Vitamin B12 Deficiency: 5 Important Things to Know About It


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is a quite common and has serious symptoms
  • You can get vitamin supplements for immunity that contain vitamin B12
  • Potatoes, beetroots and spinach are a few vitamin B12 vegetables

Vitamin B12 is among the many vital nutrients you need, and it benefits the body in many ways. It is important for the proper development and function of many parts of the body, including the brain, nerves, and blood cells. Your body doesn't produce B12 on its own, so you need to get it from other sources. The common sources of vitamin B 12 include dairy, fish, meat, poultry, and more. Read more on vitamin B12 deficiency.

Many people do not get enough of this nutrient. As such, vitamin B12 deficiency is a very common problem. This gives rise to issues such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Mental health disorders
  • Inflammation of the tongue and mouth
  • Chapped lips
  • Headache
  • Loss of vision
  • Pale skin
  • Indigestion, bloating, and loss of appetite

If you are at risk of this deficiency, track your diet to make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12. Read to know the various vitamin b12 benefits and the common symptoms that indicate a deficiency.

how to prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency

What are the causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Among the most common reasons is your age. The older you grow, the more challenging it may become for your body to absorb this vitamin. You are also likely to develop the deficiency if you have:

  • Undergone a bariatric surgery to lose weight
  • Got a part of your stomach removed via a gastrectomy
  • Chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa of the stomach, due to which your stomach lining has thinned
  • Complications that impact your small intestines, such as the growth of bacteria and parasites, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and more
  • Consumed excessive amounts of alcohol or misused it, making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients
Additional Read:  Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency Tests

How much is vitamin B12 required by your body?

The daily recommended intake of vitamin B12 is as follows [1]:

  • Babies below the age of 6 months: 0.4 mcg
  • Babies below 12 months: 0.5 mcg
  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 years: 0.9 mcg
  • Children aged between 4 and 8 years: 1.2 mcg
  • Children aged between 9 and 13 years: 1.8 mcg
  • Teens and adults: 2.4 mcg

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 mcg. A slightly higher amount is safe as well. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs, and any excess passes through your urinary tract.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency -4

Which foods contain vitamin B12?

The human body is not capable of producing vitamin B12 naturally. This is why you must ensure that your diet contains this nutrient from the best vitamin B12 sources. Here are a few common ones [2]:

  • Beef, liver, and chicken
  • Shellfish and fish such as salmon, tuna fish, clams, and trout
  • Breakfast cereal that is fortified
  • Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Eggs
Additional Read: Dairy products benefits nutrition 

What are the medications required to treat vitamin B12 deficiency?

If you are not able to absorb vitamin B12 naturally, doctors may prescribe vitamin B12 tablets or injections to you. These may consist of supplements like hydroxocobalamin or cyanocobalamin, as per the requirement of your body. 

Treating the deficiency solves the problem, but you must make the recommended changes to keep your levels optimal. Such treatments are generally prescribed only when natural solutions are not suitable. This is particularly the case if you have dietary preferences that may restrict you from getting this nutrient in adequate amounts. For example, if you follow a strict vegan diet, you have a high chance of developing this deficiency. This is mainly because your diet will not contain animal foods that can give you the required vitamin B12. 

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, and you must be aware of the adverse effects of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Eating the right food can help, and if the deficiency persists, you can get vitamin B12 tablets like Neurobion Forte. While there are several such options, a balanced lifestyle is a key to staying healthy. Get proper guidance from dietary and nutrition experts on Bajaj Finserv Health. Find specialists in your city and book appointments easily online. This way, you can ensure that your body gets all the nutrition it needs.

Published on 2 Mar 2022Last updated on 9 Jan 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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