin B12 Pills Don’t Help

The body requires both stomach acid and a protein made in the stomach, called intrinsic factor, to digest vitamin B12. First, stomach acid breaks off a protein that comes attached to vitamin B12. Then, the intrinsic factor is attached to the vitamin B12 molecule. Once in this form, vitamin B12 can be used in cells throughout the body. A problem with either stomach acid or intrinsic factor can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Oral vitamin B12 supplements contain a form of vitamin B12 that is easy to absorb without stomach acid, but these pills may not treat all causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, for example, can develop a deficiency in the intrinsic factor.

“They could be taking all the B12 orally that they want, and they won’t be absorbing it properly,” Mangieri said.

Some autoimmune conditions, such as pernicious anemia, attack and destroy intrinsic factor, according to the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements. People with celiac disease or Crohn’s disease may also have difficulty absorbing the vitamin B12 from food or vitamin supplements.

A Schilling test can determine if a person is absorbing vitamin B12 properly. Doctors may prescribe vitamin B12 injections to treat people who have a deficiency but would not benefit from vitamin B12 pills. Vitamin B12 can also be administered in a nasal gel, according to the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements.

How Much B12 Should You Take

Vitamin B-12 – Cobalamin (what you should know)

For healthy individuals who are not at risk for B12 deficiency, eating a well-rounded, healthy diet should provide all the B12 their body needs.

Food sources of this vitamin include eggs, red meat, poultry, seafood, milk, yogurt, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast and fortified non-dairy milks.

However, individuals on medications that impact B12 absorption, pregnant or breastfeeding women, vegans and anyone with a condition that negatively impacts the absorption of or increases the need for B12, should consider taking a supplement.

Additionally, evidence from population studies suggests that B12 deficiency in older adults is common, which is why its recommended that adults over 50 take supplements .

While megadoses of up to 2,000 mcg are considered safe in treating B12 deficiency, its always best to avoid excessive amounts of any vitamin, especially when its not needed.

Though daily high doses of B12 are unlikely to cause harm in most people, extremely high doses should be avoided unless prescribed by a healthcare professional.

If you think you may be deficient in B12, speak with your doctor, who can recommend an appropriate treatment based on your level of deficiency.

While no UL has been set for B12, your bodys ability to absorb the vitamin depends on how much it actually needs.

For example, its estimated that only 10 mcg of a 500-mcg B12 supplement is actually absorbed in people without a deficiency (

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What Is Vitamin B12 Good For You

B12 helps keep your bodys blood and nerve cells healthy, as well as making the genetic material in all of your cells. Megaloblastic anemia is a blood condition that makes people tired and weak, and it can be prevented with the help of vitamins B12 and B.


Nanotechnologies Used In Vitamin B12 Supplementation

Conventional administration does not ensure specific distribution and controlled release of vitamin B12. Moreover, therapeutic protocols involving injection require health care people and commuting of patients to the hospital thus increasing the cost of the treatment and impairing the lifestyle of patients. Targeted delivery of vitamin B12 is a major focus of modern prescriptions. For example, conveying the vitamin to the bone marrow and nerve cells would help myelin recovery. Currently, several nanocarriers strategies are being developed for improving vitamin B12 delivery with the aim to simplify administration, reduce costs, improve pharmacokinetics, and ameliorate the quality of patients’ lives.

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Physiology Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is utilized in many parts of the body and metabolism. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is absorbed by the body in the intestine. Once food containing vitamin B12 is in the intestine, it binds to the protein R-binder, which is a protein in phagocytes and in the plasma. R-binder protein then takes releases vitamin B12 to the intrinsic factor , which is produced by the parietal cells of the stomach. Lastly, vitamin B12 is transferred to transcobalamin II, which is secreted into circulation.1 Vitamin B12 is then used rapidly in the bone marrow, liver, and brain. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused at each one of these stages. First, a deficiency may occur if the protein R-binder is not be able to bind vitamin B12, which results in decreased vitamin B12 absorption and an increase in vitamin B12 excretion.2 Second, if the parietal cells in the stomach are damaged or are not secreting the IF to bind vitamin B12 from the R-binder protein, then vitamin B12 will never reach circulation. Last, if there is a problem with trans-vitamin B12 II then vitamin B12 will not get to the organs that require it.

R. Chernoff, in, 2014

Who Is Prone To Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Calcium, Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B12, Biotin too many a ...

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 for adults isnt much 2.4 mcg, according to the NIH. But since its mainly consumed through meat and fish, people on plant-based or vegan diets might want to consider a vitamin B12 supplement, as well as consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12.

Since vitamin B12 is absorbed through the small intestine, certain medical conditions, like celiac or Crohns disease, can interfere with its absorption. You need intrinsic factor, a protein made in the stomach, to help absorb B12, said Hunnes. Surgery that removes or bypasses parts of the small intestine or stomach increase the risk for B12 deficiency. Autoimmune conditions, including Type 1 diabetes may also increase the risk for B12 deficiency if it affects the ability to absorb B12 from food.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin for humans. Its vital for maintaining energy levels, metabolism, hormone balance, mood, digestion and skin health. But without enough of the nutrient, we can miss out on the many vitamin B12 benefits. In fact, being deficient in B12 can lead to major health issues, from improper growth and development to cognitive impairment. So what the proper vitamin B12 dosage?

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How Much Is 5000 Mcg Of B12

Supplementation Guidelines. Most Vitamin B12 supplements start at least 250 mcg and go as high as 5000 mcg per dose. As you can start to see, a once daily or once weekly supplement will more than satisfy the RDA. Choose one of the two dosing guidelines for Vitamin B12: 250 mcg per day OR. 2500 mcg per week.

What Is The Difference Between Vitamin B3 And B12

November 19, 2021 Posted by Madhu

The key difference between vitamin B3 and B12 is that vitamin B3 is important in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels in our blood, whereas vitamin B12 is important as a cofactor in DNA synthesis for both fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.

Vitamin B3 is a member of the vitamin family, which includes three forms of vitamers as nicotinamide, niacin, and nicotinamide riboside. Vitamin B12 is a type of vitamin involved in metabolism in our body.

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Where Can I Get B12

“The best food sources are meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, and fortified cereals,” says Wong.

B12 can be supplemented in four ways, says Taylor Graber, MD, physician and owner of ASAP IVs, a mobile IV hydration and wellness company:

  • Orally, through eating foods rich in vitamin B12
  • Taking a B12 supplement
  • Injected into the muscle
  • Through an IV drip
  • As vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal-based food products, vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of it in their diet and require supplements. Medical conditions may also require a person to seek out additional amounts of the vitamin.

    Vitamin B1: Possible Side Effects

    Testing for Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Order THESE 4 Lab Tests)

    Now, there arent really any risks from taking too much B12 but as is the thumb rule before taking any supplement, it is best to talk to a doctor. In this case, it is because these supplements, which can be taken orally or through an injection, are known to have drug interactions. These medications are:

    • Metformin

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    What Are The Food Sources Of Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is naturally found in several animal foods, which include:

    • Fishes such as herrings, salmon, sardines, tuna and trout
    • Red meat and organ meat such as liver
    • Poultry and eggs
    • Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
    • Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and enriched soy.

    Side Effects Of Too Much B12

    Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that your body only absorbs necessary amounts of B12, with the rest flushing out through your urine. That said, there can still be side effects of excess intake. These symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and nausea.

    Vitamin supplements, such as B12, have previously been reported to interact with medicines and supplements, like colchicine and vitamin C supplements. Therefore, always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement or diet

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    Intramuscular Or Intravenous Injection

    Injection of hydroxycobalamin is often used if digestive absorption is impaired, but this course of action may not be necessary with high-dose oral supplements , because with large quantities of the vitamin taken orally, even the 1% to 5% of free crystalline B12 that is absorbed along the entire intestine by passive diffusion may be sufficient to provide a necessary amount.

    A person with cobalamin C disease may require treatment with intravenous or intramuscular hydroxocobalamin or transdermal B12, because oral cyanocobalamin is inadequate in the treatment of cobalamin C disease.

    Vitamin B12 And Health

    Vitamin B6, B12 &  Methyl Folate

    Vitamin B12 is involved in the breakdown of a protein called homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke as it may promote the formation of blood clots and excess free radical cells, and may impair normal blood vessel function. A lack of adequate vitamin B12 can increase homocysteine levels.

    Although epidemiological studies have found that vitamin B12 supplementation can decrease homocysteine levels, they have not consistently shown a decreased risk of cardiovascular events in taking the vitamin. Therefore the American Heart Association does not advocate for the routine use of B vitamin supplements in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. However, vitamin B12 supplements can be important for some individuals with genetic variants that lead to high homocysteine levels.

    Food Sources

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    Diagnosis Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    • Blood tests

    • Sometimes endoscopy

    Usually, vitamin B12 deficiency is suspected when routine blood tests detect large red blood cells. Doctors sometimes suspect it when people have typical symptoms of nerve damage, such as tingling or loss of sensation. If the deficiency is suspected, the level of vitamin B12 in the blood is measured.

    Usually, doctors also measure the blood level of folate to rule out folate deficiency Folate Deficiency Folate deficiency is common. Because the body stores only a small amount of folate, a diet lacking in folate leads to a deficiency within a few months. Not eating enough raw leafy vegetables⦠read more , which can also result in large red blood cells.

    If vitamin B12 deficiency is confirmed in an older person, no other tests are done because the cause, such as low stomach acidity, is usually not serious. In a younger person, other tests, including other blood tests, may be done to determine the cause.

    Endoscopy may be done to check for destruction of stomach cells that produce intrinsic factor.

    What Happens If I Have Too Much Vitamin B12

    It is very unlikely to get harmful amounts of vitamin B12 through foods alone. Even if we exceed our daily needs, our bodies remove the vitamin B12 surplus through urine.

    Before taking vitamin B12 supplements, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian/nutritionist or consult your national dietary guidelines.

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    Are Vitamin B12 Supplements Safe

    Vitamin B12 has a low risk of overdose in the body. Supplement makers put a lot of B vitamins into capsules sometimes as much as 200 percent of the recommended daily intake.

    “Because they are water soluble, humans can pee out excess vitamins safely,” Mangieri said.

    For this reason, the Institute of Medicine does not set a limit on how much vitamin B12 a person can safely take in a day. Vitamin B12 also appears to be safe when applied to the skin to treat psoriasis, according to the National Library of Medicine.

    Vitamin B12 may increase the risk that an artery narrows around a stent, a device that widens a blocked artery. And vitamin B12 supplements can potentially harm the optic nerve and cause blindness in people with the rare hereditary condition called Leber’s disease.


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