Is Cobalt Good For Your Blood? Here’s What You Need to Know

Is Cobalt Good For Your Blood?

Cobalt in cobalamin, is an important nutrient that your body needs in small quantities.

Cobalt helps with the processing of vitamin B12, and it is also an antioxidant, which means cobalt can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Cobalt performs different functions, including giving your body stability by controlling the chemical reactions that produce energy and helping to form red blood cells.

Cobalt gives red blood cells the ability to carry oxygen throughout your body. While cobalt doesn’t exist in our bodies, it appears as a trace mineral in certain foods we eat.

In this article, you will find out more about cobalt and get to know whether it is good for your blood or not.

Cobalt: What does it do in the blood?

Cobalt is part of vitamin B12, which is essential to keep the body’s nervous system and red blood cells healthy. It is safe to ingest cobalt when it is part of vitamin B12, and it is normal and healthy to have some cobalt in your body as a result.

Cobalt has several important biological functions such as:

  • Synthesizing vitamin B12
  • Coenzyme in metabolism
  • Blocking free radicals
  • Producing red blood cells
  • Releasing energy from the food you eat
  • Providing red cells the ability to move throughout the body
  • Myelination

Cobalt is also essential for a few other enzymes. One mammalian cobalt containing enzyme is methionine amoinopeptidase.

Cobalt exist in two forms, Co2+ and Co3+ oxidation states. Co2+ plays a vital role in the synthesis of vitamin B12

Is Cobalt Good For You?

Yes, cobalt is good when it is part of vitamin B12.

No, when ingesting inorganic cobalt compounds other than vitamin B12.

Cobalamin in your blood is beneficial to your health but when cobalt metal in the form of dust is inhaled, or is ingested through the mouth, your blood becomes poisonous to various parts of the body, most especially the lungs, heart and kidneys.

Cobalt and Vitamin B12

While hypersensitivity reactions have been related to cobalt exposure, there is no evidence linking these reactions to the vitamin B12 occurring naturally in foods: adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin.

There are multiple reports detailing reactions to injections of the synthetically derived preparations of B12 including cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin.

Regardless, the cobalt level contributed by vitamin B12 in foods is likely too insignificant an amount to be responsible for systemic allergic dermatitis.

Thus, the ingestion of foods high in cobalt causing systemic allergic dermatitis is due to cobalt not found in vitamin B12.

Some supplement manufacturers have suggested that cobalt helps improve fat and carbohydrate metabolism, protein synthesis, and red blood cell (RBC) production

Cobalt Metal Other Than Vitamin B12

Chronic cobalt ingestion at levels above a normal dietary intake may lead to organ toxicity. Back in the centuries, cobalt chloride was an additive in beer as a foam stabilizer.

Cobalt cardiomyopathy occurred in many heavy beer consumers and resulted in up to a 50% mortality rate.

Also, cobalt exposure through inhalation may lead to cobalt-related asthma. Hard metal workers may develop cough, wheezing, and dyspnea.

Multiple reports have recognized an immunological correlation with specific immunoglobulin IgE and IgG antibodies to cobalt.

Cobalt contact allergy may also lead to metal prosthesis failure and allergic vasculitis.

Sources of Dietary Cobalt

Dietary cobalt is naturally occurring, and can be found in foods containing low amounts, such as:

  • Cow liver
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Lamb liver
  • Clam chowder soup
  • Lamb kidney
  • Millet seeds
  • Pinto beans
  • Soymilk
  • Sunflower kernels

Other dietary sources that are abundant in cobalt include red meat, milk, fish, cabbage, figs and turnips.

Recommended daily intake for cobalt

Cobalt as part of vitamin B12 supplements is measured in micrograms (mcg). The average adult intake of cobalt is 5 mcg to 8 mcg per day.

Currently, a safe recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for cobalt hasn’t been set yet.

What about dietary cobalt supplements?

There is generally no medical requirement for cobalt supplementation to be added to
a healthy balanced diet.

When taking dietary cobalt supplements follow the labeled advice of the manufacturer to avoid excessive intakes.

Examples of cobalt with vitamin B12 supplements include:

  • Ritual Essential for Women 18+
  • HUM Nutrition B12 Turbo
  • Pure Encapsulations B12 Liquid
  • OLLY Daily Energy Gummy
  • Nature Made B12 Softgels

Deficiency

Cobalamin contains cobalt, a deficiency of this vitamin causes pernicious anemia. This is due to failure of absorption from the diet through absence of the so-called intrinsic factor.

Symptoms of cobalt deficiency:

  • Numbness
  • Severe tiredness
  • Tingling in your hands and feet

Over time, the condition also leads to decreased nerve function.

Is cobalt harmful to the blood?

Inorganic cobalt causes increased production of hemoglobin, and can induce hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia.

Cardiomyopathy has been seen in individuals with chronic ingestion.

In the past, cobalt was used as a hematinic agent but now it is no longer used due to it’s side effects.

Although several other elements such as tungsten, nickel, vanadium and chromium may be involved, this so-called “hard metal” disease is thought to be largely due to the toxic effects of cobalt.

Cobalt dermatitis may occur but the condition is more likely from nickel.

Takeaway

Cobalt with vitamin B12 has been shown to be beneficial to our health and performs many functions in the body, including metabolism, making red cells, enzymatic reactions, and providing energy to red cells.

Dietary cobalt is found in natural sources from plants and animals. Eating foods that contains low amounts of cobalt with vitamin B12 does not pose any health risks.

However, inorganic cobalt metal compounds other than vitamin B12 is toxic to the blood.

When taking cobalt with vitamin B12 supplements it is important to follow instructions labeled on the product. Extreme high intakes of this trace mineral can be harmful to your blood.

Currently, no studies has shown evidence of diseases in humans associated with low intakes of cobalt. Further research is still on going to know the benefits and impacts of cobalt on human health.

Related Post: Why Your Blood Needs Selenium

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