Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) Why is it needed? Vitamin B12 is directly involved in the utilization and excretion of the end products of the metabolism of a number of compounds from the body. Violation of this process with insufficient supply of the body with vitamin B12 leads to the accumulation of abnormal carbon fragments, which, being included in the structure of the outer sheath of the nerves, cause its gradual destruction, resulting in the development of various neurological defects. Also, vitamin B12 is involved in the synthesis of DNA, some amino acids, regulates the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and also activates hematopoiesis. Penetrating from the mother’s blood into the body of the fetus, this vitamin accumulates in its liver, forming a kind of «emergency reserve». This supply is normally enough for a whole year of life after birth. That is why (and also to prevent the development of anemia in the mother) the diet of a pregnant woman should contain an adequate amount of cyanocobalamin. Sources. Vitamin B12 is found only in food of animal origin. Foods high in vitamin B12 include beef liver and meat, fish and seafood, milk, and various varieties of hard and soft cheese. Daily Value The daily requirement of pregnant and lactating women for vitamin B12 is 4 mcg. Usually, its reserves in the human liver are quite enough to protect against the development of beriberi for 1-2 years. However, during pregnancy, all vitamins, including B12, are consumed not only by the woman’s body, but also by the fetus’s body, therefore, with insufficient intake of the vitamin, the expectant mother can very quickly develop its deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency Our body’s need for vitamin B12 is minimal. Nevertheless, a deficiency of this vitamin is very dangerous: it leads to anemia (anemia) and changes in the nervous tissue. External manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency develop gradually. General weakness, fatigue, malaise, bad mood, irritability, loss of appetite, impaired intestinal motility, constipation, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, dizziness, and heart rhythm disturbances appear. In advanced cases, anemia and degeneration of the spinal cord can develop, leading to decreased sensitivity, paralysis, and dysfunction of the pelvic organs. If this condition is not recognized in a timely manner, serious mental disorders can develop, such as multiple sclerosis, a severe nervous disease leading to progressive paralysis. With a constant lack of vitamin B12, the first signs of its deficiency may appear only after a few years. Therefore, the cause of bad mood and irritability over nothing can be sought in irrational nutrition, which caused a lack of this vitamin. Excess Vitamin B12 Although vitamin B12 accumulates in the liver, it is unlikely to overdose, so you should not be afraid to consume foods containing this vitamin at the same time as multivitamin preparations.