Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin or the red vitamin, belongs to the large B group of vitamins and, like other vitamins of the group, it has a very beneficial effect on the functioning of the nervous, digestive and circulatory systems.
Cobalamin ensures mental health and increases stress resistance. It contributes to the improvement of the mood, memory and mental clarity. Maintaining the right level of cobalamin in the organism can protect you from mental and neurodegenerative illnesses (such as Alzheimer's disease).
The "red vitamin", as its common name suggests, has a strong effect on the circulatory system, stimulating the production of healthy red blood cells and haemoglobin. Its deficiency causes incorrect red blood cell development, which can lead to a dangerous condition called pernicious anaemia. Cobalamin also takes part in many metabolic processes, prevents the feeling of fatigue and weakness.
Vitamin B12 is successfully used in fighting the diseases of the cardiovascular system. It protects blood vessel walls from damage and harmful cholesterol deposits and reduces the level of homocysteine - an amino acid which is a relevant risk factor of heart attacks, strokes and cerebral haemorrhages.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are very common and it is estimated that less than 20% of the population has the right level in the blood. As it occurs naturally mainly in foods of animal origin, its supplementation is obligatory for vegetarians. However, considering all its healthy properties, it should be consumed by virtually everyone.
While choosing a vitamin B12 supplement, you should pay attention to two issues: the dosage, which has to be high enough (absorbing cobalamin is a very complex process), and the right form, which will ensure the right bioavailability of the substance.
The active form of vitamin B12, which doesn't have to be transformed in the organism and is thus the most absorbable, is methylcobalamin. Vitamin B12 also occurs in supplements in the form of cyanocobalamin, which has to be subjected to some transformations in the organism in order to fulfil its tasks. The cycle is complicated, so the effects of cyanocobalamin therapy are visible only after some time and they are not as spectacular as in the case of methylcobalamin.