Health experts set a higher daily vitamin B12 requirement as a new guideline

Health experts set a higher daily vitamin B12 requirement as a new guideline

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New reference value for vitamin B12 intake: not only essential for vegans

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) has revised the reference value for vitamin B12 intake together with the nutrition companies from Austria and Switzerland. The derived estimate for an adequate intake for adults is 4.0 µg per day higher than the previously recommended intake of 3.0 µg per day.

Vitamin B12 is known primarily as a critical nutrient for vegans. It is only found in sufficient quantities in animal foods. Therefore, vegans have to take a vitamin B12 supplement permanently to avoid deficits. But even vegetarians sometimes take in too little vitamin B12. Especially when there is an increased need for nutrients, e.g. B. during pregnancy and breastfeeding, vegetarians should make sure that they have an adequate intake of vitamin B12 and, if necessary, also take vitamin B12 supplements. Regardless of the intake, gastrointestinal diseases such as persistent gastritis, Crohn's disease and some medications can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Removal of parts of the stomach or intestines can also make absorption difficult. Older people in particular have an increased risk of insufficient intake of the vitamin from food.

Vitamin B12 is vital and u. a. involved in cell division, blood formation, DNA synthesis and the breakdown of fatty acids and amino acids such as homocysteine. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, neurological disorders and psychological abnormalities such as fatigue and depressive moods.

To ensure an adequate supply of vitamin B12, the DGE recommends eating milk and milk products, eggs, fish, seafood, poultry and lean meat on a regular basis. A supply of vitamin B12 only with plant-based foods is not possible. The estimate can be achieved, for example, with a small glass of milk, a mug of yoghurt, an egg and 60 g of Camembert.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is the collective term for different compounds with the same biological effect and the same basic chemical structure with a cobalt ion in the center. The compounds are therefore also called cobalamins. Cobalamines are formed exclusively by microorganisms and are found in adequate quantities and in a form available to humans almost exclusively in animal foods. In addition to the vitamin-active compounds, there are also so-called vitamin B12 analogues. You are e.g. Contained in some plant foods such as algae or sauerkraut, but do not contribute to an adequate supply of vitamin B12. Blocking the transport systems can even worsen the supply.

Estimates instead of recommended intake

Since the vitamin B12 requirement cannot be determined with the desired accuracy, the DGE no longer provides the revised reference values ​​for the vitamin B12 intake as a recommended intake, but as estimates for an adequate intake. The estimate for adults was derived on the basis of studies in which an adequate vitamin B12 intake was determined using various biomarkers. This includes the concentrations of the status parameters (total vitamin B12 and holo-transcobalamin) in the serum as well as functional parameters (methylmalonic acid and homocysteine).

Estimates for vitamin B12 intake: age-dependent

The estimates for an adequate intake of vitamin B12 are age-dependent: during childhood they increase from 0.5 µg / day for infants aged 0 to under 4 months to 4.0 µg / day for adolescents and adults. Pregnant and nursing women have an increased need; the estimate for an adequate vitamin B12 intake is 4.5 µg / day for pregnant women and 5.5 µg / day for breastfeeding women. (sb / pm)

Author and source information

Video: Vitamin B12 deficiency-absorption-symptoms-causes-diagnosis- treatment (May 2022).