The Ortho Molecular Answer

Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)


  • Vitamin B12 works with folic acid in many body processes including the synthesis of DNA, red blood cells, and the insulation sheath (myelin sheath) that surrounds the nerve cells and speeds the conduction of the signals along nerve cells.


  • In order to absorb b12 found in food the stomach secretes intrinsic factor, a special digestive secretion that increases the absorption of b12 in the small intestine.


Food sources


  • Found in significant quantities only in animal foods. (liver kidney, eggs, fish, cheese and meat.


  • B12 is stored in the liver, kidney and other body tissues.  Deficiency symptoms may not show themselves until 5 to 6 years of poor dietary intake or deficiency in intrinsic factor secretion. 


  • Pernicious anemia is classic deficiency symptom.


  • Deficiency results in impaired nerve function causing numbness, pins and needle sensations, or a burning feeling. 


  • Impaired mental function that in elderly mimics Alzheimer's disease.  Common in elderly and major cause of depression in this age group.


  • Smooth beefy red tongue and diarrhea.  This occurs because rapidly reproducing cells such as those that line the mouth and entire gastrointestinal tract cannot replicate without vb12.  Folic acid supplementation masks this deficiency symptom.


  • Measuring level in blood or methylmalonic acid in the urine is the best method to determine deficiency.


  • Schilling test is to determine the right level of intrinsic factor secretion.


  • Studies suggest the level of b12 decreases with age, deficiency found in up to 42 percent of people over 65


  • Is easily treatable and if left can cause impaired mental function and neurological impairment.




  • Acts as a methyl donor....a compound that carries and donates methyl groups to other molecules, including cell membrane components and neurotransmitters. 


  • B12 is involved in homocysteine metabolism and plays a critical role in proper energy metabolism, immune function and nerve function.


  • Homocysteine is a factoring the progression of both atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.  Elevated levels in homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack.


  • All three b vitamins are interconnected and as such it is often suggested to supplement all 3.


Principal Uses


  • Used in many conditions including aids, impaired mental function in elderly, asthma, depression, diabetic neuropathy, low sperm counts, ms, and tinnitus.