SpectraCell Blog

What is vitamin B12?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 @ 08:50 AM

Vitamin B12 also known as Cobalamin is a water solublevitamin vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.  Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins. A series of closely related compounds known collectively as cobalamins or vitamin B12 are converted into active forms methylcobalamin or 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B12:

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B12 are both hematological (pernicious anemia) and neurological.  A megaloblastic anemia may occur because the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency on folate metabolism. Below are examples of clinical signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • shortness of breath

  • fatigue

  • weakness

  • irritability

  • sore tongue

  • decrease in blood cell counts (red, white and platelets)

Neurological symptoms are manifested as a progressive neuropathy, with loss of position sense and ataxia.  If vitamin B12 repletion is not initiated, permanent neurological damage, including degeneration of nerves and spinal cord can develop. Evidence suggests that mental symptoms of depression and fatigue are detectable before anemia develops.  Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent accumulation of homocysteine, a toxic metabolic byproduct linked to cardiovascular disease and connective tissue abnormalities.  Hypochlorhydira and gastrointestinal disturbances are frequently associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Repletion Information:

Dietary sources for cobalamins are strictly from animal foodstuffs. Vitamin B12 is not found in plant foodstuffs. Dietary supplements can also contain vitamin B12. Since the absorption and intracellular activation of oral vitamin B12 are frequently difficult, consideration should be given to injectable forms of vitamin B12. 

Download SpectraCell's Nutrition Correlation chart referencing the correlation between vitamin B12 with Telomeres as well as watch our webinar "Nutritional Considerations of Weight Management."
Case Study, 11 year old girl suffers from seizures, click here to view the correlation between a deficiency in vitamin B12 with seizure episodes.

Topics: SpectraCell, Vitamin B12, Vitamins, micronutrient test, micronutrient, vitamin deficiencies