One of the eight B vitamins that are crucial to your health is vitamin B12. Red blood cell formation, metabolism, and DNA synthesis all depend on vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 shortage can have a variety of negative effects on health. 

In addition to being added to some plant-based foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, B12 is naturally concentrated in animal products including meat, fish, and eggs. Despite the fact that B12 is present in many widely consumed foods, some people still need to take supplements in order to keep their levels of this nutrient in a safe range. 

Why Vitamin B12 is necessary?

By turning carbs into glucose, vitamin B12 aids in your body’s energy production. The neurological system benefits from the presence of vitamin B12. Along with folate, vitamin B9, it improves iron’s efficiency and aids in the production of healthy red blood cells in the body. The molecule S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), which supports immunological and mood function, is created when folate and vitamin B12 are combined.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Cobalamin, often known as vitamin B12, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in foods including dairy, eggs, and red meat. A glycoprotein called intrinsic factor is created by parietal cells in the stomach and is required for B12 absorption in the terminal ileum. B12 helps as a cofactor for enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of DNA, fatty acids, and myelin after being absorbed. B12 deficiency might therefore result in hematologic and neurologic problems. B12 is stored in excess in the liver, but when it cannot be absorbed for an extended length of time (due to nutritional insufficiency, malabsorption, or a lack of intrinsic factor, for example), hepatic stores are depleted, and deficiency results.


Causes of B12 Deficiency

There are three main causes of vitamin B12 deficiencies:


Antibodies to intrinsic factors are produced in pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease. Antibodies against intrinsic factors bind to it and block its actions, preventing the terminal ileum from absorbing vitamin B12. 

Dietary shortfall

Although vitamin B12 is stored in excess in the liver, patients who have adhered to a strict vegan diet for about three years may experience a B12 shortfall due to inadequate dietary intake.


Since the gastric parietal cells that make intrinsic factors are bypassed by the new alimentary tract in gastric bypass patients, they may be at risk for acquiring a B12 deficit. Any injury to the terminal ileum, such as surgical resection brought on by Crohn's disease, will hinder the absorption of B12 and result in a shortfall in patients with normal intrinsic factor production. A B12 shortage may also develop from other harm to the small intestine, such as inflammation from celiac disease or infection with the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum.


Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

You could develop anemia if you don’t get enough vitamin B12. A slight shortfall could go unnoticed. However, if left untreated, it could result in symptoms like:

  • Weakness, fatigue, or dizziness
  • Breathlessness and a racing heart
  • Pale skin 
  • A smooth tongue
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain 
  • Muscle weakness, issues with walking, and nerve issues including numbness or tingling
  • Vision impairment
  • Mental health issues include depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes

Vitamin B12 Foods

Vitamin B12 can be obtained from food and supplements. Vitamin B12 is naturally present in the following foods:

  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Chicken breast
  • Clam
  • Salmon 
  • Sardines
  • Trout
  • Tuna 
  • Milk 
  • Eggs
  • Ham
  • Unflavored Greek Yogurt
  • Supplemented nutritional yeast