Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

Works closely with folic acid in the body for many processes including synthesis of DNA, red blood cells and the myelin sheath. The stomach secretes intrinsic factor (IF) to absorb the small amounts of B12 found in food.

Deficiency

Stored (even though water soluble), in liver kidney and body tissues. May take 5 – 6 years before deficiency signs show due to low diet intake, or lack of IF. Pernicious anaemia, impaired nerve function causing numbness, pins and needles or burning, depression in the elderly. Smooth, red tongue and diarrhoea. Common in vegans. (Murray 2001)

Dosage
Vegetarians 100 mcg daily

Main Uses
AIDS – deficiency often present, in vitro B12 reduces HIV replication.
Impaired mental function – senility, Alzheimer’s, where there is deficiency.
Asthma – improvement in symptoms where related to sulphite sensitivity.
Depression – increase in deficiency especially in elderly. (Braun and Cohen 2005)
Low sperm count – because reduced cellular replication, also improves sperm motility.
Multiple sclerosis – usually low, demylination of nerve fibres.
Tinnitis – stabilises neural activity.

Safety
No side effects reported.