Cobalt is important trace mineral and an integral part of the structure of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). It plays the role of cofactor for the formation of thyroid hormone called as thyroxine. Cobalt is needed in the small amount in combination with vitamin B- 12. Recently it has been found that cobalt is necessary for the production of blood cells. It helps in the proper function of all the cells in our body. It also helps in the formation of hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. It is responsible for the healthy functioning of body and performs variety of functions in the body. It is also essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It also helps in the conversion of folate into active form as well as the synthesis of proteins.
Inadequate amounts of cobalt may lead to abnormal development of red blood cells which is further responsible for macrocytic anemia. Shortness of breath and decreased thyroid functions are also the complications associated with low consumption of cobalt.
Animal proteins are the rich sources of cobalt. Meat, kidneys, liver, oysters, mussel, fish and shellfish contains the good amount of cobalt. Milk also has the adequate amounts of cobalt. Moreover mushrooms also contain the small quantities of cobalt. Fruits and vegetables contain no cobalt except cabbage, legumes, spinach, lettuce, figs and turnips. This is the reason why vegetarians have the deficiency of this mineral. Hence the cobalt deficiency is rarely found in people who take the non vegetarian diet.
Excessive consumption of the cobalt may lead to overproduction of red blood cells, increased blood volume and anemia. That's why it is advisable to have a diet with variety of nutrients rather to consume an individual nutrient. Elevated amount of this mineral are also responsible to decrease the fertility in men. Damage to heart muscles and thyroids glands are the complication associated with high intake of cobalt.
For the proper assimilation of vitamin B12, cobalt is essential. There are no clear recommended amounts of cobalt because it is recommended for vitamin B12.