What is Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)?
Cyanocobalamin is one of several forms of cobalamin that fall under the blanket term Vitamin B12. The cobalamin vitamers exert similar effects, but cyanocobalamin is the most stable when exposed to air and the easiest to purify. As indicated by the name, cyanocobalamin contains cobalt. It converts easily into adenosylcobalamin or methylcobalamin upon ingestion—the active forms of vitamin B12.
The body cannot synthesize vitamin B12, but, as an essential vitamin, it’s necessary to sustain life. The body relies on dietary sources of B12 to meet its nutritional needs. Vitamin B12 is the most chemically complex of all vitamins, and it serves numerous biological functions. Some examples include synthesizing DNA, metabolizing fatty acids and amino acids, synthesizing myelin to protect nerves, producing red blood cells, and more. Like all B vitamins, it plays a role in producing energy from food.
What is Mannitol?
Mannitol is a sugar alcohol that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay, raise blood sugar, or contain many calories like regular sugar. It also has anti-caking properties, making it a good option for triturating highly concentrated vitamins. Blending mannitol and cyanocobalamin helps dilute the potency of vitamin B12 for easier supplementation.
Vegan B12 Supplement
Vegans are at greater risk of developing B12 deficiencies, as animal products are the primary sources of vitamin B12. Taking a B12 supplement can help fulfill this nutritional need.
What Causes B12 Deficiency?
Most individuals obtain vitamin B12 through consuming animal products like eggs, red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Certain groups are more susceptible to developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. For example, 20% of adults over the age of 60 have low B12. Medical conditions and lifestyle factors also contribute to B12 deficiencies. These include malabsorptive conditions that impair the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12, such as pernicious anemia, celiac disease, and gastric bypass surgery. Vegans and (to a lesser extent) vegetarians are also at increased risk of developing B12 deficiencies, as most B12 food sources come from animal products. Taking proton pump inhibitors or metformin can also impair B12 absorption.
Vitamin D and B12 Deficiency Together
Research shows a significant link between vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin B12 deficiency. Individuals with low Vitamin B12 often have insufficient vitamin D, too.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Prolonged vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the nervous system and the brain. Even slightly insufficient levels can result in numerous side effects, including tiredness, weakness, faintness, dizziness, balance problems, headaches, breathlessness, mood problems, confusion, memory problems, and paresthesia (e.g., pins and needles sensations).
Vitamin B12 deficiencies can also cause oral health problems, including canker sores, ulcers, and glossitis (shiny, red, and painful tongue). Individuals with B12 deficiency may become pale and notice a yellowing of the skin and eyes. Fatigue is also common.
Best Vitamin B12 Supplement
Cyanocobalamin is the best source of vitamin B12 out of all the cobalamins, as it offers superior stability.
B12 and Folate
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining folate (vitamin B9) levels
. B12 and folate work together to form red blood cells and support iron function.
Potential Vitamin B12 Benefits
Cyanocobalamin ensures the body has an adequate supply of vitamin B12. It’s critical for red blood cell (RBC) formation, and deficiencies can result in bloated, misshapen RBCs. Malformed RBCs have a harder time moving through the bloodstream to deliver oxygen throughout the body.
Vitamin B12 is also a cofactor for enzymes the body needs to synthesize methionine and succinyl-CoA. Methionine is essential for reducing homocysteine levels and methylation reactions, while succinyl-CoA is an important part of the citric acid cycle for energy. Myelin sheath synthesis relies on methylation reactions to protect and insulate nerves.
Vitamin B12 may support several other areas of health. These include DNA preservation, bone health, mood balance, heart health, and ocular health.
Potential Vitamin B12 Side Effects
Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and the body only absorbs a certain amount of it before excreting the excess. As a result, it has remarkably low toxicity. Large B12 doses may cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, or tingling sensations.
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