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Vitamin B12 is an important B vitamin essential for many body functions.
Often, the main nutrient you hear about in relation to blood clotting is vitamin K, and while it is essential as a blood clotting factor, vitamin B12 is also necessary.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause clots to form in the blood, leading to further complications such as embolisms and an increased risk of heart attacks or strokes.
How Does Vitamin B12 Modulate Blood Clotting?
The human body relies on many substances for its proper functioning. These include carbohydrates in the form of glucose, proteins in the form of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fats as fatty acids.
Vitamin B12 is necessary as a component that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid called methionine. This conversion is important to prevent the accumulation of homocysteine in the body as high levels can cause blood clot formation. (1)
A deficiency of vitamin B12 prevents the process that facilitates this conversion and increases the risk of pulmonary embolisms, which are blood clots that form in the arteries and can block the flow of blood to the lungs. (2)
In addition, studies have found that vitamin B12 and folic acid (vitamin B9) reduce the chances of thrombosis (blood clot) in patients with a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT, the formation of clots in the deep veins of the legs, pelvis, thigh, etc.). Vitamin B12 is able to do that by reducing the levels of homocysteine in the blood that can increase the chances of blood clot formation. (3)
A blood clot often forms in the legs first (as DVT) and then travels to other vital organs such as the lungs and heart. If left unmanaged, it can cause life-threatening conditions and even lead to death. Hence, it is necessary to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency.
How to Prevent a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is not very high – 2.4 mcg for adults, 2.6 mcg for pregnant women, and 2.8 for lactating women. (4)
Since supplement dosage ranges from 5–25 mcg, (4) your doctor can help you identify a suitable supplement dosage you can take.
Vitamin B12 is involved in many functions of the body, including facilitating the conversion of homocysteine to methionine.
A deficiency of this vitamin will prevent this breakdown and cause a rise in the levels of homocysteine in the body, which will increase the risk of blood clots and embolisms.