21 Facts about Vitamin B12 deficiency

Stephy Gandhi

Facts about Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 or Cyanocobalamin is the essential water-soluble vitamin and is considered the powerhouse of our body as crucial for DNA, RNA synthesis, blood cell formation, better immunity, etc. The greatest source of B12 animal products like eggs, meat, shellfish, and dairy products. The standard range of B12 is 300 pg/ml and below 200 is considered deficient. Even though B12 insufficiency is commonly found in People so recognized as a silent epidemic.

21 Facts about Vitamin B12 deficiency

1. Vegetarians and Vegans are running on Shortage

Natural sources are decent sources of B12. Hence The risk increases if a more plant-based diet such as fruits, vegetables, and beans along with a long-term vegan diet. Although B12 deficiency can be prevented by adding fortified foods like cereals, soy milk, and yeast. Also, make sure to get enough B12 oral supplements to avoid further health complications in the future.

2. Adults above 50 are at high risk

As adults age, vitamin deficiency occurs due to appetite loss although this is an uncommon cause of the deficiency. Instead, aged people suffer from atrophic gastritis defined as chronic inflammation of the stomach lining which lowers the acid production. Stomach acid is essential for efficient Vitamin B12 absorption as required to separate B12 from the protein in animal-based foods. Furthermore, the aged are more on medications like antacids which block acid production. So the above factors deplete the B12 absorption.

3. People might experience Lethargy, weakness

If your B12 level comes down, you might feel weak, and dizzy. This happens due to impaired red blood cell formation which is essential to carry oxygen to the tissues. B12 deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia and the condition leads to form the of abnormal, large, and immature RBCs which further impacts DNA synthesis. If these signs hit more than a week, important to consult a physician.

4. oral contraceptives for an extended period

Birth control pills cut back the B12 range as estrogen content in the pills responsible for it. Women should be aware that B12 is necessary to metabolize the homocysteine amino acid to produce other bodily needs chemicals as if a high homocysteine level is indicating B12 deficiency.

5. Excess alcohol consumption

Frequent indulgences of alcohol may lead to various villainous complications. Alcohol causes gastritis and irritates the stomach lining which decreases hydrochloric acid production. B12 completely relies on acid to separate from protein molecules. The lack of acid means the lack of B12 molecules detachment. Secondly, high alcoholism upset the liver efficiency where B12 is stored and might emerge the cirrhosis.

6. Weaken your Immunity

B12 is necessary for white blood cell formation and hence boosting immunity. If Leukopenia is the condition, you feel exhausted which makes you susceptible to infection.

7. Yellow, pale Skin

The folate deficiency results in iron deficiency anemia making your skin pale due to the absence of red blood cells. B12 deficiency might turn to Jaundice due to the high concentration of brownish bilirubin substance that gives yellowish skin tone.

8. Headache

Severe deficiency of B12 cause severe migraine with all along showing symptoms such as nausea, head throbbing, dizziness, tremors.

9. Mentally Depressed

B12 is one of the essential nutrients for protecting the nerve cells and hence maintaining your nerve system impulses. As the decline in the nutrient range, elevated sulfur-containing amino acid homocysteine which contributes to the development of oxidative stress impairs DNA functioning. If B12 deficiency is left untreated, impacts mental health in a long run and may cause psychosis, mood swings, and many more.

10. Gastrointestinal issues

When your stomach and intestines aren’t doing their job properly, it can mean that your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B12 from the food you eat, because it needs the help of certain digestive enzymes to absorb it. Even though you eat plenty of dairy and animal products, you won’t get enough of it to survive. Secondly, the Intrinsic factor is the protein required to extract B12 from food and then into the bloodstream. But with digestive issues or damage to the esophagus, stomach wall, and intestinal tract, you run a high risk of B12 or pernicious anemia. Therefore people might experience symptoms like bloating, heartburn, or acid reflux.

11. Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by different mental and medical issues. One possible cause is not having enough vitamin B12 in your body. Another reason could be having too much homocysteine in your blood. Both of these can lead to difficulties getting or keeping an erection.

12. Visual Impairment

B12 deficiency also leads to blurred vision as damage to the nervous system in the optic nerve leads to the eyes. Damaged nerves disrupt the nervous signal that travels from the eye to the brain and this condition is referred to as optic neuropathy.

13. Pain and inflammation of the mouth and tongue

B12 deficiency makes your tongue red, inflamed, and painful which is referred to as glossitis, and is also caused because of other nutrient deficiencies such as folate, riboflavin, and niacin.

Secondly, if you are frequently getting mouth ulcers, it is an indication of B12 deficiency. Ulcers could be healed within a week although keep a watch on  B12 intake.

14. Heart Palpitations

We all know the heart is the essential organ and is responsible for pumping life-sustaining blood. Hence sudden fluttering in the heart gets you worried. As folate and B12 deficiency go hand in hand hence you might get fluttered heart rhythm.

15. Paresthesia in the body

Paresthesia is the burning or needles pinching sensation anywhere in the body like hands and feet. These symptoms are usually appeared in diabetic patients as peripheral neuropathy due to elevated sugar levels. Although B12 deficiency overlaps with symptoms because the antidiabetic drug metformin reduces the B12 absorption, therefore, suggested that diabetics should keep on monitoring their B12 deficiency.

16. Muscle cramps and trouble walking

B12 devices impact the sensory-motor nerve functions which cause numbness in the limbs diminished reflexes and makes difficulty in limb movements.

17. Difficult to recognize the B12 deficiency

Our body stores B12 for 3 to 4 years so symptoms appear gradually and therefore an individual is unlikely to notice. After getting initial clues like fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, and so on depression, numbness, and tingling of the limbs. The symptoms are varied so tricky to get the reason at the later stage too.

18. Blood tests are the only way to rule out the deficiency

The normal range for B12 in the blood is 200 and 900 pg/ml and so below 200 is considered a deficiency. Blood tests are generally accurate although sometimes it reveals false-negative results in patients with liver damage or kidney problems. Even it reveals false positives too as possible in pregnancy, folic acid deficiency, oral contraceptives, and cancers.

19. B12 insufficiency post-bariatric surgery

Gastric bypass surgery affects the GI tract and so impede the absorption of food which result in B12 deficiency. Even this problem could be lifelong so the person has to take B12 supplements to compensate the need.

20. Babies might become deficient

B12 deficiency could be proven to be fatal in babies as leading to anemia, problems with movement and so getting difficulty in reaching milestones. It is rare in infants but if a breastfeeding mom is vegan or vegetarian and not taking B12 supplements then creates a worrisome situation.

21. Hard to overdo B12

The water-soluble Property of B12 allows minimal absorption and rest is excreted through urine. If you want to refill the stores of nutrients however be cautious as excess B12 may cause diarrhea and itchiness all over the body.


Understanding the various factors and symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being. Vegetarians and vegans, as well as adults above 50, are particularly at risk and should pay close attention to their B12 intake. Recognizing the signs of deficiency can be challenging, making regular blood tests essential for early detection and intervention. It’s important to note that even infants can be affected by B12 deficiency. However, unlike some other nutrients, it’s difficult to consume too much B12, highlighting the importance of ensuring an adequate intake through diet or supplements for optimal health.

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