Adenosylcobalamin is one of the two active forms of vitamin B12. It plays an essential role in the production of blood and the maintenance of normal cerebral and nervous functioning in the human body. Also known as cobamamide or dibencozide, adenosylcobalamin occurs naturally in animal derived food types such as fish, meat, eggs, and milk. Vitamin B12 is synthesized commercially for use as a dietary supplement by a process of bacterial enzyme production. A deficiency of adenosylcobalamin can cause a variety of disorders in humans including pernicious anemia, infections, fatigue, and depression.
Vitamin B12 is actively present in the human body in the form of adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin. This complex vitamin is an important dietary component and plays an critical role in several essential biological functions. These include cellular metabolism, DNA synthesis, energy and blood production, fatty acid synthesis, and healthy brain and nervous system functioning. Adenosylcobalamin occurs naturally in a number of food types derived from animals such as eggs, milk, meat, and fish. Synthetic forms of the vitamin are produced from bacterial enzymes and include cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin.
These synthetic variants form the basis of vitamin B12 supplements essential for those with diets deficient in the substance. Vitamin B12 supplements are of particular value to groups such as vegans whose diets exclude animal products typically rich in vitamin B12. Other groups which may benefit from taking supplements include ex-smokers, the elderly, and those suffering from anemia, HIV, tinnitus, bursitism, and hives. Pregnant women often suffer from vitamin B12 deficiencies and may also benefit from taking adenosylcobalamin on a supplemental basis.
Maintenance of adequate levels of the vitamin is an important factor for those whose dietary intake or preexisting medical conditions place them at risk of deficiency. Low levels of the vitamin in the body may lead to serious and irreversible damage and even small fluctuations in B12 levels can have severe side effects. These include memory impairment, depression, chronic fatigue, and even symptoms of psychosis. Adenosylcobalamin deficiency may also lead to fibric sclerosis of nerve tissue. The most common syndrome of vitamin B12 shortages, though, is Biermans disease or pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 is available in tablet form or as an injection and is also used to fortify many foods such as breakfast cereals. The recommended dietary reference intake of vitamin B12 for adults is between 2 and 3 micrograms per day. The recommended dosage for women during pregnancy and lactation is 2.6 and 2.8 micrograms per day respectively. Adenosylcobalamin has a very low toxicity rating and allergic reactions are rare. Nevertheless, a doctor should be consulted prior to taking it as a supplement.