In 1948, scientists were successful in identifying a nutritional substance in calf’s liver that could prevent pernicious anemia, a potentially deadly disorder that mainly affects older adults. The compound, vitamin B12 (or cobalamin), turned out to be the last vitamin to be discovered. Other groups are also at particular risk for a deficiency: those with ulcers, Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal disorders, and those taking medication for epilepsy, chronic heartburn or gout. Heavy drinkers are likely to have low levels of Vitamin B12, because excessive alcohol consumption hinders the nutrient’s absorption. People who don’t eat any animal products (vegans) are also at risk. A deficiency can cause fatigue, depression, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet due to nerve damage. Not only does Vitamin B12 help in the formation of healthy red blood cells, it is also involved in the maintenance of the myelin sheath that enables nerves to function properly. We also need this vitamin for cell replication, energy metabolism, and to create DNA and RNA In cells. Vitamin B12 is the only B vitamin that the body stores in substantial amounts.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.