Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin or methylcobalamin, belongs to the vitamin B family. We can find vitamin B12 in some of the foods we consume. It is also available as a dietary supplement.
Vitamin B12 functions as a coenzyme in the metabolism of every human body cell. Among its many important functions, vitamin B12 is often seen as necessary for the synthesis of DNA, the proper formation of our red blood cells, and specific nerve functions.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a variety of foods, including fish, meat such as beef liver, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Some vegan plant-based foods containing vitamin B12 are nutritional yeast, seaweed, and fermented foods.
Vitamin B12 may decrease with age*
Because vitamin B12 absorption may decrease with age, some older adults may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and should include good sources of vitamin B12 in their food regimen.
Most people get enough vitamin B12 from food because it is added to many foods like breakfast cereals.
Why to consume vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 can help support a variety of functions including energy levels, cognitive function, and memory. Additionally, vitamin B12 can play a important role for healthy skin, hair, and nails.*
A study researched the association between vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin deficiencies with premature canities (onset of graying hairs in younger adults).*
Some studies may suggest that vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to some cognitive decline or that it might get affected by current vitamin B12 levels.*
The main food sources of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in many different foods including:
- Other related milk products
Vitamin B12 supplements
While most people get enough vitamin B12 from their diet, certain groups of people may be at risk for deficiency and may need to take supplements. These may include older adults, vegetarians/vegans, pregnant women, and those with malabsorption disorders.
Vitamin B12 supplements are available in several forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, or powders.
If you think you may be deficient in vitamin B12, talk to your doctor about getting your levels checked and whether taking supplements would be right for you.