• Facebook
  • Instagram
Item Added To cart

Vitamin B12 - Its Deficiency And Its Sources

30-10-2023 Posted By : Olab Team Share :
Vitamin B12 - Its Deficiency And Its Sources | O-Lab

Vitamin B12 is an important water-soluble vitamin that you can get from your diet and supplements. Its deficiency can cause serious symptoms and it is easy to treat. There is no reason to ignore this deficiency when supplements and medicines can rapidly correct it. 

Vitamin B12 has many important roles for a healthy human body. One may become deficient if the body is unable to absorb it properly or the diet itself is deficient in this vitamin. 

People have a false idea that fruits are rich in vitamin b12 or that vegans can get adequate levels from their diet. You will find such misleading information online. 

Read this blog to get the correct information about Vitamin B12 and its food sources.


Vitamin B12 plays essential functions in the body including its role in keeping our nerves healthy and in the production of red blood cells. This water-soluble vitamin is also called cobalamin. Our body does not produce this vitamin on its own which is why it should be there in our diet. 

When the deficiency of Vitamin B12 is present for a long time, it leads to psychological issues, neurological problems, and physical symptoms. Natural Vitamin B12 sources and supplements are easily available. 

Once this vitamin enters our body, two things are required to absorb vitamin B12 properly. Our stomachs should have sufficient hydrochloric acid and an intrinsic factor. The hydrochloric acid removes vitamin B12 present in the food we eat while the intrinsic factor combines with it for absorption by our digestive system. Any problem with these two will decrease Vitamin B12 absorption. 

The major reason in most cases is inadequate levels of this vitamin in the diet itself. Unlike what people may believe, there are no vitamin B12-rich dry fruits or other important plant sources which is why you need to know how to get this vitamin from food. Even when there is no problem with absorption, a deficiency in the diet will lead to a deficiency in the body. Let us look at the functions of Vitamin B12, its true sources, and how its deficiency affects us. 

Also Read: - Vitamin D Blood Test

Role And Benefits Of Vitamin B12

  • It is involved in both the formation as well as maturation of red blood cells. If someone is deficient in this vitamin, the red blood cell count will be low and there will be more immature cells affecting oxygen transport. It can lead to megaloblastic anemia. There are no Vitamin B12-rich dry fruits but they have other minerals and vitamins that work with vitamin b12 for red blood cell production. 
  • Having normal ranges of this vitamin in your blood is essential to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. A deficiency can lead to neural tube defects as the vitamin is needed for brain development and a healthy nervous system. Other problems can be there too.
  • Normal levels of vitamin B12 can lower the levels of homocysteine in blood. Raised homocysteine levels are involved in diseases like heart problems, macular degeneration, etc. 
  • Some research suggests the role of Vitamin B12 in healthy bones. 
  • Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin cause depression and mood issues. 
  • Deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes fatigue and weakness because this vitamin is involved in energy production.
  • Adequate levels of Vitamin B12 must be maintained for a healthy nervous system and for the health of our brains. A deficiency can cause nerve issues and memory problems.
  • Normal levels of this vitamin are also needed for healthy skin, nails, and hair. 

Who can have vitamin B12 deficiency?

  • People who don't get it from their diet, especially vegans
  • Those above the age of 60 as absorption is affected
  • Those with gastritis or other digestive issues like IBS, Crohn's, etc
  • If you have pernicious anemia
  • If you have had a surgery like gastric bypass or for cancer of any part of the digestive system
  • Transcobalamin II deficiency which is rare
  • If you drink alcohol
  • If someone has Sjögren's syndrome
  • If you take some medicines like metformin, antacids, etc 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

1. Physical

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sore mouth or sore tongue
  • Nausea, vomiting, loose motions 
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence 

2. Neurological

  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Gait issues
  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or legs
  • Speech issues
  • Spinal cord degeneration 

Neurological problems develop after prolonged B12 deficiency and may be irreversible.

3. Psychological

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

Vitamin B12-rich fruits, vegetables, and other sources

Fruits, vegetables, or other plant products do not contain B12. It is only present in animal products including dairy. 

The best sources of this vitamin are:

  • Dairy products like milk, curd, paneer, and ghee are naturally rich sources of vitamin b12. Vegetarians can get b12 from regular consumption of dairy products. 
  • Meat especially liver and kidneys, fish, shellfish poultry, and eggs are all very rich sources of vitamin b12
  • Fortified foods like vitamin B12-rich cereals, some types of bread, and fortified nutritional yeast can provide some amounts of vitamin b12 when consumed regularly 
  • Fortified vitamin-rich juices and plant milk are also good sources

People who have gastric issues consume alcohol, pregnant women, those undergoing chemotherapy or having certain types of cancers, who are vegans, or those who have other underlying causes of vitamin b12 deficiency will need supplements. 

Some may need injections when oral supplements are not working. See your doctor if you have any symptoms related to deficiency or feel unwell in general.


Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that you need in adequate amounts to be healthy. You can avoid its deficiency by eating Vitamin D-rich foods, taking supplements, and treating the underlying causes of deficiency. 

It is important to see a doctor if you have symptoms of a B12 deficiency and to get a Vitamin B12 blood test and CBC. At O-Lab, different blood tests are conducted using state-of-the-art collection and testing facilities to provide accurate and timely results. 

The prices are most reasonable and at-home collection facilities are available. Get your blood tests in time to get timely treatment and make the much-needed changes for a healthier you. 

Oral B12 supplements, nasal spray, and intramuscular injections are available to correct the deficiency. Prolonged deficiency can cause serious health problems. 

Submit your post