Vitamin B12 is a complex compound with some quite complex activities and functions as you can see from the diagram below. I’ll try not to bore you too much with the science, but there are some important things for you to understand about B12 when on a plant based diet.
Why is B12 important?
A unique and complex vitamin, B12 is often referred to as cobalamin due to the fact that it contains a metal ion cobalt. There are various forms of cobalamins, with only two being active as co-enzymes in the human body methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Most supplemental B12 is supplied as cyanocobalamin due to its stability and this must be converted to a biologically active form in the body.
Vitamin B12 is essential for normal blood formation, neural function and growth and is involved in cells’ metabolism, DNA synthesis and regulation.
The diagram below shows how B12 is required for the synthesis of the amino acid methionine which is part of a biological process called methylation. Dysfunction in...