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Nutrients 2016, 8(12), 767; doi:10.3390/nu8120767

Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation

1
Vico Sant’andrea 5, Ritiro, Messina 98152, Italy
2
Unit of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Human Pathology in Adulthood and Childhood, “G. Barresi”, University of Messina, Via Consolare Valeria 1, Messina 98125, Italy
3
Department of General Surgery and Medical Surgical Specialties, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, Catania 95124, Italy
4
Department of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Maddalena Raimondi San Cataldo, Via Forlanini 5, San Cataldo, Caltanissetta 93017, Italy
5
Unit of Diabetology and Endocrino-Metabolic Diseases, Hospital for Emergency Cannizzaro, Via Messina 829, Catania 95126, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 September 2016 / Revised: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue B-Vitamins and One-Carbon Metabolism)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [319 KB, uploaded 29 November 2016]

Abstract

Cobalamin is an essential molecule for humans. It acts as a cofactor in one-carbon transfers through methylation and molecular rearrangement. These functions take place in fatty acid, amino acid and nucleic acid metabolic pathways. The deficiency of vitamin B12 is clinically manifested in the blood and nervous system where the cobalamin plays a key role in cell replication and in fatty acid metabolism. Hypovitaminosis arises from inadequate absorption, from genetic defects that alter transport through the body, or from inadequate intake as a result of diet. With the growing adoption of vegetarian eating styles in Western countries, there is growing focus on whether diets that exclude animal foods are adequate. Since food availability in these countries is not a problem, and therefore plant foods are sufficiently adequate, the most delicate issue remains the contribution of cobalamin, which is poorly represented in plants. In this review, we will discuss the status of vitamin B12 among vegetarians, the diagnostic markers for the detection of cobalamin deficiency and appropriate sources for sufficient intake, through the description of the features and functions of vitamin B12 and its absorption mechanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: cobalamin; vitamin B12; vegetarian; vegan; food sources; deficiency; cardiovascular disease; neurological symptoms; supplements; diagnostic markers cobalamin; vitamin B12; vegetarian; vegan; food sources; deficiency; cardiovascular disease; neurological symptoms; supplements; diagnostic markers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rizzo, G.; Laganà, A.S.; Rapisarda, A.M.C.; La Ferrera, G.M.G.; Buscema, M.; Rossetti, P.; Nigro, A.; Muscia, V.; Valenti, G.; Sapia, F.; Sarpietro, G.; Zigarelli, M.; Vitale, S.G. Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation. Nutrients 2016, 8, 767.

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