The Importance of the B12 vitamin
One of the b vitamins necessary to preserve a healthy body is the B12 vitamin. The vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is necessary for the processes that turn the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food into energy. More importantly, vitamin B12 aids in maintaining healthy red blood cells, which in turn helps prevent heart disease and maintains the immune system’s peak performance. All of the body’s nerve cells also have a protective covering made of B12.
The production of healthy red blood cells is B12’s most crucial job. However, B12 is necessary for all cells to remain healthy. The immune system needs vitamin B12, among other things, to ensure that the white blood cells are functioning properly. Likewise, B12 is required for the formation of the fatty layer that protects all of the body’s nerve cells. All of the nerves require this, but those in the brain require it most. The brain won’t function properly if there isn’t enough B12 to build this protective layer.
It’s interesting that the body only requires a small amount of vitamin B12 on a regular basis. However, because the body has trouble absorbing B12 on its own, it is insufficient. The stomach produces intrinsic factor to aid in the body’s absorption of vitamin B12, allowing for greater absorption of the vitamin. Only animal products like liver, eggs, fish, and meat contain B12, but most people consume much more of it than is advised on a daily basis. The body can only absorb about half of the B12 that is consumed, so this is not a problem. It’s important to remember that the body can recycle vitamin B12 which lessens the effects of a B12 deficiency. However, if they don’t consume any animal products that contain B12, strict vegetarians or vegans are likely to need supplements.
Anemia is the most obvious symptom of a B12 deficiency in the body. Obviously, this is because there is insufficient B12 to produce healthy red blood cells. The inability of the body to produce enough intrinsic factor to aid in the absorption of the B12 present in the consumed food can also result in anemia. After the age of 50, the body tends to produce less intrinsic factor, which reduces the amount of B12 absorbed and may necessitate the use of B12 supplements. Children who may not eat foods containing B12 are also at risk for anemia. Because the baby needs more vitamin B12 to grow properly while the mother is pregnant, pregnant women need more vitamin B12.