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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Mineral Supplements

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  • Cobalt Description & Overview
  • Cobalt Health Benefits, Uses & Scientific Evidence
  • Cobalt Dietary Sources
  • Cobalt Dosage Information
  • Cobalt Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Cobalt Supplement Products

  • Cobalt



    Cobalt is also known as cobalamin, cyanocobalamin, and hydroxyocobalamin.

    Cobalt, in elemental form, is a hard gray metal. Cobalt is part of the Vitamin B-12 molecule as cobalamin, and there is little evidence of other roles of Cobalt in human nutrition. The Cobalt atom in B-12 is surrounded and attached to a methyl group, a deoxyadenosyl group and a hydroxyl group or a cyano group. Cobalt is present in the body only a component of Vitamin B-12, with a well-recognized essential function for producing red blood cells (erthropoiesis) and maintaining the nervous system. Cobalt serves some of the same purposes as Manganese and Zinc. It can replace Manganese in the activation of several enzymes (biochemical reaction activators) and it can replace zinc in some biochemical reactions. Cobalt also participates in the biotin-dependent Krebs-cycle, the process that the body uses to break down sugars into energy.
    The human requirement for Cobalt is not the ionic form of the metal, but for a preformed metallovitamin that cannot be synthesized from dietary metal. Therefore it is the Vitamin B-12 content of foods in the diet that is of importance in human nutrition.



    The body seems to benefit from only a small amount of cobalt.

    Research indicates that cobalt helps maintain the myelin sheath, promotes glucose transport from the blood into body cells, and supports the assimilation of Iron and the building of red blood cells. Cobalt is an important agent of Vitamin B-12; it increases the body's ability to absorb it. Cobalt stimulates many enzymes of the body and maintains the performance of other body cells. Because of its low absorption rate and high excretion rate, Cobalt toxicity is not common, but an excess can lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland. Cobalt is stored in red blood cells with smaller amounts in the kidney, liver, pancreas and spleen.
    • The functions and activity of cobalt are essential the same as Vitamin B-12. Therefore, cobalt plays a role in erythropoiesis.
    • Cobalt, in the form of CoC12, assists in regulating certain phosphoprotein phosphatases, such as casein and phosvitin phosphatases.
    • Along with Manganese (Mn) and Nickel (Ni), cobalt can substitute for Zinc (Zn) in the metalloenzymes, angiotensin-converting enzyme, carboxypeptidase, and carbonic anhydrase.


    Cobalt, as a component of Vitamin B-12, prevents pernicious anemia. Vitamin B-12 is also essential for maintaining the nervous system.

    There are currently no beneficial claims based upon Cobalt as a single element.

    Vitamin B-12 Deficiency & Hyperhomocysteinemia: It has been suggested that Vitamin B12 deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia impact the metabolism of some trace elements, particularly cobalt and nickel. A study found that Vitamin B12-deficient pigs fed an oral supplement of Cobalt (1 mg/kg), had 47-percent lower serum homocysteine concentrations than B-12-deficient pigs fed a lower dose of cobalt (0.13 mg/kg). However, B-12 status of both groups was not affected. Nickel supplementation also improved B-12 status in the liver and serum, and decreased the concentration of serum homocysteine. The results suggested that Cobalt and Nickel influenced response of the pig to Vitamin B-12 deficiency. In addition, the accumulation of homocysteine in the serum, a symptom of B-12 deficiency, can be attenuated by Cobalt and Nickel even though the mode of action of these elements seems to differ.


    MoonDragon's Womens Health: Pernicious Anemia Information
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamin B-12 Supplement Information



    Dietary sources of cobalt are the same as Vitamin B-12, such as foods of animal origin or fermented foods where the bacteria produce the vitamin. Organ meats are the best source of Vitamin B-12 (liver, kidney, heart, and pancreas), followed by clams, oysters, extra-lean beef, seafood, eggs, milk and yogurt, chicken, cheese, and miso (a fermented soybean product).


    A deficiency in cobalt is ultimately a deficiency in Vitamin B-12. Increased consumption of Vitamin B-12 via food and/or supplements would alleviate any deficiency symptoms. Since the primary sources of Vitamin B-12 in the diet are animal products, vegetarians have a high risk of developing B-12 deficiency. Therefore, it is recommended to use a supplement in order to prevent the Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

    Other conditions that may be associated with an increased risk for Cobalt deficiency include:


    No safe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake has been set or established for cobalt.

    Trace amounts of cobalt are present in most foods. Foods high in vitamin B-12 are the only source of cobalt actively used by the body. When present in nutritional supplements, Cobalt is usually measured in micrograms (mcg or µg). The average adult intake of cobalt is 5 to 8 mcg per day. Cobalt supplements are best taken in the form of vitamin B-12.

    A Cobalt deficiency is ultimately also a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Anemia, specifically pernicious anemia, is one of the obvious symptoms of a cobalt deficiency. Numbness, fatigue, tingling in the extremities, and decreased nerve function occur in long-standing pernicious

    No health hazards or side effects are known, however caution should be used with pregnancy or nursing. Information on the relationship between substances and disease is provided for general information, in order to convey a balanced review of the scientific literature. In many cases the relationship between a substance and a disease is tentative and additional research is needed to confirm such a relationship.



    In the past, Cobalt was recommended for treating anemia, nephritis and infection in addition to the usual hemopoietic agents. Reports of goiter, myxedema and congestive heart failure have been found in five patients. Industrial exposure to high amounts of cobalt and consumption of beer contaminated with excessive amounts of cobalt produce cardiomyopathy with a high mortality risk.

  • Cobalt is toxic to the heart muscle and can result in toxic cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) after excessive exposure.
  • Polycythemia, an increase in red blood cells, may be a symptom of cobalt excess. Untreated polycythemia can result in congestive heart failure.
  • Excessive intake of cobalt may produce a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) and reduce the activity of the thyroid.
  • Cobalt may cause hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar).
  • Since cobalt is a key component of vitamin B-12, individuals with Leber's syndrome, a rare eye condition, should not take any nutritional supplements containing vitamin B-12 without first consulting their health care provider. Vitamin B-12 in the form of cyanocobalamin could contribute to vision loss in those with this syndrome.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a health care provider before taking any mineral supplements.

  • There are no known significant food or drug interactions associated with cobalt.


  • Cobalt Supplement Products

  • Vitamin B-12 Supplement Products


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    Amazon: Cobalt Supplement Products

  • Nutrition Basics: Cobalt Supplement Information

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