Vitamin B12 is a B complex vitamin that contains cobalt and hence is also known as cobalamin. This vitamin plays a major role in formation of red blood cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system. It is also necessary for the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division.
Vitamin B12 help in rapid ‘synthesis of DNA’ at the time of cell division – a process that holds high importance in bone marrow tissues which are responsible for the formation of red blood cells.Hence vitamin B12 deficiency leads to abnormal DNAs and leads to formation of abnormal cells named megaloblasts. The nervous system is insulated by a fatty sheath called myelin sheath.
Vitamin B12 has a major role in metabolizing the fatty acids which are essential for maintaining the myelin sheath in good condition. Thus vitamin B12 deficiency can results in degeneration of nerves and irreversible neurological damage.
Vitamin B12 is synthesized by bacteria and hence is naturally available from animal products such as milk, egg, meat etc. There is no risk in consuming excess vitamin B12 as that which isn’t absorbed will either be stored in the liver up to one year for future use, or excreted.
Foods Rich with Vitamin B12
Liver of most of the animals has abundance of vitamin B12 and animals whose liver has highest concentration of Vitamin B12 include lamb, veal, beef, turkey, moose, goose, duck etc. Lamb liver contains almost 85.7 microgram vitamin B12 per 100 gram serving.
Clams, mussels, oyster etc are rich sources of vitamin B12 and clams provide the highest amount around 98.9 microgram per 100 gram serving.
Besides having low cholesterol and good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, fish contain vitamin B12 also. Mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, bluefish etc are ideal sources.
Fish eggs are ideal source of this vitamin and the eggs of white fish contain maximum vitamin B12 that is 53 microgram per 100 gram.
Chicken eggs contain comparatively less vitamin B12 about 1.29 microgram/100 gram serving.Of this the raw yellow yolk contain maximum of about 1.95 micrograms. While goose and duck eggs contain more vitamin B12.
Similarly octopus, crab, lobster, lamb, beef etc also contain this vitamin. Cheese, yogurt, skim milk, butter milk etc are also good sources of B12 vitamin. Synthetic forms of this vitamin are also available in the form of fortified cereals, energy bars, soy milk, yeast extract, vegetable or sunflower margarines etc.
Take vitamin B12 rich foods and keep your body healthy and functioning.