Vitamina B12: dove, come, quando e... perchè?

Vitamin B12: where, how, when and ... why?

We talked about the vegetarian diet and the vegan diet and we have seen how in both cases it is necessary to combine this type of diet with the integration of some vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin B12, which are difficult to take for those who choose not to consume foods of animal origin. Let's see together why!

Vitamin B12 was isolated and crystallized in 1948, although to date there are still numerous studies aimed at discovering in detail its chemical properties and above all its effects on our body. Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, falls into the category of water-soluble vitamins and unlike most other vitamins of this type, it is stored primarily in the liver until required by the body.

This vitamin is very important for our body because it is involved in fundamental processes for our survival, for example:

  • It is an essential cofactor for the functioning of enzymes involved in the metabolism of amino acids, nucleic acids and fatty acids;
  • plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow through the regulation of hemoglobin synthesis.
  • It is necessary for the central nervous system as it is involved in the construction of the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves.

Where can we find it?

Vitamin B12 in active form, and therefore absorbable by man, is found only in foods of animal origin such as meat and its derivatives, fish and crustaceans, eggs and milk and derivatives. From these foods the amount of vitamin absorbed by our body can vary from 30% to 80% of the total content and also it must be considered that about 30% of it is lost with cooking.

A very common myth is that vitamin B12 can be obtained from plant sources such as some algae and yeast but also some foods of oriental origin such as tempeh (derived from soybeans) and Kombucha (Chinese tea). In reality these foods contain compounds analogous to B12 but in an inactive form and which therefore are not assimilable by our body.

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