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Cobalt (CO) is an essential trace mineral that is a constituent of vitamin B12. The amount of cobalt you have in your blood is dependent on the amount that is in the soil, where your foods are grown. Only small amounts of this mineral are required by the body.

What are the functions of cobalt?

The main function (and some say only function) is to prevent anemia. It works with vitamin B12 in:

What are the symptoms of a cobalt deficiency?

There are no specific deficiency symptoms associated with cobalt, but as a component of vitamin B12, anemia can result from an inadequate intake.

Food sources of cobalt

The food sources of cobalt include green leafy vegetables, meat, liver, milk, oysters and clams.

Therapeutic uses of cobalt

It is used to help in the production of red blood cells and to aid vitamin B12 in the prevention of anemia.


Cobalt is part of good multivitamin and mineral supplements and some vitamin B complex supplements. Cobalt is rarely found as a supplement by itself. No recommended dosage has been set, but 8 mcg is suggested as the amount that is needed in the diet.

Special note

Excessive amounts of cobalt can cause nausea, and damage the heart, kidneys and nerves.

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Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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