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B12 Vitamin: Risks and Benefits Essay

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Updated: Jul 10th, 2021

Introduction

There are many ways for people to improve their health, stabilize vital signs, and control or prevent diseases and complications. Vitamins turn out to be a good source of natural help, and it is necessary to know about their functions, mechanisms of actions, and sources. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that contributes to blood cell formation, the work of the nervous system, and metabolism (Ritter et al. 338). In other words, to function properly, the body needs of vitamin B12 that can be obtained from meat, fish, and different dairy products. In this research paper, special attention will be paid to vitamin B12, its mechanism of action, administration, and sources in order to identify possible risks and benefits associated with this substance.

Mechanism of Action and Administration

Vitamin B12 is characterized by a number of positive qualities and outcomes for human health. The recommended dose of vitamin B12 for humans is 2-3 mg per day (Ritter et al. 338). There are two major chemical reactions that may be provoked by this vitamin. The first reaction includes the conversion of methyl-FH4 to FH4 due to its metabolic activities and relation to DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 lowers the level of plasma homocysteine concentration and predicts unpleasant vascular effects (Ritter et al. 338). This vitamin becomes a methyl donor for the body, and its deficiency may result in depleting the folate polyglutamate enzymes that play a crucial role in DNA synthesis. Ritter et al. also identified another mechanism of action that is connected to the isomerization of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA (338). This process contributes to converting propionate to succinate and the possibility of cholesterol and other fatty acids to produce more energy. Due to its malabsorption, injections are recommended as the best administration method. As a rule, no unwanted or harmful effects are observed in patients, and long-term therapy with vitamin B12 is prescribed.

Sources

Animals are the major sources for vitamin B12 synthesis, and plants are not appropriate for this procedure. The meat (particularly, liver), eggs, and milk of such animals like cows or sheep turn out to be good sources of this substance (Watanabe and Bito 148). These animals are herbivores, meaning that they eat plants (e.g., grass) that is free of B12. In their stomachs, there are several chambers with a number of microorganisms, and one of them is B12-synthesizing bacteria (Watanabe and Bito 149). As soon as vitamin B12 is absorbed, it is transferred into the blood and saved in the liver, animal muscles, or milk (Watanabe and Bito 149). Finally, B12 can be present in dietary supplements, medications, and natural food.

Risks and Benefits

As a part of a large vitamin group, B12 has its strong and weak aspects. For example, it aims at converting energy from food and stabilizes the work of the body. Increased blood circulation, the formation of DNA, and prevention of brain atrophy are three more positive outcomes of taking vitamin B12. In addition, people who take this vitamin regularly report reduced eye problems and depression cases. At the same time, people should remember that interaction of B12 with other drugs is not completely studied, and diabetic or chronic patients may be at risk.

Conclusion

In general, regarding all positive and negative aspects of vitamin B12, this substance remains an important component of a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to find this vitamin in everyday products and consume them carefully. B12 has a number of positive outcomes of the nervous system, blood circulation, and mental health. Vitamin deficiency is possible and results in certain psychological, physical, and nervous problems. Still, its recognition on early stages and effective treatment can be offered to any patient.

Works Cited

Ritter, James M., et al. Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology. 9th ed., Elsevier Health Science, 2018.

Watanabe, Fumio, and Tomohiro Bito. “Vitamin B12 Sources and Microbial Interaction.” Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 243, no. 2, 2018, 148-158.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "B12 Vitamin: Risks and Benefits." July 10, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/b12-vitamin-risks-and-benefits/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'B12 Vitamin: Risks and Benefits'. 10 July.

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