Vitamin B12: Chemistry, Sources, Absorption, Storage, Excretion and Functions


Before starting a Pharmacology of Vitamin B12, let’s get some ideas about what is Vitamin B12?

What is vitamin B12?

It is a water soluble vitamin and synthesizes by the fungus that is “Streptomyces griseus”. B12 is most required by our body for red blood cells formation. It also contributes to the regular brain and nervous functions.

It is also known as Cyanocobalamin or Cobalamin. We think you have heard of these two names but we are pretty sure you are not knowing another name that is “Rubramine”. It is called Rubramine because of its red color.

Chemistry of vitamin B12

It is made up of C63H88O14N14PCo and is a very complicated formula. It is water soluble in nature and is also a thermostable vitamin. Vitamin b12 contains cobalt. Cobalt is red in color and hence it is red.

What are the sources of vitamin B12?

B12 forming bacteria

Naturally, it can be found in human because of some prokaryotes bacteria or archaea present in gut forms or produce the b12. Vitamin b12 deficiency occurs due to a failure of absorption of b12 produced by these bacteria inside the gut.

Non-vegetarian sources

The main source of vitamin b12 is from non-vegetarian food. Vitamin B12 most commonly found in animal organ or tissues such as liver, kidney, muscle, eggs etc. An animal with high vitamin b12 levels are calves, fishes, crabs, etc.

Vegetarian sources

Animal milk, cheese, yogurt are the main vegetarian sources of b12. Surprise and thinking how it is possible? It is possible because animal milk contains some amount of b12 and so the dairy products.

Vitamin B12 absorption, storage, and excretion

It is the extrinsic factor and when it is inside the gut it binds with the intrinsic factor present in the gastric juice. This gastric juice is then absorbed by the jejunum (part of the gut) and then it is stored in the liver. An excess amount of vitamin b12 is excreted out of the body through the urine and stool.

Functions of vitamin B12

Functions of b12 include:

  • It helps in the formation of the Red blood cells inside the body. It also helps in the formation of White blood cells and T cells.
  • The presence of required amount of b12 can cure the Pernicious anemia.
  • Vitamin b12 supports in a regulation of the brain and nervous functions in our body.
  • Carbohydrates to lipid formation inside our body are stimulated by the b12.
  • B12 is used in the DNA metabolism.

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Dr Lifesaving

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