Vitamin B-12, or methylcobalamin, is one of the B-complex vitamins. Your body needs it to make red blood cells and DNA, and it’s necessary for normal nervous system function. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal-sourced foods and it’s also available as a dietary supplement, but you don’t need much — only a couple micrograms every day.
Facts About Vitamin B-12
- The scientific name methylcobalamin comes from the mineral called cobalt. All vitamin B-12 contains cobalt.
- Vitamin B-12 exists in several forms, including methylcobalamin, cyanocobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin, but you don’t have to worry about what form of vitamin B-12 you get from your diet.
- Plants don’t make vitamin B-12, so vegans are at a high risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency. Vegans can eat nutritional yeast, which contains some B-12, or take supplements or choose vitamin-fortified foods.
- Cells in the lining of your stomach make and secrete a protein called intrinsic factor that’s necessary for absorption of vitamin B-12 from your small intestine into your blood. Intrinsic factor doesn’t affect absorption of the other B-complex vitamins.
- People who have pernicious anemia have difficulty absorbing vitamin B-12 from foods and regular dietary supplements. They usually require B-12 injections, nasal gels or large doses (more than 1,000 micrograms) by mouth.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia, which means red blood cells don’t develop properly, so they can’t carry oxygen efficiently. People with megaloblastic anemia suffer from fatigue.
- Folate (another B-complex vitamin) is also necessary for red blood cell production and nervous system function. Taking large amounts of folic acid (the supplemental form of folate) can mask a B-12 deficiency.
- Taking vitamin B-12 supplements may reduce blood-levels of homocysteine, a type of protein that may be elevated when you have a high risk of cardiovascular disease. However, taking vitamin B-12 (or folic acid) doesn’t appear to reduce that risk.
Get the Advice of a Medical Professional
Vitamin B-12 shots are sometimes used by people who want to increase energy and endurance. While it may help people with a B-12 deficiency, it doesn’t appear to make any difference for most people who already get enough from the diet. No toxic levels have been established for taking high dosages of vitamin B-12 supplements, but you should still talk to your health care provider before taking any type of supplement in large
Learn about the best nerve pain solution on the market
The formula has been used by more than 100,000 people and comes with a 100% money back guarantee. If you act now, you can get a FREE 2 week trial of the product.