Vitamin B12 Facts

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is involved in many body functions, including metabolic reactions, making red blood cells, and maintaining health nerve tissue. Along with Vitamin B6 and folic acid, Vitamin B12 promotes normal homocysteine levels. Excess of homocysteine has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.

Vitamin B12 requirements

The Recommended Daily Allowance is 2.4mg/day for adults. Because 10-30% of older people do not absorb food-bound vitamin B12 efficiently, people over age 50 years meet the RDA by eating foods fortified with B12 or by taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

What happens when Vitamin B12 intake is too high?

There is no Upper Limit of Intake (UL) for Vitamin B12. Some diseases can cause blood levels of Vitamin B12 to be higher than nomal, but they are rare.

What happens when Vitamin B12 intake is too low?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is almost unknown in healthy people because Vitamin B12 is stored and recycled in the body; however, up to 30% of older adults are at risk because they cannot absorb Vitamin B12 in food. Vegan vegetarians are also at risk because Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products. Low levels of Vitamin B12 can produce nerve cell damage, anemia, and high homocysteine levels.

Which foods are high in Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is found in foods of animal origin, like meat, fish, eggs, and milk, and in some fortified ready-to-eat cereals. Brewers yeast may be fortified with Vitamin B12.
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