Vitamin B12 is part of the Vitamin B complex. It is considered to be a “Painkilling vitamin”. It helps DNA production, cardiovascular support, and energy metabolism. In this post, learn more about Vitamin B12, its functions, causes of deficiencies, as well as foods and other sources so you can better incorporate B12 into your life.
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- Introduction to Vitamin B12
- The Best Vitamin B12 Supplements to Take
- Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Sources of Vitamine B12
- Vitamin B12 Deficiencies
- Vitamin B12 on SelfDecode
Introduction to Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also referred to as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin (R).
It contributes to the successful synthesis of DNA, the normal functioning of the nervous system, and the production of hemoglobin (R).
It can take the form of cyano-, hydroxyl, methyl, and deoxy adenosyl-cobalamin (R).
Cyanocobalamin, the most stable and unnatural form of vitamin B12, is most commonly used in supplements and does not have a direct cofactor role in cellular metabolism.
Vitamin B12 was considered the “Painkilling Vitamin” in some countries as far back as the 1950’s (R).
The Best Vitamin B12 Supplements to Take
There are a few forms that people can take depending on what they’re looking for:
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
1) Vitamin B12 is an Effective Analgesic
Methylcobalamin, a form of Vitamin B12, reduces the clinical symptoms in legs such as paresthesia (an abnormal sensation like tingling or pricking), burning pains, and spontaneous pain (R).
In one study, methylcobalamin significantly improved symptoms, such as pain and prickling sensation, in patients with neck pain (R).
Intramuscular cobalamin injection is effective in alleviating low back pain in patients with no nutritional deficiencies (R).
Cobalamin provides effective pain management for mouth ulcers (R).
2) Vitamin B12 is Essential for the Brain
Methylcobalamin (MeCbl) is the most effectively taken form of vitamin B12 in neuronal organelles (R).
Cobalamin may have a role in the prevention of disorders of brain development and mood disorders as well as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia in the elderly (R).
Supplementation of cobalamin is useful in neuronal regeneration. It also repairs the negative effects of ischemia on neurons (R).
A study on rats with sciatic nerve injuries supports the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries with Cobalamin (R).
3) Vitamin B12 Improves Sleeping Patterns
It may increase the light sensitivity of circadian rhythms due to decreased melatonin levels (R).
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4) Vitamin B12 Reduces Depression
In a randomized trial performed on patients with depression and low normal cobalamin levels, cobalamin supplementation improved depressive symptoms (R).
5) Vitamin B12 is an Anti-inflammatory
Methyl B12 suppresses cytokine production of T lymphocytes in cells and is speculated to do the same in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (R).
6) Vitamin B12 for the Skin
7) Vitamin B12 has Positive effects in Pregnancy and Lactation
One randomized clinical trial states that oral cobalamin supplementation with 250 μg/day throughout pregnancy and early lactation elevates maternal, fetal, and breast milk vitamin B12 levels (R).
Sources of Vitamine B12
Vitamin B12 Deficiencies
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who are prescribed Metformin, may be at risk for cobalamin deficiency (R).
Maternal cobalamin deficiency is associated with infertility and recurrent spontaneous abortion (R).
Infants born to cobalamin deficient mothers or receiving deficient amounts of animal-sourced foods are susceptible to deficiency between the ages of 6-12 months (R).
Hormonal birth control (oral contraception and DMPA) usage among female subjects reduced B12 levels (R).
Cobalamin deficiency causes hyperhomocysteinemia, which is a proven risk factor for cardiovascular disease (R).
Individuals with cobalamin deficiency have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors such as heart failure, a history of transient ischemic attack, and diabetes mellitus (R).
Deficiency of cobalamin inhibits melanin transfer between melanocytes and keratinocytes, which may cause hyperpigmentation of the skin.
- Genes (notably TCN2) related to cobalamin deficiency may determine clinical manifestations of autoimmune gastritis (R).
- Cobalamin is an indirect precursor (by methionine production in one-carbon metabolism) of the production of (SAM), a universal methyl donor (R, R1, R2, R3, R4).
- Cobalamin facilitates the conversion of methyl malonyl coenzymeA (MMA) to succinyl-CoA (R).
- Histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), may lead to malabsorption of food-bound cobalamin due to inhibited b12 cleavage from dietary proteins (R R1).
- A gene variant CblD (Cobalamin D) is currently speculated to be responsible for the branching of the cobalamin metabolic pathway to the mitochondrion (R).
- TCII-B12, a cobalamin transport protein, delivers cobalamin to the mitochondria where it is used for the production of MMCoAM, a mitochondrial enzyme (R, R1).
- Allodynia is a clinical feature of many painful conditions, such as neuropathies, complex regional pain syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, and migraine.
- Methylcobalamin increases nerve conduction velocity, myelin regeneration, neuronal regeneration, and inhibiting peripheral pain transmission (R, R1, R2, R3).
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Vitamin B12 on SelfDecode
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