How To Avoid A Vitamin B12 Deficiency

How To Avoid A Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Even if you’re not vegan, you can still have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s sad but true. If you have low energy levels, you might be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. If you just feel “blah” and icky you could be suffering from a B12 deficiency. Did you know you can even get a B12 injection at the doctor to give you energy? Okay, enough rambling.

Let’s start with the basic facts first.

Vitamin B12 does a ton of stuff for your body – including making red blood cells and also synthesizing your dna (1).

Red blood cells and dna – I think we can agree those are important.

Here’s another fact – Vitamin B12 isn’t synthesized anywhere in your body. Nowhere. 100% of the Vitamin B12 your body gets comes through your diet.

If you’re not eating enough Vitamin B12, you’re going to have a vitamin deficiency. Your body can’t produce it on its own.

What Are Some Things That Increase My Chances Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

I’m glad you asked! There are a few conditions that increase your chances drastically:

  • Immune system disorders like lupus or Graves’ disease (2)

  • Prior surgery that removed any portion of your stomach or small intestine – this includes weight loss surgery

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  • Using stomach-acid reducing drugs for a long period of time

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  • Pernicious anemia will harm your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12

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  • Excessive or heavy drinking

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  • Atrophic gastritis – otherwise known as the thinning of the stomach lining

 

There are some other things that greatly increase your chances of having a Vitamin B12 deficiency. For instance, if you live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, there’s a good chance you’re not eating enough of the foods that give you the Vitamin B12 you need. (Animal products – including baked chicken – are a great way of getting Vitamin B12).

Plus, vegetarian mothers often give birth to babies who are Vitamin B12 deficient – which can be solved by eating Vitamin B12 fortified grains or taking supplements… or eating more animal products like healthy cheeses and dairy.

As you get older, your risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency grows.

What Does A Vitamin B12 Deficiency Do To My Body?

Lots of stuff. None of it’s good.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia (3), which is bad enough. However, if unchecked, it can also lead to:

  • Vision loss

  • Depression, behavior changes, or memory loss

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  • Weakness, lightheadedness, and tiredness

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  • Shortness of breath and heart palpitations

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  • Pale skin

If you suspect that you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, talk to your doctor about getting a blood test so that you can know for sure.

I Have A Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Now What?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated, but it depends on your body and your conditions.

If you have pernicious anemia, for example, you’ll have to get your Vitamin B12 from injections to begin with, and then either continue with injections, get it nasally, or take high doses orally.

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However, if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just don’t eat a lot of animal products, you can add Vitamin B12 fortified grains to your diet, take Vitamin B12 supplements or injections, or take a high oral dose.

As your risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency increases as you age, the elderly should definitely consider taking a daily vitamin with B12 in it.

How Do I Stop Myself From Getting A Vitamin B12 Deficiency In The First Place?

For most people, all it takes to prevent a Vitamin B12 deficiency is to eat more animal products – like eggs, dairy products, seafood, poultry, and meat.

If you don’t have any of those as part of your diet, or your body cannot absorb nutrients properly, try taking a multivitamin that has Vitamin B12 in it, as well as eating Vitamin B12 fortified grains.

29 comments… add one
  • "Leah Evers" April 24, 2017, 1:58 pm

    Very interesting… I don’t know if my levels are low.

  • Leslie White October 24, 2015, 9:11 am

    I get random bouts of dizziness, could this be associated with a B12 issue?

  • Yu Gibson October 23, 2015, 10:47 am

    If you feel that you are experiencing issues due to some deficiency, you need to see a doctor. There are very few ways that you can tell you need more of any one thing in your body.

  • Virginia Vidales October 22, 2015, 2:50 pm

    It sounds like if you have a B12 problem, it can be fixed you just have to know where to start. Great post!

    • Amy Grado October 24, 2015, 9:23 am

      Yup. You need to know first if you have an issue. Then you can solve it with help from your doctor.

  • Tara Ackerman October 22, 2015, 2:40 pm

    There are many people that are affected by things like this and it might be enough to make them blind to the B12 deficiency.

  • Lita Krieg October 21, 2015, 10:47 pm

    So many people have acid reflux and take a pill for it, I wonder if they realize they could be low on this vitamin as well?

    • April Rothman October 29, 2015, 9:29 am

      Probably not, otherwise, don’t you think they would take care of it the right way?

  • Vickie Trask October 20, 2015, 2:19 pm

    Some of these ailments are quite severe. Just another reason that your health is a very important part of your life.

  • Myra Huff October 16, 2015, 9:15 am

    Is this the only vitamin that does not get created on the inside of our bodies?

    • Alexandria Harris October 21, 2015, 11:13 pm

      I was wondering the exact same thing!

  • Edwin Tyree October 15, 2015, 8:11 am

    I have been working with people and B12 deficiencies for a few years now and I would agree that these are the most common symptoms. However, you should be aware that other signs are there and anytime you are not sure, you should see your doctor.

  • Linda Person October 15, 2015, 7:59 am

    Great tips! I find the health information that you post very helpful and easy to follow.

    • Irene Leon October 16, 2015, 9:26 am

      It is. So many different sources online can point you in the wrong direction. It takes days to sort through all the garbage just so you can learn something.

  • Beverly Rape October 15, 2015, 12:39 am

    I love the fact that there are foods that can help with a drop in B12. What if there were not anyone to be with?

  • Yolanda McMurtry October 15, 2015, 12:28 am

    Once again, it looks like it comes down to a diet thing. Great post!

    • Charles Elliott October 29, 2015, 9:39 am

      Diet and exercise will rule ALL. Stay healthy, eat right and be active, it does not get any simpler than that!

  • Herbert Townes October 13, 2015, 9:34 pm

    B12 is important according to what you have here, but the problem that I have is that there is very little every said about it. You hear of all the other vitamins, but not this one so much.

  • Carey Moore October 13, 2015, 9:23 pm

    There are so many people that drink more than they should. They feel like crap all the time and they are blaming the drinking. What if there is more to that story than they know?

    • Jennifer Chavez October 23, 2015, 10:59 am

      I sure hope that I do not get this type of condition. It does not look or sound like any fun.

  • Dorothy Howard October 12, 2015, 2:46 pm

    I am afraid that all of the heavy drinking I did back in the day will catch up with me now that I am older. Do you think that will make a difference?

  • Mary Johnson October 10, 2015, 6:33 am

    My aunt had lupus and I never remember her talking about B12 that much. This information is very valuable.

    • Amelia Lucht October 20, 2015, 2:41 pm

      This is good to know if you are caring for an older person. I never realized this and they might not either.

  • Yetta Crossley October 9, 2015, 2:05 pm

    B12 seems to be very important. You would think that something that messes with your DNA would be one thing you want to pay attention to. How do I know if I have a deficiency in the vitamin?

  • Rachel Recinos October 9, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Knowing that B12 only comes from what you put into your body, that makes me a little more aware of what I eat on a daily basis!

  • Pamela Jenkins October 8, 2015, 2:55 pm

    My doctor did a bunch of blood work for me and told that I should be getting more of the V12. Thank you for posting the foods that will help!

    • Lue Pickens October 10, 2015, 6:44 am

      That is a great start. Just remember that all foods are different so you want to make sure you are getting enough.

  • Valda Blankenship October 8, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I didn’t realize how important Vitamin B12 is to your body. That is amazing how effective the minerals and vitamins in our bodies at keeping us alive.

    • Agnes Cobb October 12, 2015, 2:56 pm

      I did not either. I am glad that I read this post!

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