Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that the body cannot produce. First synthesised by bacteria, it is transmitted throughout the food chain. In humans, it must be obtained from foods of animal origin (which is why vitamin B12 status needs to be monitored in people on strict vegetarian or vegan diets) or from food supplements.
Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of all the body’s cells, in particular via DNA synthesis and certain energy pathways. It is also essential to maintain a healthy nervous system and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of blood cells including red blood cells. A lack of vitamin B12 can also impact the joints; this phenomenon is encountered in certain people following a strict vegan diet and also in the elderly.
It is essential to maintain a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.Vitamins B12 and B9 (folate) are interconnected: they are involved in the same metabolic cycle.