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Vitamin B12 Cobalamin
Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12 (also called cyanocobalamin), works with other B vitamins to turn food into energy. It also guards against heart disease, mental disorders, and anaemia, and keeps your immune system strong.
Vitamin B12 is needed to form healthy blood cells; red blood cells to supply the body with oxygen, and white blood cells to fight against infection. It is also needed to make myelin, a protective fatty layer that coats nerve cells and keeps electrical impulses moving through the body.
Without enough vitamin B12 the nervous system can "short out" and cause interruptions in mental function - symptoms of B12 deficiency can be so severe that they actually mimic senility. Vitamin B12 helps prevent nerve damage and maintain fertility, and is needed for production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enhances memory and learning.
Vitamin B12 works closely with folic acid ( vitamin B9) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) to convert food into energy. It also works with these B vitamins to protect your heart by removing homocysteine from the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in meats that causes blood cells to clump together and cling to arterial walls. Too much homocysteine in the system can damage arterial walls and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition that often leads to early heart attack.
Vitamin B12 is found only in foods such as liver, eggs, fish, meat, dairy products and, of course, in supplements. Soybeans, brewer's yeast, cheese, milk and yoghurt all contain vitamin B12, as do certain sea vegetables, such as dulse, kelp, kombu, and nori. B12 is also available in the herbs alfalfa, bladderwrack, and hops.
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