Vitamin B12 belongs to the group of essential substances for humans. It is responsible for the formation and functioning of the nervous system, the regulation of metabolic processes such as fat, protein, carbohydrate, and it is involved in hematopoiesis, as well as in many other processes in the body. Despite the great importance of this Vitamin, not every one of us knows what vitamin B12 is and what it is for.
From the point of view of pharmacology, the concept of vitamin B-12 suggests a whole group of cobalt-containing bioactive substances, which includes cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin, as well as two of its coenzymes – methylcobalamin, and cobamamide. The most commonly used dietary supplements are 2 forms of vitamin B12- cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.
The difference between them is:
- In the structure:- The methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin have a similar structure, but in the first case, the methyl group acts as a molecule attached to the cobalt ion, and in the second, cyanide;
- In Origin – Methylcobalamin is a natural form of the vitamin, and cyanocobalamin is synthetic;
- In Digestibility – Methylcobalamin is absorbed immediately, and cyanocobalamin itself is not biologically active, it is first metabolized into an active form;
- In forms – Cyanocobalamin is converted to methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin (both forms are important for the normal functioning of the body), while Vitamin B12 methylcobalamin has only one form (in fact, methylcobalamin itself);
- In preservation – Methylcobalamin is excreted from the body longer than cyanocobalamin.
Despite the differences, both forms are able to compensate for the deficiency of vitamin B12 and have a full range of B12 effects on the body. This is especially effective when combined with proper, nutritious nutrition, giving up bad habits, and in general, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Benefits of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is involved in most biochemical processes in the body. Among the main useful properties of this substance:
- has regenerative abilities, stimulates tissue renewal;
- Participates in the processes of hematopoiesis, stimulates the production of erythrocytes, leukocytes;
- Improves the state of the cardiovascular system, prevents the development of anemia, helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood;
- Normalizes metabolism (protein, fat, carbohydrate), activates the synthesis of proteins, amino acids, and other substances necessary to maintain health;
- Helps to strengthen the nervous system, favorably affects the state of the brain and nerve fibers;
- It increases mental abilities and physical endurance, improve coordination, sense of balance, and other cognitive functions;
- Normalizes appetite;
- Prevents the accumulation of fats in the liver, prevents the development of hepatosis;
- Strengthens the immune system;
- Fights irritability, nervousness, depression, and stress;
- Promotes the restoration of reproductive functions;
- · Reduces the risk of occurrence (development) of oncological diseases;
- · Improves the condition and appearance of the skin, hair, nails.
Who can take vitamin B12 and when?
Vitamin B12 preparations are recommended when a deficiency of this substance in the body is detected. Deficiency can manifest itself in people:
- not eating livestock products (vegetarians);
- suffering from a violation of the absorption of vitamin B12;
- with diseases of the digestive tract (gastritis, enterocolitis, etc.);
- when infected with parasites;
- with dysbacteriosis, when taking antibiotics;
- alcohol abusers, taking drugs (including painkillers prescribed by a doctor).
Warning symptoms of vitamin B deficiency include:
- Memory impairment, loss of concentration, irritability, nervousness;
- Fatigue, weakness;
- Frequent headaches;
- Loss of appetite;
- Joints and muscles pain;
- · Identification of problems with the heart, blood vessels, the presence of signs of anemia;
- Dry skin, eczema, brittle and dull hair.
If you are at risk and notice signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, see a specialist. He will confirm or refute your suspicions, and in case of a shortage, he will help you choose the most suitable Vitamin B12 supplement for you and prescribe the right dosage.
Even the best vitamin B12 has a number of contraindications that you should definitely familiarize yourself with before using the drug. Among the main ones:
- Hypersensitivity to vitamin B12 or other active substances that make up the drug;
- Thromboembolism, a tendency to form blood clots;
- True polycythemia (erythremia, Wakez’s disease);
With caution and under the supervision of a specialist, dietary supplements with vitamin B12 can be used for:
- The presence of certain oncological diseases, accompanied by megaloblastic anemia;
- · with certain heart diseases (for example, angina pectoris);
- · during pregnancy and lactation.
During pregnancy doctors also prescribe Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic Acid to women for red blood cell production, anemia prevention, neural development, etc.