Foods rich in Vitamin B12 is one of the most controversial members of the B-family of vitamins. He is unusual about his origins. While most vitamin C are contained in a wide variety of plants and animals, B12 is not produced from plant and animal species, and an exclusive source of this vitamin is small organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, molds and algae.
Each of these names contains a form of the word cobalt, as cobalt is the mineral that is found at the base of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is also unusual because it is dependent on a substance called an inherent factor to make its way from the gastrointestinal tract to the rest of the body.
Key Features of Vitamin B12
– Formation of red blood cells. For maturation, red blood cells need information provided by DNA molecules. Without B12, DNA synthesis is inappropriate, and so there is no information needed to form red blood cells;
– Nerve cell development. The coating that envelops the nerves, called myelin sheath, is less successful when B12 is in insufficient quantities. Although B12 plays an indirect role in this process, it has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and other symptoms of various nervous system diseases;
– Other roles of vitamin B12. Proteins (the food components needed for cell growth and recovery) depend on B12 for proper passage through the body. Many of the key components of proteins, called amino acids, are inaccessible for use in the absence of vitamin B12. Stomach problems can contribute to vitamin B12 deficiency in two ways. First, irritation and inflammation of the stomach can prevent stomach cells from functioning properly. In case of malfunction of cells, it may stop the production of the substance necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12, namely the intrinsic factor.
The second way is related to inadequate secretion of gastric acid. The lack of gastric acid – a condition called hypochlorid – can prevent the absorption of vitamin B12 because most of the amount of vitamin B12 in the food is associated with proteins and stomach acids are needed to release vitamin B12 from these proteins. The categories of drugs that can reduce the supply to the body of vitamin B12 include antibiotics, anticancer drugs, anticonvulsants, gout medications, Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs and potassium substitutes.
Excessive intake of vitamin B12 can cause blood clots, diarrhea, skin pruritus and a serious allergic reaction. If any of these symptoms occur, talk to your doctor immediately.
Benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 may help in the prevention and / or treatment of the following diseases: alcoholism, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, dermatitis, fatigue, leukemia, lupus, multiple sclerosis.
Sources of vitamin B12
Since vitamin B12 can not be produced by all animals or plants, its content in animals and plants depends on their ability to store this vitamin and their association with microorganisms (such as bacteria in the soil). Because of their higher vitamin B12 storage capacity, animals contain more than this vitamin compared to plants. Excellent sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods. These foods include turtle and calf livers. A very good source of vitamin B12 is deer, shrimp, clams, salmon and beef.
Marine plants (such as Kelp), blue-green algae, yeast (such as brewer’s yeast) and fermented plant foods (like mozo or tofu) are the most commonly consumed plant sources of vitamin B12. As a food additive B12 can be found most often in the form of cyanocobalamin. Vitamin B12 derived from animal food is relatively well preserved in most food cooking modes. The ability of rigorous vegetarian diets to provide adequate amounts of vitamin B12 remains controversial, despite increasing evidence to support vegetarianism and its nutritional adequacy.