What possible harm could inadequate vitamin B12 cause? Think about this: A sixty-two-year-old man experienced significant joint pain, numbness, and a “pins and needles” sensation in his hands over a two-month period. He also started to turn yellow and got increasingly breathless.

A case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Periodical of Medicine stated that the cause was a deficiency of vitamin B12 in his circulation. A severe vitamin B12 shortage can cause profound melancholy, incontinence, insecurity, loss of taste and smell, and more. So, it could have been worse.

Why vitamin B12 is important

For the creation of red blood cells, neurons, DNA, and other bodily components, the human body need Wellhealthorganic Vitamin B12. An adult should receive 2.4 micrograms daily on average. B12, like most vitamins, is not biosynthesised by the body. Rather, it needs to be obtained from diet or supplementation.

And therein lies the issue: while some people can absorb enough vitamin B12 no matter how much they ingest, others don’t get enough to meet their needs. Consequently, vitamin B12 insufficiency is somewhat frequent, particularly in the elderly.

Are you at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

The shortage of vitamin B12 can have numerous reasons. Remarkably, two of them—eating a vegetarian diet and having weight-loss surgery—are frequently done to enhance health.

Vitamin B12 is not made by plants. Meats, dairy products, eggs, poultry, and other animal-based foods are the only foods that provide it. Vegetarians and strict vegetarians who do not consume vitamin B12-fortified grains or who take vitamin supplements run a significant risk of being B12 deficient.

Due to the operation’s interference with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food, individuals who undergo weight-loss surgery are also more likely to have low vitamin B12 levels.

B12 problems can arise from illnesses like celiac or Crohn’s disease that impede the absorption of nutrients. Using often recommended heartburn medications, which lessen the stomach’s acid production (acid is required for the absorption of vitamin B12), can also help. Because ageing frequently results in a reduction in stomach acid production, older adults are more likely to develop the disorder.

How does my body absorb vitamin B12?

How does my body absorb vitamin B12?

Your body must go through two processes in order to fascinate vitamin B12 from the food you eat. First, the food that included vitamin B12 is demolished by the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Subsequently, vitamin B12 mixes with a protein produced by your stomach called intrinsic factor. Your digestive system is then able to absorb vitamin B12.

A rare disorder known as pernicious anaemia causes a person’s stomach to stop producing intrinsic factor. As a result, their body is unable to absorb vitamin B12 correctly, leading to a vitamin B12 shortage.

Can a vitamin B12 deficiency cause death?

Severe neurological (nervous system) impairment can result from an untreated vitamin B12 deficiency, increasing the chance of death. If left untreated, pernicious anemia—a shortage in red blood cell synthesis brought on by a deficit in vitamin B12—can result in irreversible brain damage and even death.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

  • A vitamin B12 deficiency may not manifest symptoms right away; instead, they may take time to manifest and worsen. It might also appear quite quickly. Because vitamin B12 insufficiency can create a wide range of symptoms, it is possible to ignore the disease or mistake it for something else. Symptoms of a vitamin B12 shortage can contain:
    strange feelings, coldness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
  • trouble walking (staggering, balance problems)
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss
  • weakness
  • fatigue

A thorough physical examination and interview can help a skilled doctor identify symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, but a blood test is required to confirm the diagnosis.

Asking your doctor to check your B12 level is a good idea if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, have undergone weight-loss surgery, or suffer from a condition that affects how well food is absorbed.

It’s critical to diagnose and treat patients early. The deficit can lead to serious neurological issues and blood disorders if treatment is not received.

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Boosting your B12

There are two options to treat a severe vitamin B12 deficiency: weekly B12 shots or daily high-dose B12 tablets. A typical multivitamin can help treat a slight B12 deficiency.

A vitamin B12 shortage can be avoided in a large number of persons. It’s crucial to consume vitamin B12-fortified breads, cereals, and other grains, or to take a daily supplement, if you follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. Six micrograms is more than enough to meet the average body’s daily requirement from a basic multivitamin.

What vitamin B12 can’t do

There are a tonne of articles on the internet endorsing the use of vitamin B12 to reverse infertility, exhaustion, eczema, and a host of other health issues, as well as to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and other chronic disorders. Most are predicated on shaky or inaccurate data.

Consider Alzheimer’s disease as an illustration. While there is a connection between low levels of vitamin B12 and cognitive loss, even at dosages of up to 1000 micrograms per day, clinical investigations, including those including individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, have not demonstrated improvements in cognitive function.


Your body requires vitamin B12 in order to purpose properly. By getting adequate vitamin B12 in their diet, most people can avoid developing a deficiency. Get in touch with your doctor to arrange a blood test to estimate your levels if you have symptoms or risk factors for having a vitamin B12 deficiency.

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