The various biomolecules of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins etc. form the basic building blocks of life. Vitamins are organic compounds very important for the growth and development of a person. It has been categorized into Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K. Vitamin B has been further classified into Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12.Vitamin B12 is very important for the proper growth and development of the nervous and circulatory system.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin which has got the most complex chemical structure. It is often referred to as Cobalamin because of the presence of small amounts of Cobalt in it. During digestion, B12 attaches itself to the protein and is then absorbed by the blood stream in combination with the intrinsic factor which is the substance released by the stomach cells.
Importance of Vitamin B12:
1) It is responsible for the formation of red blood cells in our body.
2) It is also involved in the metabolism of each and every cell in our body.
3) It combines with the folate in formation of DNA.
4) It produces energy and synthesizes fatty acids in our body.
5) Maintains the health of nerve cells and nervous system.
6) It aids a lot towards the development of children.
Deficiency of Vitamin B12:
Since it is involved in the most vital bodily functions, the deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause severe damage to the body. Since it maintains the health of nerve cells, even a slight deficiency of the vitamin may lead to fatigue, memory loss and depression. It can also cause pernicious anemia which destroys the ability of stomach cells to produce intrinsic factor. Deficiency of B12 or folate leads to poor synthesis of DNA cells in the body which can lead to megaloblastic anemia. Cardiovascular diseases are also caused due to this deficiency.
Sources of Vitamin B12:
Since vitamin B12 is mostly synthesized by bacteria, it is found in egg, meat, fish and dairy products. Certain plants also possess B12 but they are not fit for human digestion. Hence for vegetarians, the sources of B12 are pretty much man-made. Some fortified foods have been developed especially for this purpose.
People at risk:
Any person having an unbalanced diet is at a huge risk of deficiency. Elderly parents, vegetarians, lactating and pregnant mothers are at a greater risk than others. They should consume the food rich in Vitamin B12.
The Importance of Vitamin B12 for the human metabolism is something that can never be overlooked. Each and every person needs a healthy nervous system for survival. A proper functioning of brain is very necessary as far as the daily routine is concerned. A few people may still suffer from the deficiency which may lead to diseases like anemia. For such men and women, it is necessary to take proper precautions in the early days when the symptoms get clear. This saves the irreparable damage that a person might suffer if proper steps are not taken to prevent the deficiency.