What is Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)? Uses and doses of B12 for the body

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a vital nutrient that aids in converting food into glucose, providing essential energy for the body. This crucial vitamin is naturally present in many everyday foods. Let’s delve into the world of vitamin B12 with increaseheightblog.com!

What is Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)?

Vitamin B12, classified among the eight B vitamins, is scientifically known as cobalamin. This vitamin plays a pivotal role in supporting and enhancing overall health.

Functions of Cobalamin:

  • Facilitates the production of DNA and red blood cells.
  • Supports the regeneration of bone marrow and the mucous membranes within the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.
  • Ensures the well-being of the nervous system, including the spinal cord.
  • Acts as a preventive measure against megaloblastic anemia.
Structure of Vitamin B12

Cobalamin structure.

Uses of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 offers a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Red Blood Cell Formation: It plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells, preventing anemia.
  • Pregnancy Support: Vitamin B12 helps prevent premature birth, miscarriage, and major birth defects like neural tube defects.
  • Bone Health: It supports bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Eye Health: Vitamin B12 can lower the risk of macular degeneration, a common eye condition.
  • Mood Enhancement: It is known to improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.
  • Nerve Cell Protection: Vitamin B12 helps prevent nerve cell loss and supports nervous system function.
  • Heart Health: By reducing homocysteine levels, it contributes to improved heart health.
  • Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails: This vitamin promotes the well-being of hair, skin, and nails.
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Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to manifest, making diagnosis complex. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pale or yellow skin.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Tingling sensations in the hands and feet.
  • Altered gait and mobility due to nervous system damage.
  • Vision loss caused by damage to the optic nerve.
  • Mouth ulcers and stomatitis.
  • Shortness of breath and dizziness.
  • Mood and cognitive disorders, such as depression and dementia.
  • Fever and elevated body temperature.

Individuals at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Elderly individuals.
  • People living with HIV.
  • Regular alcohol consumers.
  • Those who have had intestinal surgery affecting vitamin B12 absorption.
  • Individuals taking metformin for diabetes.
  • Vegetarians who avoid meat and dairy.
  • People with a history of intestinal diseases like gastritis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Individuals with compromised immune function.


The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 varies based on age. Here are the recommended dosages:

For Adults:

  • Teens and pregnant women: 2.6 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women: 2.8 mcg

For Children:

  • Infants 0 – 6 months: 0.4 mcg
  • Children 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
  • Children 1 – 3 years old: 0.9 mcg
  • Children 4 – 8 years old: 1.2 mcg
  • Children 9-13 years old: 1.8 mcg
  • Adolescents 14-18 years old: 2.4 mcg
  • Children 19 and older: 2.4 mcg

Side effects of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is generally considered safe as it is water-soluble and any excess is excreted in the urine.

However, in rare cases, cobalamin supplements may lead to skin issues like acne and dermatitis.

To ensure your safety, it’s advisable to consult your doctor before taking vitamin B12 supplements, especially in high doses, to avoid potential interactions with other medications and supplements.

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Foods rich in vitamin B12

Include the following foods in your diet to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B12:

  • Lamb liver: 100g of lamb liver contains approximately 3,571% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12.
  • Beef liver: 100g of beef or veal liver provides about 3,000% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12.
  • Sheep kidney: 100g of sheep kidney offers around 3,000% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12.
  • Clams: Just 20 small clams provide an impressive 7,000% of your daily vitamin B12 needs and 200% of your daily iron requirement.
  • Pilchard: 150g of drained sardines offer approximately 554% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12, along with a rich supply of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Beef: A 190g steak contains roughly 467% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. Opt for lean cuts of beef to maximize your intake.
  • Salmon: 178g of salmon boasts about 208% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12, in addition to 4,123mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 40g of protein.
  • Milk: 240ml of whole milk provides 46% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. Studies have shown that the body absorbs this vitamin more efficiently from milk and dairy products compared to beef, fish, or eggs.
  • Eggs: Two large eggs (approximately 100g) supply around 46% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12.
foods rich in vitamin B12

Foods abundant in vitamin B12 include liver, animal kidneys, clams, sardines, and more.

Interactions with Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Supplements of cobalamin can interfere with the body’s absorption of this vitamin when taken alongside the following medications:

  • Aminosalicylic acid: Used for the treatment of digestive problems.
  • Colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare): Employed for the prevention and treatment of gout.
  • Metformin (Glumetza, Glucophage, Fortamet): Prescribed for the treatment of diabetes.
  • Medications that reduce stomach acid.
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It’s important to note that drug interactions can alter the effectiveness of a medication or increase the risk of serious side effects. Therefore, consult your doctor before using cobalamin supplements in combination with any of these medications.

Additional Considerations

  • Avoid initiating, discontinuing, or altering the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s approval.
  • Provide a comprehensive medical history, including a list of all medications, excipients, dietary supplements, and any known food allergies, to ensure your doctor can offer precise guidance.
  • Storage: Adhere to the storage instructions provided on the product packaging or as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Store this vitamin in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep medications out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Refrain from flushing medications down the toilet or draining them unless instructed to do so. Dispose of expired or unused medications following the guidelines of your local waste disposal authority.

In the previous article, we shared information about vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Alongside providing essential nutrients for the body, it’s also crucial to establish a well-structured exercise routine to maintain good health and a healthy body.

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