Our body needs vitamin B12 to function correctly and healthily, both in the neurons and in the red blood cells. To all this we must add that it is a vitamin that also plays a part in the construction of DNA, which is the genetic material of which the cell consists.
The properties of this vitamin are perfect to avoid a type of anemia, the one called megaloblastic anemia, whose main effect is that of continuous tiredness and a continuous body weakness.
There is a false myth related to vitamin B12 and alcohol, and many people think that this vitamin is able to prevent any kind of hangover and alcohol-related effects, but scientists have proved this to be false.
The normal thing in case of alcoholic coma is that in the hospital the doctors in charge of the patient give him a mixture of glucose with vitamins B1, B6 and B12, but at no time does this remove the hangover.
On the other hand, our body acquires vitamin B12 correctly in two steps: the stomach starts by taking care of separating it from the food, and then goes on to produce an “intrinsic factor” protein, which combines with B12 and together they are absorbed properly.
With what is known as pernicious anemia, some people cannot produce intrinsic factor, so they do not absorb this type of vitamin properly.
What is the proper amount of this vitamin?
The National Institute of Health of the United States establishes the necessary amount of vitamin B12 that a person should consume daily, depending on factors such as age or sex:
Stage of life
Infants up to 6 months of age
Infants 7 to 12 months of age
Children 1 to 3 years old
Children 4 to 8 years of age
Children 9 to 13 years of age
Adolescents 14 to 18 years of age
Pregnant women and adolescents
Breastfeeding women and adolescents
There are many symptoms related to vitamin B12 deficiency: tiredness, loss of appetite, weakness, weight loss or megaloblastic anemia. But not only that, there are also neurological problems that can develop, such as numbness in hands and feet.
In babies, a lack of this vitamin can influence growth and development, as well as cause problems related to coordination and movement.
In which foods can I find vitamin B12?
After learning about the functions of this vitamin in human beings, it is necessary to know in which foods we can find it naturally, in order to avoid any type of deficiency of this vitamin in our body.
Vitamin B12 is generally found in foods of animal origin and in certain foods fortified with it added. However, plant foods do not naturally contain it. The most suitable foods to obtain this vitamin are:
Beef liver and clams, which are the best sources of vitamin B12.