Vitamin B12: Necessary for Body Functions
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalmin) is part of the “B-complex” family of
vitamins. It has antioxidant properties and is necessary for many body
processes. B12 is essential for maintaining nerve and red blood cells and
for making DNA in body cells. It is found in many foods including meat,
poultry, eggs, fish, and milk products. Once these foods are eaten, vitamin
B12 is released from the foods. Then it forms a complex with a substance
called intrinsic factor. This factor is then absorbed in the intestine.
Some studies show that vitamin B12 intake from foods along with folate
and vitamin B6 may lower the risk of breast cancer. The recommended
daily intake of vitamin B12 for adults aged 19 and older is 2.4 micrograms.
There is little risk of toxicity from high vitamin B12 intake.
Diseases that prevent the absorption of vitamin B12 from the intestine
can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. Older adults and strict vegetarians
may also develop vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B12
deficiency are fatigue, weakness, depression, numbness and tingling of
hands and feet, constipation, weight loss, poor memory, poor balance,
and sore tongue.