The 12 b vitamin is one of the b vitamins that are essential to maintain a healthy body. Otherwise known as Cobalamin, the 12b vitamin is needed for the processes to convert the carbohydrates, fats and proteins from food into energy.
12 b also, more importantly, helps keep the red blood cells healthy and therefore prevent heart disease as well as keeping the immune system functioning at its maximum level. In addition, 12 b is used to create the protective covering of all nerve cells in the body.
The most important function of 12 b is to form healthy red blood cells. However, all cells need 12 b to keep them healthy. It is the white blood cells, amongst others, that need 12 b to help ensure that the immune system functioning properly. All of the nerve cells in the body also need 12 b to form their protective fatty layer. This is essential for all of the nerves but is especially so for those in the brain. If there is not sufficient 12 b to create this protective layer then the brain will not be functioning properly.
Interestingly, the amount of 12 b that the body needs is relatively small but is needed on a regular basis. However, 12 b on its own is not enough as the body cannot absorb it easily. To help the body absorb 12 b the stomach produces intrinsic factor which enables more of the 12 b to be absorbed. 12 b is only found in animal foods such as liver, eggs, fish and meat but most people consume far more than their recommended daily amount of 12 b.
This is not a problem as the body can only absorb about half of the 12 b that is consumed. It is also worth noting that the body can recycle the 12 b which cuts down on the impact of a 12 b deficiency. However, strict vegetarians or vegans are likely to require 12 b supplements if they do not eat any animal products that contain 12 b.
If the body does not have enough 12 b then anemia is the most obvious symptom. Obviously, this is due to the fact that there is not enough 12 b to make healthy red blood cells. Anemia can also be caused by the body not creating enough intrinsic factor to help absorb the 12 b that is available in the food consumed. The body tends to makes less intrinsic factor once a person reaches 50 and this will lead to less 12 b being absorbed and supplements of 12 b may be required.
Kids are also at risk from anemia because they may not eat the food that contain 12 b. Pregnant women need more 12 b because the baby is absorbing 12 b during the pregnancy to grow properly.