Vitamin B12 is the name given to a class of chemically related compounds containing the element cobalt.
Funtions of Vitamin B12
B12 plays a role in the formation and maintenance of healthy brain, nerve and red blood cells, as well as in the formation of DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Vitamin B12 in food sources
B12 is naturally found animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. For vegetarians, fortified breakfast cereals are an important source of vitamin B12. Foods high in B12 include liver, salmon, trout, yogurt, pork, cheese and eggs.
Vitamin B12 dosage
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for Vitamin B12 for adults 19 and older is 2.4 micrograms per day. It is important to note, however, that most food labels do not list the Vitamin B12 content.
Vitamin B12 overdose/toxicity/interactions
No upper limit for Vitamin B12, has been established, due to the very low risk for toxicity. No ill effects have ever been recorded from too much B12. There are several instances where Vitamin B12 absorption may be compromised: individuals using PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); individuals with peptic ulcer disease; individuals using medications such as Tagamet, Pepsid and Zantac to treat peptic ulcer disease and diabetics using Metformin.
Vitamin B12 benefits
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in industrialized countries, and it is increasing in developing nations. The National Institutes of Health have identified a number of risk factors: high blood pressure, obesity, elevated LDL ("bad") cholesterol, lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes. Recent studies have also suggested that elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine play a role in the increasing numbers of heart attacks and strokes. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the British Medical Journal show decreased homocysteine levels in patients taking Vitamin B12 and folic acid combined.