Otherwise known as Cobalamin, B12 is needed by the body for it to process carbohydrates, fats and proteins from food into energy. B12 also more importantly, helps keep red blood cells healthy working towards support the heart and immune system at their maximum levels. In addition, 12 b is used to create the protective covering of all nerve cells in the body.
While an important function of B12 is to aid in the production of healthy red blood cells, all cells need B12 to keep them healthy. It is the white blood cells amongst others, that need B12 to help ensure that the immune system functions correctly. All of the nerve cells in the body also need B12 to form their protective fatty layer. This is essential for all of the nerves, but especially so for those in the brain. If there is insufficient B12 to create this protective layer, then the brain will be affected.
Interestingly, the amount of B12 that the body needs is relatively small, but is needed on a regular basis. Despite this, there are many groups of people who suffer a B12 deficiency. Adults over 50, people suffering from pernicious anemia, after certain types of medical procedure, and vegetarians and vegans.
B12 is only found in animal foods such as liver, eggs, fish and meat, with many people consuming far more than their recommended daily amount already. This is not a problem, as the body can only absorb around half of the B12 that is consumed. It is also worth noting that the body can also recycle this vitamin, which cuts down on the impact of a deficiency. However, strict vegetarians or vegans will need to take B12 supplements as plant foods, unless artificially fortified, do not contain B12.
If the body has insufficient B12, then anemia is one of the most obvious symptoms. Obviously, this is due to the fact that there is not enough of it to make healthy red blood cells. Anemia can also be caused by the body not creating enough "intrinsic factor" in the stomach to help absorb the B12 that is available in the food consumed. The body tends to makes less intrinsic factor once a person reaches 50 and this will lead to less B12 being absorbed. Children can also be at risk from anemia if they are not being given, or choosing to eat a healthy balanced diet. Another group that can be affected are pregnant women, as the baby is absorbing B12 during the pregnancy to grow properly.
(supplement labels are strictly regulated regarding the claims that they can make, and at the time of writing, the list below are the only allowed health claims that can be made for vitamin B12 in the UK and the EU).
UK NHS on B Vitamins:
This article is for informational purposes only. WholesaleSupplements.co.uk does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always go and see a pharmacist or doctor for advice.