Vitamins are essential ingredients necessary for almost all our vital functions. They take part in maintaining the general health of the body, ensuring physical and mental development, and strengthening the immune system.
Along with this, the ability of cells and tissues to renew itself and to produce the energy that the body needs is also realized to be accomplished with the contribution of vitamins.
Vitamins with 13 different varieties are divided into two main groups: these are water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamins are group B vitamins and vitamin C.
B group vitamins comprise B1 Thiamine, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B5 Pantothenic acid, B6 Pyridoxine and B12 Cobalamin. Due to its benefits in this crowded family, the most important vitamin is B12 Cobalamin. So, what are the benefits of vitamin B12? What should we know about vitamin B12 deficiency? What foods are the sources of vitamin B12? Let's look closely.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): What is it?
Vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, is mostly stored in the liver and is also known as Cobalamin. The reason why it is called cobalamin is that it also carries the cobalt mineral.
Unfortunately, vitamin B12, which has very important benefits for our health, cannot be produced by the body. It is stored in a small amount in the body and is synthesized only by probiotic bacteria in the large intestine. Since it is synthesized here, it is excreted before it can be absorbed by the body.
Therefore, vitamin B12 should be taken through the foods. The most important source of B12 foods are animal foods.
But there is a point to consider before consuming animal foods: vitamin B12 is heat-resistant. Therefore, food should not be cooked for a long time in order to avoid loss of B12.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin B12?
Vitamins and minerals such as C, E, A, D, B6, B12, Folic acid, Selenium, Zinc, Copper and Iron are important to strengthen the immune system.
The benefits of vitamin B12 are based on the European Union Register for Nutrition and Health.
- Vitamin B12 supports normal functioning of energy production
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in body’s energy production as being involved in the process of converting nutrients.
- Vitamin B12 supports normal functioning of the nervous system
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is an essential vitamin for the proper functioning and development of brain and nerve cells. It plays an important role in the maintenance of the central nervous system, providing fast and effective nerve-impulse conduction.
- Vitamin B12 may help to improve mood
Vitamin B-12 plays a role in synthesizing brain chemicals, that affect mood and other brain functions.
- Vitamin B12 may help red blood cell formation
Vitamin B12 contributes to the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen and carbon dioxide from the lungs to the tissues. It supports the formation of blood cells in the bone marrow.
- Vitamin B12 supports the functioning of the immune system in its normal function
Vitamin B12 helps you keep the immune system in top condition against diseases.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and B9 (Folic Acid) help the immune system to function normally
It contributes to the normal function of red blood cells. In addition, it helps the metabolism to convert the nutrients it consumes into energy. Thanks to these features, it helps the immune system to be ready to fight diseases.
- Vitamin B12 contributes to reducing fatigue and tiredness
- Vitamin B12 plays a role in the process of cell division
Vitamin B12 supports the body's self-renewal and growth.
- Essential for healthy teeth, bones, hair, skin and nails:
According to scientific studies, it shows that sufficient amount of vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining bone mineral density in the body.
What Should We Know About Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
In cases where the body cannot meet as much vitamin B12 as it needs, there is a B12 deficiency. When symptoms of B12 deficiency are observed, a doctor's advice should be taken.
The immune system, teeth, bones, hair, and nail health, nervous system and normal energy production of the body can be negatively affected due to B12 deficiency. In such cases, it is very important to go to the doctor to take the necessary measures. So who are among the risk groups in B12 deficiency?
Those who consume excessive alcohol, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly are among the risk groups of B12 deficiency.
What is the Daily Recommended Amount of Vitamin b12?
Since vitamin B12 cannot be produced in the body, it must be included in metabolism through nutrition. According to the German Nutrition Association (DGE), the daily intake of B12 is 4 micrograms for children 15 years and older and adults.
In pregnant women, daily intake of vitamin B12 is recommended as 4.5 micrograms and during breastfeeding as 5.5 micrograms per day.
The daily need for vitamin B12 varies by age. According to the National Health Institute, the amount of B12 that should be taken daily is as follows:
- 6-month-old babies: 0.4 micrograms (mcg)
- 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
- 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
- 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
- 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
- 14-18 years: 2.4 mcg
- 19 and above: 2.4 mcg
- pregnant women: 2.6 mcg
- lactating women: 2.8 mcg
The body's B12 needs can be met with a balanced and versatile nutrition program. However, since vitamin B12 is found intensely in animal foods, people who do not consume these foods; It is more difficult to meet B12 requirement.
How to Take Daily Vitamin B12
If you do not have a problem with consuming animal foods, you can meet your daily vitamin B12 needs by consuming these foods regularly:
Cheese: Always eat cheese for your breakfast meals. It is also a natural supplement for snacks.
Red meat and fish: Red meat and fish are the foods with the highest concentration of vitamin B12. You can meet your B12 need by consuming red meat and fish several times a week.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
First of all, vitamin B12, unlike other vitamins, is almost nonexistent in fruits and vegetables. Animal foods are the only natural food sources for vitamin B12.
Still, not every animal food is a source of vitamin B12. B12 is abundant in only a small number of foods. Therefore, the right food should be consumed in sufficient quantity. So, what foods are sources of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 Sources: Animal Food
Animal foods such as meat, milk and dairy products are the most valuable B12 sources.
Milk and Dairy Products: Milk, Yogurt, Kefir
Eggs: Chicken, Goose and Duck Eggs
Liver: Chicken, Goose, Duck Liver
Shellfish: Oyster, Mussel, Crab, Lobster
Fish: Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, Bluefish
Red Meat: Beef and Lamb Meat
Animal foods are the richest foods in terms of vitamin B12.
1- Liver and Kidney
The liver, kidneys and lamb are rich in vitamin B12. Did you know that 100 grams of lamb liver meets approximately 3,571% of your daily vitamin B12 need?
Lamb liver also contains important vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of copper, selenium, A and B2.
Oysters, a small sea creature, have really important effects on our health. Rich in nutrients, oysters are a soft and lean protein source, as well as being a rich food source of vitamin B12.
When you consume 20 small oysters, you will meet about 7% of the amount of B12 that should be taken daily. 100 grams of oysters provides approximately 4,12% of the daily value for vitamin B12.
Oysters also provide antioxidant support.
Seafood is really rich in vitamin B12. Sardine, a small and soft-boned freshwater fish, can be a source of B12 that you will love.
Sardine, which is usually sold in canned food, is served with water, oil and various sauces. Sardines contain most of the valuable nutrients.
1 serving of sardines (150 grams) provides approximately 554% of the daily value for vitamin B12. It is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
4- Beef (Steak)
Beef is an excellent food source of vitamin B12. One serving of beef (about 100 grams) contains about 5.9 mcg of vitamin B12. It also contains selenium and zinc, along with vitamins B2, B3 and B6.
5- Tuna Fish
Commonly consumed tuna is a rich food containing protein, vitamins and minerals. One serving (100 grams) of cooked tuna meets 453% of the daily vitamin requirement.
It is also a source of lean protein and contains phosphorus, selenium, vitamins A and B3. A can of tuna (165 grams) provides approximately 115% of your daily value for vitamin B12.
Trout is one of the most beneficial fish species for health. It contains abundant protein, healthy fats and B group vitamins.
One serving of trout (100 grams) provides approximately 312% of the daily value for vitamin B12. Trout also contains minerals such as magnez, phosphorus and selenium.
7- Salmon Fish
Salmon with high amounts of Omega-3 oil is also an excellent source of B vitamins.
One serving (178 grams) of cooked salmon fillet provides approximately 208% of your daily value for vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Can we meet our B12 needs only by consuming foods containing vitamin B12? Some conditions can reduce the body's absorption of B12 (even if we've consumed the right amount of food).
- Stomach and intestinal problems
- Alcohol and cigarette consumption
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Various diseases and some drugs used
- Unhealthy lifestyle
Above factors may adversely affect the body's absorption of vitamin B12. If you think you are having this problem, it is a good idea to get a doctor's advice.