Information on Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, but unlike other water-soluble nutrients, it is stored in the liver, kidney and

other body tissues. It contains the mineral cobalt, and is therefore also known as cobalamin.

As vegetarians and the elderly are at particular risk of suffering a deficiency of this vitamin, it is especially important to learn all that you can about it, and to consider taking a supplement.

Vitamin B12 is not usually present in plant food sources, and it is likely that a vegetarian will not consume enough of this vitamin in their diet. Elderly people should also watch themselves for possible deficiency symptoms as cobalamin levels decline with age. Deficiencies in the elderly are, however, usually caused by improper absorption of the vitamin, and not a dietary lack

Health Supplements 

As the symptoms of a deficiency of this vitamin may not show themselves for five to six years until the body's reserves are completely depleted, it makes sense to consider taking a supplement. If you are uncertain as to whether you are consuming enough, you can have your blood tested.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?

Natural Sources

Foods that contain vitamin B12 include liver, kidney, beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese and fish. Fermented soya products and seaweeds contain B12 but the amounts are far less than the required amount. In addition, the form of cobalamin in these foods may not be the most suitable for our bodies.

The Right Dosage

The body only requires a small amount of vitamin B12 - the recommended dosage is 2 to 3 mcg per day. Supplements with 50 to 2000 mcg of B12 are available, which can be used depending on severity of the shortage in the body. No toxicity has been reported, even on high dosages.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Supplements

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause serious harm if left untreated for long periods. A shortage can result in nerve damage, anemia, depression and fatigue. It is possible to prevent this damage if the low B12 level is diagnosed early, and supplementation is started before any permanent damage can occur.

But prevention is better than cure, so those at higher risk of a deficiency, such as the elderly and strict vegetarians, should consider checking their vitamin level and supplementing their daily diet with B12 as a safeguard against health problems.

Choosing a Supplement