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This vitamin is the largest, molecularly, of all trace nutrients. It is required for the synthesis of red blood cells, white blood cells, and the myelin sheath coating of the brain. It is also essential for the synthesis of energy within the tissues. Best known as a blood-builder, it works with folic acid in red cell production, where it is critical for RNA and DNA synthesis. A lack of the vitamin, therefore, results in an oxygen deficiency within the body.
Absorption is difficult and is dependent upon sufficient projection of a substance within the stomach known as intrinsic factor. For optimal digestion and absorption vitamin C is necessary, which also prevents its oxidation. Though this nutrient is stored in the liver and kidneys, perhaps enough for one to three years, deficiency is common. Levels routinely decline with age. As well, any chronic stomach condition, especially low stomach acid, results in the deficiency.