Cobalt forms part of the structure of vitamin B12, which makes it an essential dietary mineral. In its inorganic form, cobalt is also an active nutrient for bacteria, algae and fungi, which means that it can help to maintain the balance of the natural bacteria within your body, as well as all of the other bodily functions that it is involved with.
The human body can only absorb cobalt in the form of vitamin B12.
What Does Cobalt Do?
Cobalt is one of the constituent elements of vitamin B12, which makes it essential for us to consume. It is an enzyme catalyst, important for the nervous system and healthy blood cells. Vitamin B12 is also involved with the production of DNA in the body, ensuring that new cells form correctly. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, which makes sufferers tired and weak, and some mental problems, such as mania and depression.
Some cobalt is stored in the blood supply within the body, where it helps iron absorption and the building of red blood cells. One of the signs of cobalt deficiency is high concentrations of iron in the serum. People suffering from anemia can help their condition by increasing their cobalt intake.
Food Sources of Cobalt
Cobalt is available from both plant and animal sources. Some of the best plant food sources are green leafy vegetables and apricots. Organ meats are a better source of cobalt than muscle, so hearts, kidneys and livers are good foods to boost your cobalt intake. Other cuts of meat do contain cobalt, but in lower quantities.
As cobalt is present in vitamin B12, you can also boost your natural resources with foods that are high in this vitamin. Some of these include:
- Clams, Oysters and Mussels
- Crabs and Lobster
Another, possibly surprising, source of vitamin B12 is the human digestive system. When the bacteria in the human gut has a supply of cobalt and certain other nutrients it can produce vitamin B12. In some cases, this could be sufficient to fulfill the dietary requirements.
Problems with Cobalt Intake
It is difficult to overdose on vitamin B12 – as a water-soluble chemical; any excess will generally pass out of the body. However, it is occasionally possible to ingest too much and this can lead to numbness or tingling in the arms or face. Other symptoms include insomnia, anxiety or rashes. High levels of vitamin B12 can exaggerate certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or mitral valve prolapse.
Cobalt is an essential nutrient that is vital for the health of your body and is a major part of vitamin B12 that is all essential to your health. Make sure you eat enough of the foods that contain these to keep your body in its prime. Eat plenty of red meat and seafood to top up your cobalt levels and you will certainly feet better for it.
How are your mineral levels? Have you ever had them checked?