Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

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Overview

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin. Unlike other B vitamins, you can store several years’ worth of B12 in your liver. Vitamin B12 is also the only B vitamin that is almost exclusively found in animal foods.

Importance

Vitamin B12 has many functions in the body including:

  • Acting as an enzyme co-factor in forming and maintaining healthy nerve cells, red blood cells, and DNA synthesis.

Food Sources

Vitamin B12 can be found in several foods including:

  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Yogurt
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Clams
  • Crabs
  • Rockfish
  • Fermented foods
  • B12 fortified foods.

Deficiencies

Common symptoms and resulting conditions of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Neurological problems
  • Pernicious anemia (which is a cause of B12 deficiency), Celiac disease, and Sprue (which is a cause of B12 deficiency) can lead to malabsorption.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Excess/Toxicity

There are no known excess/toxicity symptoms from supplements or food. Since only a small amount is absorbed via the oral route, potential for toxicity is low.

If you suspect a health problem or an excess of certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Recipe

For recipes rich in vitamin B12, check out any of the Encyclopedia of Food entries for food items listed above!

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At a Glance

Vitamin B12 helps form and maintain healthy nerve cells, red blood cells, and DNA synthesis. It’s the only vitamin that is almost exclusively found in animal foods. It can be found in beef, many types of fish, dairy, and eggs.