UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What is vitamin B12 and why is it so important?
Answer 1:

Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) is a large and complex molecule that has a tetrapyrrole ring that binds to cobalt, an essential human micronutrient. We do not produce Vitamin B12, it is produced by certain microrganisms. We therefore depend on microbes for our daily cobalamin supply; we get 5-30 micrograms from the food we eat, and a small amount is produced by the microbes that live in our intestines. A normal human has 2-5 mg of Vitamin B12 in the body, most of it is in the liver and kidneys. The amount of cobalamin required to maintain normal levels is 2-5 micrograms per day and if we do not get vitamin B12, deficiency symptoms will develop after several years. Cobalamin deficiency leads to neurological abnormalities and anemia. Therefore, vitamin B12 appears to be important for brain function and blood production. Researchers are still investigating exactly how vitamin B12 works at the cellular level.

I hope that helps.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use