What is Cobalt?

Cobalt (Co) is one of the vital trace mineral that is known as a constituent of vitamin B12. The body requires a small amount of this mineral in order to conduct its daily grow and maintenance.

The amount of cobalt that is in foods is based on the amount of mineral that is in the soil where the food sources are grown or consumed.

Cobalt is essential to humans as well as to animals. It is known as the main constituent of cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, that is basically cobalt’s biological reservoir as an “ultra-trace” element. In ruminant animals, the bacteria found in them convert cobalt salts into a compound that can only be produced by the bacteria: is vitamin B12.

The cobalt atom in vitamin B12 is attached and surrounded to a deoxyadenosyl group, methyl group, and a cyano group or hydroxyl group. The human body has a need for cobalt that is not in the ionic form of the metal but rather, for a performed metallovatimin which cannot be synthesized from a simple dietary meal. Thus, the content of vitamin B12 of foods is essential is the overall human nutrition.

What is Cobalt Used For in The Body – Cobalt Function

The activity and function of cobalt is essentially the same as vitamin B12, hence, meaning that  cobalt plays a major role in the process of erythropoiesis, the process wherein erythrocytes or red blood cells are produced.

When in the form of CoC12, cobalt assists in regulating casein and phosvitin phosphatases and other certain phosphoprotein phosphatases. Along with Nickel (Ni) and Manganese (Mn), cobalt can be a good alternative for Zinc (Zn) in the carboxypeptidase, carbonic anhydrase, angiotensin-converting enzyme, and metalloenzymes.

Cobalt Health Benefits

  1. Vitamin B12. The association between vitamin B12 and cobalt helps in the overall function of the body. Health enthusiasts found out that vitamin B12 is one of the B vitamins that aids in the performance of the nervous system and also affects the functioning of the other body systems as well as the metabolic processes of the body.
  2. Vitamin C. Studies have shown that there is a great link between cobalt and vitamin C. The latter vitamin prevents certain conditions such as scurvy wherein scarcity of this mineral can lead to several symptoms such as hair loss. Humans need large amount of vitamin C in order to feel good and be well, and researchers have seen the role of cobalt in aiding the body makes use of the cocktails of vitamin C and other nutrients that was extracted from green vegetables, citrus fruits and other natural foods.
  3. Iron Absorption. Iron is one of the most vital nutrients that are needed depending on gender, health conditions, and other factors. Nutritionists suggest that cobalt, together with other elements, can play a role in the body’s absorption of iron.
  4. Heart Health. Current research is working on how cobalt can affect some of the vascular systems that is related with cardiological function. The Cobalt element as well as others can provide stability to the cardiovascular process.

Cobalt Deficiency Signs and Symptoms

A deficiency in vitamin B12 is ultimately a cobalt deficiency, and vice versa. Proper intake of food or supplements rich in vitamin B12 can help alleviate the symptoms of deficiency.

Over Dosage Signs of Cobalt

Although it is essential to have sufficient amount of cobalt intake, it can be a disadvantage when this mineral is taken in excessively high levels. Having high amount of cobalt can decrease the fertility in men and affect the heart. When taken in a long periods of time, cobalt can cause over-production of red blood cells, and damage the heart muscles as well as the thyroid gland.

Cobalt Dosage

Health experts suggest that adults need around 1.5 µg of vitamin B12 daily; the daily B12 RDA is 2.4 µg for adults and adolescences. To date no Cobalt RDA has been established. However, excessive deficiency of cobalt is known to leas to certain health disorders.

Food sources of cobalt

Foods that are highly rich in cobalt include meat, milk, green leafy vegetables, liver, clams and oysters. The USDA and Canada’s Health Dietary Reference recommends that every individual needs to have sufficient amount of cobalt rich food daily.

What is Cobalt References and Further Reading

Linus Pauling Institute; Wikipedia; Pubmed; Saito Lab; Penn State University; University of Bristol.