Vitamin B12 - Necessary for Your Heart and Brain

by Carol Stack - Date: 2007-01-04 - Word Count: 494 Share This!

One of the most overlooked supplements on the market is vitamin B12. The pivotal function of vitamin B12 is to aid in the formation of red blood cells in the human body.

It has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. There are many reasons this is an especially important vitamin to include in your daily diet for your overall good health.

Cobalamin, or more commonly known as the B12 vitamin, is one of the most important nutrients we need in order for our bodies to maintain a normal and healthy daily rhythm. Commonly known as the "anti-stress" vitamin, vitamin B12 is an affiliate of the vitamin B-complex group.

Sources of Vitamin B12

There are a few foods that are rich in vitamin B12, though those foods are likely not on the daily menu of most people. For instance, many of the foods high in B12 content are meats which are avoided by vegetarians.

A valuable source of vitamin B12 is calves' liver (one pound per day), which contains such a high quantity of this vitamin that even people who lack the intrinsic factor can absorb this in sufficient amounts to prevent pernicious anemia (a disease caused by deficiency of this vitamin).

It is also found in fish, eggs, cheese and meat. Cereals that have been fortified with B12 are also a good source. Since it is not found in plants, it is very important that vegetarians supplement their diet with at least 2 to 3 mcg vitamin B12 per day. If vitamin B12 falls short of the required amount, vitamin shots are useful to attain the normal balance.

In combination with other B-group vitamins, vitamin B12 ensures the smooth functioning of vital life processes of the human body. For that reason it is important that vitamin B12 be taken in conjunction with a folic acid supplement and a B-Complex vitamin. Vitamin B12 works together with folic acid to manufacture red blood cells and properly replicate DNA.

Health Problems from a Deficiency

A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to several problems, including pernicious anemia, which is a deficiency of red blood cells. This lack of red blood cells leads to a severe lack of oxygen-carrying ability in the blood cells, causing unusual tiredness and other lethargic symptoms.

The diagnosis of pernicious anemia is often made late in the course of the disease after many people have suffered permanent nerve damage.

A deficiency of B12 can also lead to heart disease, coronary disease, deterioration of the nervous system, and brain damage. A deficiency will cause a difficulty in the regeneration of the myelin sheath that covers the nerve cells in the body. This can be very detrimental to the brain's ability to function properly and your ability to handle stress.

The results from not getting enough vitamin B12 can be very serious, affecting your ability to think, be productive, and fight heart disease. These are all very important reasons to make sure you are getting enough of this very important vitamin.

Related Tags: depression, heart disease, vitamin, vitamin b12, b12

Carol Stack enjoys writing articles. She lives with her husband and three children in the United States. They have a large yard that they are constantly working on to make more beautiful. Her website, covers lawn care, organic gardening, landscaping and more.

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