The B complex vitamins include the group of substances: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), and folate (folic acid). All these vitamins are available in a wide variety of foods, although the body requires only relatively small amounts of them, especially food rich in vitamin B12, B1, B2, and B3.
Food rich in vitamin B12 is very important because vitamin B12, along with B6, is a major contributing factor to the promotion of the body’s metabolism of folic acid. In addition, foods rich in vitamin B12 also contain vital nutrients that play a range of important roles in countless activities, including cellular repair, digestion, the immune system, and the production of energy.
Food rich in vitamin B12 is especially important for fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Thus, deficiency in vitamin B12 results in signs and symptoms that are quite similar to disorders involving high or low levels of fats or carbohydrates in the body. Another likely result of not taking enough food rich in vitamin B12 is anemia since vitamin B12 also plays a significant role in the metabolism of red blood cells.
Correction of deficiency simply means increasing the amount of vitamin B12 that you take. Treating underlying disorders that cause vitamin B12 deficiency in conjunction with the intake of vitamin B12 supplements is also another approach to correcting the deficiency. Moreover, vitamin B12 supplementation seems to alleviate the symptoms of folic acid deficiency. This is, of course, granted that folate supplements are also provided to the patient. The reason for this is that there may be unsuspected B12 deficiency along with the lack of folate and the sudden availability of folate may use up the remaining B12, which is known to potentially be harmful to the nerves of the spinal cord.
The best food rich in vitamin B12 appears to be animal products and yeast extracts. However, there are other sources as well that can be considered as food rich in vitamin B12. These are asparagus, bananas, broccoli, brown rice, cheese, dried apricots, dried dates and figs, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, potatoes, poultry, pulses, red meat, spinach, wheat germ, wholegrain cereals, yeast extract (e.g. Marmite), and yogurt.
Vegetables and plants are not one of the foods rich in vitamin B12, with very little exception. As a result, many vegetarians and especially vegans stand the risk of deficiency in this vitamin. Vegetarians who consume eggs and dairy products will obtain sufficient B12 since these foods contain enough vitamin B12 to prevent deficiency. However, if neither is consumed, especially with regard to strict vegetarians or vegans, B12 supplements need to be considered.