Vitamin B12

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names

  • Cobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Hydrocobalamin
  • Methylcobalamin


Principal Proposed Uses

  • Correcting Deficiency

Other Proposed Uses

Vitamin B 12 , an essential nutrient, is also known as cobalamin. The cobal in the name refers to the metal cobalt contained in B 12 . Vitamin B 12 is required for the normal activity of nerve cells and works with folate and vitamin B 6 to lower blood levels of homocysteine , a chemical in the blood that might contribute to heart disease. B 12 also plays a role in the body's manufacture of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) . Anemia is usually (but not always) the first sign of B 12 deficiency. Earlier in this century, doctors coined the name "pernicious anemia" forastubborn form of anemia that did not improve even when the patient wasgiveniron supplements. Today we know that pernicious anemia comes about whenthestomach fails to excrete a special substance called intrinsic factor.The body needs the intrinsic factor for efficient absorption of vitamin B 12 . In 1948, vitamin B 12 was identified as the cure for pernicious anemia. B 12 deficiency also causes nerve damage, and this may, in some cases, occur without anemia first developing. Vitamin B 12 has also been proposed as a treatment for numerous other conditions, but as yet there is no definitive evidence that it is effective for any purpose other than correcting deficiency.

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