Cobalamin functions and properties
CHARACTERISTICS OF COBALAMIN
Importance of cobalamin
It is the vitamin that was discovered later (1948). Although the amount of vitamin B12 that the body needs is very small, this element is essential for the organism, given the importance of it in our body
Cobalamin is stored in the liver, where the body takes is when necessary. (The liver is able to store sufficient quantities of this component for a period of 3-5 years). The enzymes of digestion obtain it from food proteins with the participation of gastric juice and the need for a component called intrinsic factor.
The decrease of intrinsic factor or gastric juices (atrophic gastritis), which usually occurs usually Since 50 years, is responsible for the decrease of this vitamin, which requires special care to keep from falling into the diseases that its deficiency could cause.
Currently, the deficiency of this vitamin is quite common in older people, affecting 40% of people aged 80 years and 25% of those over 60 years.
Cobalamin for anemia
At first it was considered that the only role of cobalamin was the correct formation of red blood cells.
Without this vitamin the body could not absorb the iron necessary for the formation of red blood cells, producing anemia.
Vegetarian diet can be healthy but it is deficient in cobalamin, so it would be advisable to take supplements
It was found that this component was in the liver of cows. With the addition in the diet of liver, disappeared “Green Disease” or pernicious anemia, a disease which, before this discovery, it was very common, especially in older people and young women in the final years of the nineteenth and early XX.
This disease usually appears at present only in older people. It’s called “green sickness” because the skin of the affected people gets this color.
Functions of cobalamin
Main functions of cobalamin
Cobalamin or vitamin B12 is necessary for many bodily functions:
- For the formation of red blood cells (whose deficit produces anemia)
- For the health of the heart and nervous system
- For the good health of brain and nervous system cells, along with vitamin C and methionine.
- To defend against stress.
- To avoid discouragement and depression
- To get a good functioning of the mind.
- For the good health of bone cells.
- For the proper growth.
- For cell renewal, along with folic acid and other nutrients.
- For the absorption of vitamin A and iron.
- Along with folic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamin C and other vitamins, it intervenes in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
Where can cobalamin be found? food rich in cobalamin
Cobalamin can be obtained from the following sources:
- Animal foods: One of the richest foods are clams. (Every gram of this seafood contains almost mcg (microgram) of cobalamin. The liver, brain and kidneys are the richest food after clams (85 gr. Beef liver contain 68 mcg. The same amount in liver chicken is 6.16 mcg) Some fish, like tuna, sardines, are rich enough (85 gr. of canned tuna provided the amount that an adult needs daily, which is about 2 mcg.). Other foods with lower amounts are meat, eggs, milk and its derivatives. Under normal conditions, diet, not vegan, provides the amount needed to not be deficient in this vitamin.
- Plant foods: Plant foods contain very low amounts of this vitamin. Vegans (those who do not eat eggs or drink milk) should take supplements of cobalamin. A multivitamin is the amount needed for a strict vegetarian should not eat any additional amount.) Lately you can find plant products fortified with this vitamin that may help prevent a deficit (the cereal fortified) Other products such as soybeans, the seeds of wheat, the brewer’s yeast, algae and mushrooms do not contain the necessary amount especially for the elderly, children and young growing.
- Supplements: The intake of vitamin B12 supplements may be needed in special circumstances where the diet may not meet individual needs. In this sense, it is recommended daily intake of 100-400 mcg in these situations:
Cobalamin special needs
- Seniors or people over 50 years: low production of intrinsic factor. or heartburn may be responsible for malabsorption of this vitamin from the age of 50.
- People who maintain a strict vegetarian diet. Vegetarians can take a few years to notice this deficiency as the body takes the amount it needs from the reserves of the liver.
- People who take medication for heartburn, gout, epilepsy, or potassium supplements.
- People who smoke: Tobacco is responsible for poor absorption of vitamins from group B.
- People with frequent diarrhea, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Pregnant or nursing women: Cobalamin is absorbed in part by the fetus or the baby and the mother needs an additional intake.
- People who have undergone stomach surgery, after which it is common to the body to produce little intrinsic factor.
More information about vitamins.
Vitamins of group B
More information about vitamins.
5 January, 2022