Vitamin B12 is part of the water-soluble B-group vitamins.
Our body is not able to synthesize this substance alone but must necessarily take it with food
FUNCTIONS OF VITAMIN B12
- red blood cell formation which promotes growth
- works in synergy in particular with folic acid in the synthesis of DNA and RNA thus also helping in the formation of white blood cells that defend our organism from infectious microorganisms.
- contributes to the good health of the nervous system by intervening in the creation of the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves.
- improves cognitive functions with beneficial effects on depressive syndromes.
- regulates the levels of homocysteine in association with folic acid, to help maintain the correct levels of cholesterol in the blood
DEFICIENCY FROM VITAMIN B12
Deficiencies from Vit. B12 can in fact be due for two reasons:
- poor dietary intake of foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, molluscs, crustaceans.
- difficulty of absorption
- Deficiency of the intrinsic factor. It is a glycoprotein produced by the parietal cells of the stomach that plays a fundamental role for the absorption of B12.
- Old age. After 50 years of age, the ability to assimilate cobalamin is reduced because there is not enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach. 1 in 10 people aged 75 and over manifest deficiencies from Vit.B12.
- Gastrointestinal interventions. Vit.B12 is absorbed in an intestinal tract called ileum, where partial interventions or removals of it prevent the regular absorption functions.
- Gastric Bypass
- Pathologies like Celiac Disease and Crohn’s Disease
- Continuous use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), perform the function of acidity of the gastric juices, indispensable in the process of absorption of Vitamin B12.
A deficiency of Vit.B12 can cause serious damage to the nervous system and an increase in blood of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been related to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The most common consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency is Megaloblastic Anemia.
Symptoms of deficiency of this vitamin are tiredness, weakness, nervousness, loss of memory and decrease in attention.