The B complex group of vitamins comprises of various forms of vitamin B. Each of these vitamins performs certain functions which are common to the entire group, and also certain functions which are specific to each vitamin. Cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, is part of the B complex group. Methylcobalamin, is a form of cobalamin that is obtained when there is a chemical bond, formed between cobalamin and a methyl group. Methylcobalamin when synthesized artificially is usually available in the form of red crystals. It finds application in many industrial processes and also in the purification of environment. In the nutraceutical research, a lot of literature is available on the importance of methylcobalamin.
In the human body, it plays a very significant role in performing physiological and metabolic functions. Like all the components of the B complex group, methylcobalamin plays a very important role in maintaining the health of nerves and nerve cells by keeping the integrity of each neuron intact. Apart from this, methylcobalamin is also important to the CNS because it prevents the brain cells from undergoing degeneration due to exposure to certain toxic substances, like glutamate. Since methylcobalamin asserts certain amount of control over the motor functions, physicians use it as supplement in treating motor disorders like Parkinsonism, Multiple Sclerosis. Methylcobalamin is used abundantly by psychiatrists in treatment of mental health conditions which involve a lot of anxiety and stress, since it has natural anxiolytic properties. It induces increased mental concentration and improves memory.
Another system of the human body which benefits a lot from methylcobalamin is the cardio-vascular system. Methylcobalamin performs the function of maintaining the levels of homocysteine to the bear optimum. If homocysteine levels in the blood shoot up, it leads to vascular degeneration which becomes a major cause of cardiac stroke. The hematological system is also quite dependent on methylcobalamin. Vitamin B12, plays an important role in maintaining the structure of the red blood cells. Megaloblastic anemia, which is a very harmful health condition, involves the realignment of the structure of RBCs, so that they become unable to take up sufficient oxygen. This condition can be treated successfully if the patient receives sufficient dosage of vitamin B12 regularly.
The digestive system begins from the oral cavity and ends at the anal cavity. Throughout the system, vitamin B12 asserts its dominance at some level. It has got a healing power over stomatitis, and oral ulcers. It also aids absorption of essential nutrients from the food that is consumed, and helps in improving the digestion.
Vitamin B12 is also known to have immunity boosting powers. Regular consumption of vitamin B12, helps in keeping diseases at bay in general. Though research shows varied data, in absence of any major disease, 1 milligram of Vitamin B12 is sufficient for an adult human daily. Vitamin B12 is synthesized in the human body in a quantity that is adequate to fulfil the daily needs. But in order to replenish the storage, it is essential to eat foods rich in vitamin B12. Foods articles like meat, eggs, dairy and poultry are high sources of vitamin B12. Vegetarians may consume pulses, legumes, green leafy vegetables etc. to fulfill the daily requirement of vitamin B12. But vegetarian sources of Vitamin B12 are not plenty, and they do not fulfil the vitamin requirement greatly. Hence vegetarians are known to become victims of vitamin B12 deficiency far more easily. In such cases supplements in the form of powders or capsules maybe consumed. In cases of severe deficiency, injectable form of vitamin B12 is advised by the physician.
Methylcobalamin is the most preferred form of vitamin B12 because it is bioavailable. This means that it does not need to be simplified chemically in order to be absorbed in the intestine. This property of methylcobalamin is of great importance because it helps in conservation of energy, which would have otherwise been utilized in excess if there was any need to convert methylcobalamin before its absorption.
Chemically, there is just the difference of the presence of methyl group between methylcobalamin and plain cobalamin. However, methylcobalamin performs a functions, which are exclusive to it. It has strong detoxifying properties. We get exposed to many harmful substances in our daily life. These substances include heavy metals like copper, mercury, arsenic, environmental pollutants. It is essential to get rid of all these toxic substances form the body. Methylcobalamin performs this function very efficiently.
Though it is very important for good health, it is essential to limit the consumption of methylcobalamin up to a certain limit. Excessive consumption has its side effects. A person who is experiencing symptoms of overdose of methylcobalamin, will have bouts of headache, itching and swelling of the body. Even more dosage will tend to development of severe symptoms like lowered potassium, anaphylaxis, congestive cardiac failure.
Methylcobalamin has one very unique feature. Like all the other components of the b complex group, it helps to overcome side effects of excessive alcohol intake, but its own effect also gets reduced if excess of alcohol is consumed. This is a contradictory feature. So patients who are on methylcobalamin treatment must strictly avoid alcohol consumption.
Nutraceutical companies are currently doing a lot of research on methylcobalamin and its utility. Common man must be made aware of the importance of consumption of methylcobalamin in optimal quantities. This is the best way to tackle vitamin deficiency and ensure good health.