The work, led by the Biomedical Research Institute IRB Barcelona and published in the journal Nature Metabolism, focused on studying the role of B12 in cellular reprogramming, a process believed to mimic the early stages of tissue repair.
From the data on the table, the IRB Barcelona team, led by Manuel Serrano, discovered that cellular reprogramming in mice consumes large amounts of vitamin B12, and that its deficiency becomes a limiting factor that delays and harms some aspects of the reprogramming process.
Vitamin B12 is a long-known micronutrient that has an essential role in maintaining nerve function, contributing to the production of red blood cells and facilitating DNA synthesis, all processes vital to overall health.
Given the abundance of vitamin B12 in the mice’s natural diet, the researchers were surprised to note that vitamin B12 supplementation significantly improved the efficiency of reprogramming.
The researchers also noted that intestinal cells that initiate the repair process undergo a process similar to cellular reprogramming and that they also benefit from vitamin supplements.
“These results are promising for regenerative medicine, with the potential to benefit patients through better nutrition,” Manuel Serrano stressed.
The study also investigated the metabolic requirements for cellular reprogramming and found that vitamin B12 is a limiting factor in a branch of metabolism involved in a reaction known as methylation.
For a cell’s DNA to begin reprogramming or repairing tissues, high levels of methylation are required and, therefore, vitamin B12 is required.
Without adequate levels of vitamin B12 for cellular reprogramming or tissue regeneration processes, multiple errors in genetic function occur.
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