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What is vitamin B12 and how does its absorption work

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin, which is particularly important for vegans. We have therefore developed our Vitamin B12 lozenges for you. In today's blog post, you can read about the functions of vitamin B12 in the human body and why supplementing our lozenges makes sense.

The vitamin belongs to the family of B vitamins, which the body cannot produce itself and therefore needs to be taken in with food. Although bacteria in the lower intestinal regions can produce vitamin B12, the body cannot utilise this source sufficiently. The vitamin produced by the intestinal bacteria is therefore excreted in the faeces.

Directories of contents:
  • Functions of vitamin B12
  • How does vitamin B12 absorption work?
  • Vitamin B12: content in food
  • Vitamin B12 lozenges
  • How does a vitamin B12 deficiency manifest itself?
  • Vitamin B12 has numerous applications
  • Functions of vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is involved in numerous processes in the human body. As a coenzyme, it performs a variety of tasks in the organism. It is essential for building up the nervous system and also performs metabolic, detoxification and haematopoietic functions.

    Some functions at a glance:

    • Degradation of certain fatty acids
    • Conversion of folic acid into the active form
    • Formation of red blood cells
    • Synthesis of DNA
    • Degradation of homocysteine
    • Synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters

    How does vitamin B12 absorption work?

    Absorbed free vitamin B12 is already bound by proteins found in saliva, the haptocorrins. In the small intestine, the haptocorrin compound is then cleaved and vitamin B12 is attached to the intrinsic factor. In the last section of the small intestine, the complex of vitamin B12 and intrinsic factor binds to the receptors on the cells of the intestinal mucosa. The vitamin then passes through the cells of the intestinal mucosa into the blood, where it is bound to the transport protein transcobalamin.

    With normal production of the intrinsic factor protein, only a maximum of 1.5 µg is absorbed from orally administered vitamin B12 with the help of the intrinsic factor, despite high doses, as the receptors on the intestinal mucosa are limited. At normal doses, about1 % is absorbed into the blood via passive diffusion. However, the diffusion-related proportion increases with increasing dose. After oral administration of 1 mg vitamin B12, 86% is already absorbed via diffusion. The single dose should therefore be very high so that absorption occurs increasingly via passive diffusion. This is why our vitamin B12 lozenges have a concentration of 500 µg per tablet! People who lack the intrinsic factor can therefore also cover their vitamin B12 requirements with high-dose tablets. In the case of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, however, vitamin B12 injections should be used, as the vitamin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and the body's stores are filled more quickly than with oral intake.

    Vitamin B12: content in food

    Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal foods. Only a small amount is found in plant-based foods. Only fermented foods such as sauerkraut, beer, possibly tuber and root vegetables and some algae contain very small amounts. Vitamin B12 supplementation therefore makes sense for vegans in particular.

    Vitamin B12 lozenges

    Brand new for you in the shop: our Vitamin B12 lozenges. Our lozenges are highly dosed and therefore cover the daily requirement of vitamin B12. The active ingredient methylcobalamin is a natural coenzyme that the body utilises directly.

    Our vitamin B12 lozenges are characterised by their easy handling and delicious cherry flavour. They are also 100% vegan.

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    Note: Absorption via the oral mucosa is only possible in small quantities!

    Safe intake

    There are no known harmful effects of an overdose (not even with long-term overdose). Even in animal experiments, a 1000-fold excess of the requirement did not lead to any side effects. This is because unused vitamin B12 is excreted unutilised by the body.

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    How does a vitamin B12 deficiency manifest itself

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    Vitamin B12 can be stored in the liver and muscles. The total body stock is around 3-5 mg, so the reserves can last for several years and symptoms of deficiency only become noticeable years later.

    Symptoms of a deficiency can include anaemia, which is accompanied by pallor and fatigue, tongue burningtingling  in the nerve area, unsteady gaitfeelings of numbnessconfusion and concentration problems may occur. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to folic acid deficiency .

    A deficiency is more common in Germany than assumed. Alcohol, cigarette smoke and medication hinder the absorption of vitamin B12. People with liver and intestinal diseases also have a significantly reduced absorption capacity, as the vitamin can no longer be stored in the former condition and the transport capacity of the intrinsic factor protein is significantly reduced in the latter. Especially in older people, permanent B12 supplementation is often recommended. This is because intestinal absorption is severely restricted with increasing age and the requirement can no longer be met through food. Vegans should also use dietary supplements such as our Vitamin B12 lozenges because they do not eat animal products.

    Important: Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers have an increased vitamin B12 requirement.

    Vitamin B12 has numerous areas of application

    Vitamin B12 is a true all-rounder and is therefore used for a wide variety of diseases. As it is particularly important for the nervous system, it can alleviate the symptoms and pain of nerve diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Vitamin B12 intake also leads to an improvement in the sense of touch in diabetics . As a deficiency can lead to concentration problems and confusion, a sufficient supply is likely to have a positive effect on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Together with vitamins B2, B6 and folic acid, the vitamin can lower homocysteine levels and therefore has an impact on diseases associated with high homocysteine levels. These include arteriosclerosis.

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