Vitamin B12 - Everything About Requirements, Sources And Deficiencies

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Vitamin B12 - Everything About Requirements, Sources And Deficiencies
Vitamin B12 - Everything About Requirements, Sources And Deficiencies

Video: Vitamin B12 - Everything About Requirements, Sources And Deficiencies

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Video: Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Deficiency (Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Management) 2023, January
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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (also: cobalamin) is one of the water-soluble vitamins and comprises several compounds, all of which have a ring system that contains cobalt. Vitamin B12 plays a key role in various metabolic processes in the body, including the breakdown of fatty acids. Its central importance for the metabolism of the vitamin folic acid (folate) also makes it important for blood formation. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods. A strictly vegan diet can therefore lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency more easily. It is also deceptive that a vitamin B12 deficiency only becomes noticeable after years.

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  • Where is vitamin B12 contained?
  • How Much Vitamin B12 Do We Need?
  • Too much / too little vitamin B12

Where is vitamin B12 contained?

The food richest in vitamin B12 is liver. Other food sources are meat, fish, eggs and milk (products). Vitamin B12 is only contained in plant-based foods if bacterial fermentation has occurred, but then only in very small quantities (bacterial fermentation / fermentation, e.g. sauerkraut), which are not sufficient to cover the recommended intake.

Note Vitamin B12 is hardly destroyed by cooking.

How Much Vitamin B12 Do We Need?

The recommended daily intake for adults (25 to <51 years) according to the DA-CH reference values ​​is 3.0 µg vitamin B12. A daily intake of 3.5 µg is recommended for pregnant women and 4.0 µg per day for breastfeeding women.

You can find out more about all age groups or groups of people as well as gender in the DA-CH reference values. For more information, see Covering Your Daily Vitamins.

Too much / too little vitamin B12

  • No dangerous (toxic) effects are known at high doses.
  • A nutritional deficiency can occur in vegans who do not eat meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. People who follow a vegan diet are recommended to take in additional vitamin B12 in the form of a supplement.
  • The so-called intrinsic factor is necessary so that vitamin B12 can be used by the body. This has to be formed by the stomach lining. Chronic inflammation of the stomach can therefore lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Even in older people, changes in the mucous membrane in the stomach can lead to an undersupply of vitamin B12. In addition, a deficiency can occur due to illness, for example with various gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease and with a stomach removal (gastrectomy). If there is a deficiency, there are disturbances in the formation of cells in the bone marrow, which manifests itself in a special form of anemia with unusually large red blood cells (megaloblastic anemia). If the deficiency is very pronounced,it can also lead to severe sequelae such as disease of parts of the spinal cord and other permanent damage to the nervous system. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver in relatively large quantities. Deficiency symptoms therefore often only appear after years of inadequate intake.

Note Particular care should be taken with fully breastfed infants of vegan mothers. These babies are at an increased risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.

Further information is available from:

  • Vitamin B12 (laboratory value)
  • Vegetarian diet
  • Vegan diet

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