Updated: May 8
Vitamin B12 has been regarded in trainer circles as the primary energy vitamin. In fact, it is a common practice for performance horses to get vitamin b12 shots during the performance season.
Vitamin B12 is only part of the nutrition picture, but it does play a very essential role in maintaining performance. Vitamin b12 and cobalamin are terms used to describe a group of cobalt-containing compounds that display vitamin b12 activity. In the body, the predominant forms of b12 include hydroxocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, and methylcobalamin. Vitamin b12 forms essential coenzymes that are necessary for neural tissue development, folate metabolism, DNA synthesis (along with folacin), energy metabolism, new cell growth, and red blood cell synthesis. Thus far B12's main role is in promoting essential metabolic functions.
Recent attention has focused on a coenzyme form of B12 called cobamamide, or dibencozide. This has been touted as an anabolic nutrient form of b12 comparable to anabolic steroids. A study was conducted on children with growth deficiency disorders, and cobamamide improved growth. Also, It has been reported by athletes to increase perceived energy levels and increase appetite. The use of coenzyme B12 by athletes is recommended, along with B12.
Vitamin B12 must be activated before it can be absorbed. This is the job of a substance that is secreted by the stomach, called an intrinsic factor. Vitamin B12 injections are needed in the treatment of pernicious anemia because increasing the amount of B12 taken orally still needs intrinsic factors for activation and absorption. Excessive intakes of B12 do not appear to cause side effects.
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