Last updated: Sep 16, 2018 | 415 Views | Articles
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays essential roles in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA.
Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Because your body is capable of storing several years' worth of vitamin B-12, deficiency is rare. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don't contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.