Vitamins are one of the important constituents of the human diet since they are not synthesised in adequate amounts inside the body.They are required only in small amounts to carry out variety of biochemical functions.
Now coming to vitamin b12, it belongs to vitamin b complex group.One peculiarity of vitamin b12 is that, its found only in foods of animal origin,there is no plant sources of this vitamin.Hence strict veggies are at risk of developing b12 deficiency.
Now lets come to our topic What does vitamin b12 do for the body?
Vitamin b12 carries out various important functions in the body
1.Brain and nervous system
It helps in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system.It helps in the formation of myelin(fatty cover),which acts as an insulator around the neuron.So lack of vit b12 can result in
- Numbness and tingling sensation in fingers and toes
- loss of balance.
- Dementia(loss of memory and thinking).
2.Formation of blood cells
Vitamin b12 helps in the maturation of DNA and hence cell division ultimately leading to formation of blood cells (RBC,WBC,Platelets).So in vitamin b12 deficiency ,RBC count and haemoglobin level will decrease resulting in anemia. So in the absence of vitamin b12 immature large RBC’S are found in the blood called as megaloblast resulting in megaloblastic anemia.
Vitamin b12 combines with intrinsic factor (secreted in the stomach),ultimately is absorbed in the small intestine(ileum).Hence in gastric atrophy(pernicious anemia),gastric surgeries and ileal resection will result in b12 deficiency
3.Regulation of homocysteine levels
Vitamin B12 along with folic acid control homocysteine levels in the body. An excess of homocysteine( an amino acid ), may predispose to heart diseases, stroke, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin b12 helps in carbohydrate and fat metabolism releasing energy.