Vitamin B12 is chemically the most complex of all vitamins and structurally closely related to the red blood pigment haem. Its basic structure is a corrin ring system consisting of four pyrrol rings with cobalt as the central atom. A residue is linked to the cobalt atom. Depending on the type of substituents, differentiation is made between the following:
- Cyanocobalamin is of synthetic origin and, due to its stability in processing and minimal production costs, is often used in medicines and dietary supplements.
- Hydroxocobalamin contains a hydroxyl group as a residue and is naturally occurring.
- Aquocobalamin with water as a compound residue; has good storage properties and represents a type of repository.
The above-mentioned compounds are themselves biologically inactive but can be converted in the body into the proper active forms of B12 – methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Vitamin B12 is only formed by bacteria and some algae but not by plants or animals and is essential for humans.
Functions of vitamin B12
Both of the biologically active forms of vitamin B12 are the coenzymes methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. As a neurotropic vitamin, B12 contributes towards the normal functioning of the nervous system and mental function as well as towards the reduction in tiredness and fatigue and normal energy metabolism. Further functions of vitamin B12 include:
- Immune system. The activity of the immune cells is dependent on vitamin B12. The micronutrient thus plays a part in the normal function of the immune system.
- Formation of cells. Vitamin B12 performs a role in cell division and supports the normal formation of red blood cells.
- Homocysteine metabolism. Homocysteine is a metabolic proteolysis product which accrues in the body and damages the cell structures. The breakdown of homocysteine occurs with the help of methycobalamin such that vitamin B12 contributes to a normal homocysteine metabolism.
- Vitamin B12 works closely with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B2 in the metabolism.
- Foods contain a large proportion of vitamin B12 in protein-bound form. The body is only able to use B12 in its free form.
- A special absorption process is present for vitamin B12. Several transport proteins are involved which are released by the salivary glands, stomach and the pancreas.
Information on production technology
- Because of the higher bioavailability, Intercell Pharma predominantly uses vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin.
- The galenic processing of methylcobalamin at INTERCELL Pharma is carried out using a special mixing and processing technology. The physical/chemical integrity of the sensitive vitamin B12 crystals are thus guaranteed up to and including filling into the capsules.
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