Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble B vitamin. B12 is also known as cobalamin because it contains cobalt. The form of B12 most commonly used in dietary supplements is called cyanocobalamin. B12 is only produced by bacteria, so it is only found in food products of animal origin and in some fermented vegetable products such as tempeh and miso (fermented soybeans). B12 functions in a wide variety of metabolic processes, many of which are involved in transferring methyl groups between amino acids. B12 works closely with another B vitamin, folic acid, in reactions involved with DNA synthesis, blood cell formation, nervous system maintenance and heart health. If that weren’t enough, B12 is also involved in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Recommended Dietary Allowances: Men = 6 mcg; Women = 4 mcg; Pregnant Women = 2.2 mcg
For those individuals at highest risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, strict vegetarians and elderly with reduced B12 absorption, supplements are highly recommended. Most complete multivitamin supplements will contain vitamin B12 at RDA or higher levels. Higher intakes from specific B12 or B-complex products may be warranted for high risk individuals.
- aids in the healthy formation of red blood cells
- involved in carbohydrate, fat & protein metabolism
- maintains a healthy nervous system
- promotes healthy growth in children
- plays a role in healthy energy levels
- promotes healthy mental focus and concentration