Why is vitamin B12 important for athletes?

by Sheila and Gene Calvin

Vitamin B12 is also commonly referred to as cobalamin. Adequate intake and absorption of this vitamin is of special concern to older athletes as well as vegetarian and vegan athletes. Vitamin B12 plays a role in the health and performance of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, the growth and development of tissues, and energy production. Vitamin B12 maintains the integrity of the myelin sheath, which the protective coating surrounding all nerve fibers. Vitamin B12 is critical for folate metabolism, which in turn relates to DNA synthesis and tissue growth. Adequate intakes of vitamin B12 prevent the onset of pernicious anemia. Vitamin B12 is also involved in preparing fatty acid chains to enter the citric acid cycle, thus facilitating energy production.

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