Vitamin B12

Definition - What does Vitamin B12 mean?

Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is a crucial vitamin found primarily in animal foods that assists in the creation of red blood cells, maintaining DNA structure, promoting brain function plus neurological health, and providing energy. Vitamin B12 is essential to the intracellular structure of the body and a deficiency, called pernicious anemia, can lead to nervous system damage over time.

WorkplaceTesting explains Vitamin B12

Most people receive a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 based on a consistent diet of animal foods including meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. However, vegetarians have an increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Alternative means exist for individuals who prefer complementing vitamin B12 nutrition with supplements and/or fortified foodstuffs.

Because vitamin B12 is a water-soluble (dissolves in water) substance, it remains in the body only temporarily before it is evacuated by normal functioning kidneys.

Many people with chronic and oftentimes debilitating diseases such as alcoholism, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders are predisposed to vitamin B12 deficiency issues. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can include depression, fatigue, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), erratic breathing, weight loss, and pale or yellowish complexion. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also result in memory loss and dementia, which is more common with senior individuals who have decreased ability to absorb the vitamin. However, people of any age bracket can be equally impacted by a vitamin B12 deficiency to the point that it interferes with efficient working habits.

B12 is only absorbed in the body by a small section of intestine called the ileum so individuals who have had this part of the intestine removed to treat other conditions will have to receive some sort of sublingual or injection dose of B12 regularly throughout their lives.

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