Vitamin B12: Origin & Interesting Facts

Interesting facts about vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a generic term for different compounds that all have an identical basic chemical substance. These are also commonly referred to as cobalamins and are found in all living things.

Vitamin B12 is considered the most important coenzyme from the group and has numerous functions.

Unlike other vitamins from the B group, vitamin B12 can be stored in the body and does not break down immediately.

It is the only vitamin from its group that can even be stored in large quantities in the human liver, but cannot be produced by the organism itself.

Origin of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has a long history of development that began in the early 1920s. At that time, the American pathologist Whipple was trying to find out which active ingredients can be found in raw liver because they were proven to be responsible for curing fatal anemia in dogs.

In the course of this, Murphy and Minot, two American doctors, discovered an antipernicious factor in 1926, which also had an effect on humans and received a Nobel Prize in 1934 together with Whipple. This has long been the vitamin B12 known today, which was isolated for the first time in 1948.

This was achieved independently by both a British team of researchers led by chemist Lester Smith and a group of biochemists led by Karl A. Volkers from America. The molecular structure of vitamin B12 was subsequently discovered in 1955 using X-ray diffraction, whereupon the responsible biochemist Dorothy C. Hodgkin received a Nobel Prize in 1994.

In 1972, this resulted in the total synthesis of vitamin B12, which is why this vitamin is considered to be the largest possible molecule that occurs among the totally synthesized substances.

Obtaining vitamin B12

There are many vitamin B12 foods, but most of them are of animal origin. It is not for nothing that vegetarians or vegans often have a deficiency and only have limited access to the valuable vitamin. As a result, some of the most popular products are:

The only plant-based alternatives are sauerkraut, ginger or soy sauce.

By Christina Treu –

updated 11 Feb 2022

Christina Faithful

Editorial office Frummi

Christina Faithful has been writing for since May 2019 Frummi . She is ambitious to always check the best sources and to write the most qualified texts for our customers.

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