What is vitamin B12 and why it is so important?

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B vitamins are important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly. Their benefits are varied: convert food into energy, create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, and other body tissues.

There are eight types of B vitamin, each with their own function. Together, they are called the vitamin B complex.

  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • Biotin (vitamin B7)
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

B12 vitamin is one vitamin which is very important from B complex vitamins. Vitamin B12 also called cobalamin is a part of B complex vitamin. Vitamin B12 is crucial for several physiological functions including immunity.


This vitamin is naturally found in animal foods such as:

  • Fish, shellfish
  • Liver
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Enriched soy or rice milk

Recommended daily dosages for B12 vitamin:

  • 5 µg for European adults (EFSA NRV)
  • 4 µg for U.S. adults (RDI)


People who do not eat meat, fish, poultry, or dairy are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin B12, since it is only found naturally in animal products. Studies have shown that vegetarians have low vitamin B blood levels. For this reason, those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet should include B12-fortified foods or a B12 supplement in their diets. Elderly could also be sensitive to vitamin B12 deficiency. Indeed, some constraints in chewing or swallowing, poor diet quality, economic & social factors can lead them deficient in vitamin B12.

Prevalence of B12 deficiency in the US*:

  • 7% in adults between 51 and 70 years old
  • 15% in adults over 70 years old


To maintain a good level of vitamin B12, people who do not eat animal products, such as vegans and vegetarians, could be supplemented with B vitamins fortified yeasts. These nutritional yeasts fortified in B vitamins exist under powder form for food supplement market. Nutritional yeasts from Red Star® brand are suitable for food market thanks to the flake form.

Vitamin B12: a crucial B vitamin for human body

Vitamin B12 is crucial for several physiological functions including immunity, red blood cells production. A good level of B12 vitamin may reduce tiredness and fatigue It is also involved in the synthesis and maintenance of myelin sheath (protective covering for the brain nerves), in the synthesis of DNA and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is particularly important for pregnant women, as the fetus requires adequate vitamin B12 for neurologic development and deficiency can lead to permanent neurological damage.

Thanks to these multiple benefits of this vitamin, B12 vitamin is eligible to several European claims:

  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal function of the immune system
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal red blood cell formation
  • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism


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The information provided here is, to the best of our knowledge, true and accurate. However, our products must only be used in compliance with local laws and regulations. We cannot guarantee the freedom of use for every intended application or country. These statements may not have been evaluated by your local Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. A healthy, balanced and diversified diet should fulfill all nutritional needs.