Vitamin B12 (cobalamine) is stored in the body, a rare phenomenon for a water-soluble vitamin.
Principal natural sources of Vitamin B12
Animal sources: Principally in offal (liver and kidneys), meat (mutton, veal and pork), poultry, fish, crustaceans, dairy products (except butter) and egg yolks.
In nature, Vitamin B12 is mainly synthesised by bacteria or fungi. For products of plant origin to be of interest (few such products contain this vitamin), they therefore need to be cultivated biologically on soil enriched with cobalt or natural fertiliser.
In addition, it can be found in vegetables but in a form that the body does not absorb.
Plant sources: Very small quantities are found in nutritional yeast, certain algae (spirulina), certain cereals (wheat, oats and barley), certain leguminous vegetables (lentils, chickpeas and dried peas), certain dried vegetables and fruit, nuoc-mam (a fish-based sauce) and soya.
Properties of Vitamin B12
It helps reduce fatigue and maintain normal metabolism of energy (capacity of the body to produce sufficient energy to cover its daily needs).
It is involved in the formation of normal red blood cells and in immune system function.
Finally, it plays a part in nervous function system and cell division, and helps maintain normal psychological function.
Recommended Daily Intake
Recommended daily intake varies between 0.4 and 4 mcg daily depending on the population; the recommended average intake has been set at 2.5 mcg daily.
Sufficient Vitamin B12 intake is important for:
- Elderly people
- Pregnant and nursing women
- Vegetarians and especially vegans
- People suffering from malnutrition.