What is vitamin B12 and what benefits does it have for the body

Muhammad Usman Babar
4 min readMay 28, 2020
What is vitamin B12 and what benefits does it have for the body

What is vitamin B12? What are its benefits? What foods contain it? We tell you how important it is for the proper functioning of the body.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is the most complex chemical structure. Its discovery must be placed in 1920 by the hand of the American doctor of medicine George Hoyt Whipple. He was investigating the development and cure of pernicious anemia by analyzing the diet of dogs. At one point, he discovered that animals that consumed the liver recovered more quickly. The reason? The presence in this food of iron and vitamin B12. A curious finding that gave rise to one of the most necessary nutrients today.

In another article, we already saw the benefits of magnesium and how it should be consumed. Now we will see all the benefits of vitamin B12.

What is vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 belongs to the group of vitamins B and is found in foods of animal origin. It is a nutrient that helps keep neurons and blood cells healthy. Besides, it contributes to the elaboration of DNA. It also prevents megaloblastic anemia, which causes tiredness and weakness in people.

What is vitamin B12 for?

Vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining the health of neurons, the brain, and blood cells. A nutrient that, in general terms, helps to strengthen the nervous system and increase concentration. Furthermore, it is essential for the formation of red blood cells, cellular metabolism, the metabolism of amino acids, and the creation of DNA.

Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients responsible for reducing tiredness and fatigue and increasing energy. It is also responsible for supplying the energy necessary for the body to cope with all day-to-day activities.

From a physical point of view, this vitamin is essential for our performance. Athletes lose a large number of minerals and vitamins during training. The contribution of this vitamin and other nutrients will be key to increase muscle mass and regain strength and endurance.

Foods containing vitamin B12

The amount of vitamin B12 that a person needs per day depends on their age and physical condition. For example, vegetarians and vegans, professional athletes, and people with a high level of stress should consume a higher amount of vitamin B12. This can be found in a large amount of food of animal origin. Of all of them, those that contain the greatest contribution are beef liver, steamed shellfish, cooked oysters, and clams.

Besides, fish (especially herring, salmon, tuna and trout ), poultry, cooked meat, eggs, powdered cow’s milk, and other dairy products such as mozzarella should be included here. , Swiss cheese, and yogurt.

There aren’t many plant-based foods rich in vitamin B12, at least naturally. That is why those people whose diet is exclusively vegetarian should acquire this vitamin through supplements or with fortified foods or drinks. Among the latter are vegetable drinks (almond, soy, coconut, or oat drinks). A very interesting option for vegans is the intake of nutritional yeast. Rich in vitamin B12, it is very similar to brewer’s yeast. But, unlike this, it is free of dairy, gluten, and soy.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

People who suffer from a prolonged deficiency of vitamin B12 may suffer from anemia, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite or weight, and tingling in the hands and feet. In turn, they have an increased risk of having problems with the nervous system, balance difficulties, episodes of depression, or poor memory.

The groups of people with the highest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are long-term vegetarians and vegans and 15% of the elderly. This deficiency can also be suffered by individuals who due to illness have difficulties absorbing the vitamin. In the latter case, they will have to be treated by a specialist.

Vitamin B12 deficiency and deficiency can be alleviated with capsule supplements. However, the intake of these supplements should be accompanied by medical advice. Otherwise, we can fall into excess vitamin B12. The causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be the following:

  • Food deficit
  • Disorder in the synthesis of vitamin B12
  • Intestinal diseases

Alteration in the use of the vitamin

In short, vitamin B12 is one of the most necessary nutrients for our bodies. Its presence is very beneficial in guaranteeing that the body can perform fully. A diet rich in foods of animal origin will help us enjoy the necessary intake of this vitamin every day.