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Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Found in:

Beef, beef liver, blue cheese, clams, dairy products, eggs, flounder, herring, liverwurst, mackerel, milk, oysters, sardines, snapper, and Swiss cheese.

What is known to be good for:

Vitamin B12 cures pernicious anemia, and generally alleviates tiredness, a sluggish memory, and lack of concentration. Interestingly, 10 to 20% of the elderly are deficient in B12, which may explain some of their mental and physical decline. Preliminary evidence suggests that B12 supplements may improve sperm activity and sperm count and perhaps treat male infertility.

Other functions of Vitamin B12:

Growth and development of nerve, skin, hair, and blood cells. Produces genetic material, metabolizes amino and fatty acids, works to release food energy, helps treat Alzheimer's disease, may help sufferers of nervous disorders, could improve immune system, may see increase in energy and memory.

Lack of Vitamin B12 can:

Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, sore mouth, diarrhea, abnormal gait, loss of sensation in hands and feet, confusion, memory loss, and depression. The lack of vitamin B12 can cause the body's immune system to attack the lining of the stomach. This damage decreases the amount of intrinsic factor made by the stomach lining, consequently the vitamin B12 is not absorbed in the bloodstream, and the end result is called pernicious anemia.

Do you know where you find Vitamin B12 in your body?

Bloodstream and stomach.

Storage and manipulation of suppliers of Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is relatively stable during the normal cooking process, but is destroyed by heating in acid and alkali.

Absorption, Storage and Excretion

It is absorbed toward the end of the intestine and circulates in the bloodstream. It is stored in the liver and is secreted by the biliary system. The losses of vitamin B12 via the urine and feces are very small (vegetarians should be cautions because they do not realize the deficiency until later).


Nutrition for Life, The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and reaching your healthy weight, LisaHark, PhD, RD and Darwin Deen, MD

HEINZ HANDBOOK Of Nutrition, 9th EDITION, Edited by David L. Yeung, Ph.D. and Idamarie Laquatra, Ph.D., R.D.

Adapted by Editorial Staff, April 2007
Last update, August 2008


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