Bioavailability of dried asakusanori (porphyra tenera) as a source of Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1999 Nov;69(6):412-8. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.69.6.412.


We have already reported that raw nori (Porphyra tenera) contains cobalamin (Cbl) but not Cbl analogues (J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol., 42, 497, 1996). It seems, therefore, that it is an excellent natural vegetable source of Cbl. On the other hand, it has been reported that the Cbl nutritional status of vegetarian children deteriorated as estimated by the hematological index, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), after they had dried nori as a source of Cbl. Such a discrepancy between raw and dried nori as a source of Cbl led us to investigate whether Cbl in dried nori had different properties from that in raw nori. We found that contents of Cbl homologues determined by a bioassay method in both raw and dried nori were similar. The urinary methylmalonic acid excretion increased when human female volunteers were given 40 g of dried nori daily during the test period. On the other hand, the urinary methylmalonic acid excretion did not change when volunteers were daily given 320 g of raw nori, which was equivalent to 40 g of the dried one on the basis of dehydrated weight, during the test period. By paper chromatography, 65% of the Cbl homologues were found to be comprised of Cbl analogues in dried nori, while 73% of the Cbl homologues in the raw nori were genuine Cbl. These results were confirmed by the finding that the bioassay method gave higher values for Cbl homologues than those obtained by a competitive binding assay method using an intrinsic factor as a Cbl-binding protein. Our present data demonstrated that Cbl in raw nori can be changed into harmful Cbl analogues by the drying process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Biological Assay
  • Biological Availability
  • Chromatography, Paper
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Female
  • Freeze Drying
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylmalonic Acid / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Seaweed / chemistry*
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B 12 / analysis
  • Vitamin B 12 / pharmacokinetics*


  • Methylmalonic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12