Vitamin B12 Deficiency – A Comprehensive Guide


A water-soluble vitamin called cobalamin, it can be found in foods including dairy, eggs, and red meat. A glycoprotein called intrinsic factor is created by parietal cells in the stomach and is essential for B12 absorption in the terminal ileum. B12 is absorbed and then used as a cofactor by enzymes that produce myelin, fatty acids, and DNA. B12 insufficiency can consequently cause hematologic and neurologic problems. B12 is over-stored in the liver, but when it cannot be absorbed for an extended length of time (due to inadequate food, malabsorption, or a lack of intrinsic factor, for example), hepatic stores are depleted, and shortage results.

In addition to being naturally present in animal products, it can also be obtained as an additive in some meals, an oral supplement, or an injection. Your body uses vitamin B12 for a variety of purposes. It is necessary for red blood cell creation, DNA synthesis, and supporting the regular operation of your nerve cells. The RDA for adults is 2.4 micrograms (mcg), however, it is higher for those who are pregnant or nursing. Your body may experience amazing health benefits from vitamin B12, including an increase in energy, an improvement in memory, and a reduction in the risk of heart disease.

Here are nine health benefits of vitamin B12:

  • Helps avoid anemia and aids in the production of red blood cells.
  • Could stop serious birth abnormalities.
  • May promote bone health and shield against osteoporosis.
  • Prevents the loss of neurons, which is advantageous for your brain.
  • Possibly energizing you
  • Lowering homocysteine may benefit heart health


An essential vitamin for numerous body processes, including the development of blood cells, healthy nerve activity, and brain function, is vitamin B-12. Your B-12 levels can be measured in a number of ways. You can either get your blood drawn or do a urine test at home. These examinations will assess your levels of:

  • Overall vitamin B-12
  • Methylmalonic acid (MMA)
  • Homocysteine
  • holotranscobalamin (holoTC)

A higher-than-average amount is also more common among obese or meat-eating individuals. High amounts of vitamin B-12 can be an indication of diabetes, some forms of leukemia, or liver illness.

It’s typical to experience a vitamin B-12 shortage. According to the National Institutes of Health Trusted Source, between 1.5% and 15% of Americans have inadequate amounts of vitamin B-12. The absorption of vitamin B-12 from food and oral supplements is a problem for many people, particularly older adults and those with intestinal issues.

In America, most people consume enough of this nutrient. Ask your doctor if a blood test to evaluate your vitamin B12 level is appropriate if you’re unsure. The ability to absorb this vitamin may decline with advancing age. Additionally, it may occur if you frequently consume alcohol, have undergone weight loss surgery, or have another procedure in which part of your stomach was removed. A vitamin B12 deficiency may also be more likely to occur if you have:

  • Atrophic gastritis causes thinning of the stomach lining.
  • Your body has a difficult time absorbing vitamin B12 as a result of pernicious anemia.
  • A parasite, bacterial growth, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or another condition that affects your small intestine
  • Alcohol abuse or binge drinking might prevent you from eating enough calories or make it more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients. Glossitis, or a swollen, irritated tongue, is one symptom of B12 deficiency.
  • Diseases of the immune system, such as lupus or Graves’ disease
  • Been using drugs that prevent B12 from being absorbed. This includes some heartburn medications, such as H2 Blockers like cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid AC), Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec OTC), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex), and specific diabetes medications (Glucophage).

You can also develop a vitamin B12 deficit if you consume no animal products at all, such as meat, milk, cheese, or eggs. You can fill this demand in both of those situations by consuming fortified meals or by taking supplements. Find out more about the various vitamin B supplement forms.


You could develop anemia if you don’t have enough vitamin B12. A slight deficiency could go unnoticed. However, if left untreated, it may cause symptoms like:

weakness, exhaustion, or dizziness

  • Breathlessness and heart palpitations
  • Light skin
  • An easy tongue
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, or bloating
  • Nerve problems, such as tingling or numbness in the legs, and muscle weakness
  • Loss of vision


At first, you’ll require shots of vitamin B12 if you suffer from pernicious anemia or have difficulties absorbing it. After that, you might need to continue getting these shots, consume a supplement in large quantities or receive it nasally. You have choices if you don’t consume animal products. If you are lacking in vitamin B12, you can supplement your diet with fortified cereals, get B12 shots, or take a high-dose oral vitamin B12.

If an older adult is vitamin B12 deficient, they probably need to take a daily B12 supplement or multivitamin that also contains B12. The majority of the time, treatment fixes the issue. But any nerve damage that resulted from the deficit might be irreversible.


Protein and fat metabolization are both aided by vitamin B-12. Bodybuilders require the amino acids from protein metabolism to repair and grow their muscles as well as fat as an energy source. Red blood cells are crucial for carrying oxygen to those muscles, and they are produced during the B-12 cycle. The appropriate brain function required for muscle control is also supported by this vitamin. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the majority of adults in the United States do not have a hard time getting their recommended daily intake of vitamin B-12. The daily recommended intake of vitamin B-12 is 2.4 micrograms. B-12 has a low toxicity threshold and cannot be stored by the body. However, taking more vitamin B-12 than is advised won’t increase your energy or make your exercises better if you don’t have a deficiency.

The fact that vitamin B-12 can only be obtained naturally in animal products sets it apart from the other B vitamins. Meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products are all excellent sources. However, plant-based foods like morning cereals and plant-based milk substitutes like soy milk may be vitamin-fortified. Due to a decrease in stomach acidity, which is required to aid in the release of the vitamin from the meal, some people have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12. If you use antacids, this might be the case, and it becomes more of an issue as you get older. If you don’t include fortified foods in your diet, you run the risk of not being able to acquire enough if you’re a vegan or vegetarian bodybuilder.


The B vitamins are a crucial part of our diet because they work together to make sure that many of our biological processes are running well. B vitamins can be found in a wide range of dietary sources and are essential for the nerve and cardiovascular systems, energy production, and mental health. It is absolutely crucial to have enough energy available to push through demanding workouts. B vitamins, which can be obtained via food or supplements, will help to guarantee that energy levels are at their peak.

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