As an essential trace mineral, cobalt forms an important part of the vitamin called Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in metabolizing folic acids and fatty acids. The human body requires vitamin B12 in small amounts to carry on with its daily activities and bodily maintenance.
Health Benefits of Cobalt
Our body makes use of cobalt to first absorb and then further process vitamin B12. Apart from that, cobalt is heavily involved in helping the body produce red blood cells also known as hemoglobin. It also plays an integral part in the smooth functioning of the nervous system through the help of creating a myelin sheath.
Cobalt helps cure diseases such as anemia and also diseases that are caused by infection. As mentioned earlier, cobalt helps in the creation and repair of the myelin sheath, and this myelin encircles the nerve cells and further protects them from external damage.
Cobalt actively participates in the metabolic processes carried on in the body like,
- Facilitates the production of thyroid hormones.
- Decreases the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
- Gets involved in enzyme reactions.
- It helps in the growth and development of RNA and DNA.
- It helps the tissues in the bone to grow to their optimal health.
- Aids the production of red blood cells.
- Stimulates activities of white blood cells.
- Boosts up the immune system.
- Fights against cells producing cancer.
- It helps with synthesizing hemoglobin.
Cobalt & Vitamin B12
Cobalt is closely linked to Vitamin B12 in a lot of ways and their association boosts overall functions in the body.
Vitamin B12 stimulates the high performance of the nervous system and also positively affects systems of other body parts. Vitamin B12 most affects the metabolic processes of the body.
Cobalt & Vitamin C
Several types of research have also found a strong connection between the trace mineral cobalt and vitamin C.
The human body needs a wholesome dose of vitamin C to be present in the system in order to maintain a healthy body. Cobalt has been reported to make use of vitamin C in combination with other vitamins found in green vegetables and citrus fruits to maintain general well-being and to keep deficiency at bay.
Aids Iron Absorption
Iron is one of the most vital nutrients for the human body. The recommended intake of iron depends on age, gender, and health factors, however, without proper absorption there is no use in consuming iron. That’s where cobalt helps.
Studies suggest that cobalt works in conjunction with other nutrients and minerals to help the body absorb iron more efficiently.
Stabilizes Heart Functions
Cobalt has been reported to cause a positive effect on certain vascular processes that are related to cardiological functioning.
This effect provides a certain amount of stability to cardiovascular processes.
Recommended Cobalt Intake
To this date, there has been no definite RDA established on the grounds of the amount of cobalt to be consumed. However, several health experts recommend that every adult above the age of 18 should follow an intake limit to 1.5 µg of vitamin B12 on a daily basis and a 2.4 µg daily intake limit is recommended for adolescents. Excessive cobalt deficiency can lead to several health complications.
Cobalt Food Sources
The USDA and Canada’s Health Dietary Reference have set some ground rules when it comes to diet concerning cobalt consumption. Their guideline suggests that every diet should necessarily contain sufficient amounts of food items that are rich in cobalt. The foods you should aim to include in your diet are,
Vegetables – Onions, potato, beetroot, cabbage, garlic, spinach, corn, radish, cucumber, carrots, lettuce.
Legumes & Whole Grains – Oats, green peas, lentils, cereal, barley particles, and semolina.
Fruits – Berries that include cranberry and strawberry, pear, grapes, and apricot.
Animal Products – Organs like liver, heart, and kidney, dairy products like yogurt and sour cream, and poultry include eggs.
Seafood – Squids, canned fish, lobster, mackerel, etc.
Cobalt Deficiency Symptoms
You may experience low levels of cobalt in the body due to the following occurrences. Do keep a check on them,
- Too much loss of blood
- Infections in the gastrointestinal tract
- Deficiency of vitamin B12
- Dysfunction in metabolic processes
You would know your body is deficient in cobalt if you experience the following symptoms,
- Constant tiredness or weakness
- A serious case of fatigue for an extended period of time
- Mental fog
- Slowed down the healing process
Cobalt Supplements – What You Should Know?
Cobalt supplements are typically found in two types of variants – cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin.
Both of these are almost similar in composition and they feature a cobalt ion that is encircled by a corrin ring. However, one thing that sets them apart is that each of them has a different set of molecules attached to the cobalt ion. While methylcobalamin contains a methyl group of molecules, cyanocobalamin supplementation contains a cyanide molecule.
Cyanocobalamin is essentially a synthetic form of vitamin B12 which is not acquired through natural sources. The reason it’s used most commonly in supplements is that it is reported to be more stable and cost-effective compared to other vitamin B12 supplements.
Once consumed cyanocobalamin, converts into either methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin that are two active forms of vitamin B12 in humans.
Unlike cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin is a form of vitamin B12 that can be acquired through natural sources. It is widely used in supplements and can also be found in food items such as seafood, meat, eggs, and milk.
Another major difference that sets both of these supplements forms apart is their absorption level and the way your body retains its nutrients. Research suggests that cyanocobalamin absorbs better and in a more efficient manner than methylcobalamin. This claim is backed by a surprising study that showed that a whopping 49% of people’s bodies absorbed 1 mcg of cyanocobalamin better than 44% of the same amount of methylcobalamin.
However, all’s not well with cyanocobalamin supplements as another study reported that cyanocobalamin was excreted from the body through urine more frequently than its counterpart. This goes to suggest that the human body retains methylcobalamin better than cyanocobalamin. A few studies have also reported contradictory status stating that the absorption and retention rate between these two is minimal.
No matter which vitamin B12 form you go for, make sure to supplement it with a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Minerals are such an important part of our diet please explore this site to learn more about them.