Cobalt: its role in health and disease

Met Ions Life Sci. 2013:13:295-320. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7500-8_9.


The primarily function of cobalt in humans is based on its role in cobalamin (Cbl, vitamin B12). Therefore, this chapter will focus on the physiological roles of Cbl and the importance of cobalt in human health. Cbl acts as the cofactor for two enzymes, i.e., methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and methionine synthase, in humans. Both enzymes are important for health. In addition, unlike other water-soluble vitamins, there is a unique absorption, delivery, and activation system for Cbl in mammals. Therefore, this chapter will also review the literature on the Cbl transporting system, which is crucial for Cbl function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Cobalt / metabolism*
  • Coenzymes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ion Transport
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*


  • Coenzymes
  • Cobalt
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase
  • Vitamin B 12