What is aquacobalamin?
Aquacobalamin or aquocobalamin belongs to the vitamin B12 group, which in biology are also called cobalamins. The term cobalamine is derived from the central cobalt atom around which the other atoms of the molecule cluster. Aquacobalamin is the vitamin B12a. The other two cobalamins are called hydroxycobalamin (vitamin B12b) and nitritocobalamin (vitamin B12c).
However, nutritional science also refers to another cobalamin, cyanocobalamin, as vitamin B12. The different use of the terms is often confusing for patients, especially since the different B12 vitamins have different effects and interact at the same time. Already in the 1920s, physicians discovered the importance of the liver for the treatment of pernicious anemia.
Later, science could identify this form of anemia as a result of cobalamin deficiency. Since vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, it contains particularly high concentrations of the substance. For this reason, doctors still often recommend B12 to add liver to the diet.
Function, effect & tasks
A chemical reaction turns aquacobalamin into a nitrosyl complex. This is of great importance for many biological processes. The complex arises from a reaction of aquacobalamin with nitrite in water solutions. In many biological processes, aquacobalamin does not work alone but in conjunction with the other vitamins in the B12 group.
Especially in the nervous system cobalamins play an important role; Lack of vitamin B12 can therefore lead to irreversible neurological damage. Cell division and blood formation also rely on aquacobalamin. The liver stores cobalamins and thus allows continuous availability of the vital vitamin. Due to this storage, a deficiency of vitamin B12 does not have to be directly reflected in the blood picture. The liver can take up about 2000 - 5000 μg of vitamin B12.
The medicine does not differentiate between the different cobalamins; Aquacobalamin is included in this value as well as the other variants. An overdose is rare and usually occurs when patients take additional supplements. Above all, the intravenous administration of vitamin B12 can lead to overdose. It may result in acne and local allergic reactions. However, therapeutic treatment sometimes requires the intravenous administration of cobalamins to treat, for example, a severe deficiency of vitamin B12.
Education, occurrence, properties & optimal values
Aquacobalamin and other B12 vitamins are mostly found in animal foods. However, recent studies indicate that the concentration of vitamin B12 is very low, especially for products from conventional animal husbandry.
The reason for this is the poor diet of animals in industrial factory farming, which aims primarily at rapid growth. Certain bacteria can also produce vitamin B12 outside of carcasses. In particular, in the synthesis of cobalamins in the lactic acid fermentation, however, it is disputed to what extent the composition of the end products is sufficient for the human body. Also, the correct composition of the various vitamins of the B12 group is doubtful.
For aquacobalamin, ie vitamin B12a, there are no explicit norms. For all B12 vitamins, nutritional science reports a daily requirement of 3 μg for adults, which is relatively low compared to the standard values of other vitamins. The human body can not synthesize cobalamins independently and therefore relies on them to absorb them through food. Other foods such as toothpaste enriched with B12 can also help meet your daily needs.
Diseases & Disorders
The lack of vitamin B12 can cause different clinical pictures. One of them is funicular myelosis. It is a disease of the nervous system, which belongs to demyelinating diseases.
The funicular myelosis manifests itself in neurological symptoms, which mainly affect the motor and physiological perception. The demyelinization of nerve cells triggers these failures. In the normal state, the nerve cells surround a myelin cell. This forms around the axon and isolates it to the outside; thus it secures the electrical conductivity of the neuron. In demyelinating diseases, which include multiple sclerosis, degenerating this insulating layer, which affects the transmission of electrical signals. As a result, the nervous system receives incomplete information and produces false or absent responses.
Another potential consequence of cobalamin deficiency is pernicious anemia or Biermer disease. It can also precede funicular myelosis. Pernicious anemia is a form of anemia that is fatal without treatment. The first signs are paleness, tiredness, dizziness and circulatory disorders. At an advanced stage, the skin may turn yellow - a result of increased levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a breakdown product of the red blood pigment hemoglobin. Other symptoms include an inflamed tongue and gastrointestinal discomfort. In addition, pernicious anemia results in neurological complaints, such as tingling in the hands and feet, feelings of numbness, and motor disturbances such as paralysis, unsteady gait, and coordination problems.
Another form of anemia, megaloblastic anemia, may occur as a result of a deficiency of vitamin B12 including aquacobalamin, causing disruption of folic acid metabolism. Furthermore, metabolic disorders may develop in the form of methylmalonate aciduria or homocystinuria. In addition, cobalamin deficiency may affect the immune system - not just indirectly, but also directly through hypersegmented white blood cells.