Vitamin B12:Benefits,Dosage,Deficiency and Foods To Cure



Vitamin B12:Benefits,Dosage,Deficiency and Foods To Cure

Hello all!!

Have you ever wondered why there is so much fuss about carbohydrates and proteins in the fitness arena?  Actually they alone are not sufficient for our existence. What more do we need? An answer to this would be – we need vitamins and minerals.

Let me talk about one vitamin at a time. Today I  shall begin with Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12:Benefits

Generally speaking Vitamins are classified as either fat soluble or water soluble. Vitamin B12 falls in the water soluble category.

Roles played by Vitamin B12 in the body

vitamin b12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is needed for the following:

  • The normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system
  • For the formation of blood
  • For  making our body’s genetic material
  • To assist energy metabolism

What happens when a person has a deficiency of Vitamin B12?

It can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in the person. Long before anemia sets in, B12 deficiency causes other problems that include fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss and neurological and psychiatric problems. As the anemia further worsens it may cause the following symptoms:

  • stomach upset and weight loss
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • weakness, tiredness or light-headedness
  • rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • pale skin
  • sore tongue
  • easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums

If the deficiency is not treated it may damage the nerve cells of the body. What seems to be a trivial deficiency is certainly a serious issue if left untreated.

What causes the deficiency of Vitamin B12?

This deficiency occurs when the vitamin is not absorbed properly by the body. Vegetarians and vegans are at a high risk as Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products. But even those who eat meat can suffer from this deficiency due to the vitamin not getting absorbed by the body.

The people falling in the following category are at risk:

  • vegetarians and vegans
  • people aged 60 or over
  • people who regularly use stomach acid suppressing drugs
  • people on diabetes drugs
  • women with a history of infertility and miscarriage

The bad news is that Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. Studies consistently show that up to 50% of vegetarians and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12.  All the vegetarians out there need not lose heart. You would have seen food products in the market fortified with the B12 vitamin. Another way out for such people is to start taking vitamin B12 supplements.

vitamin B12 importance body

Curing the Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Treatment of this deficiency at an early stage can be done through taking vitamin B12 supplements.  Patients with an advanced stage deficiency are treated lifelong with a medically effective dose of Vitamin B12. All this needs to be done strictly under medical supervision.

Daily recommended dose of Vitamin B12 is as mentioned below:


Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin B12






0–6 months*

0.4 mcg

0.4 mcg

7–12 months*

0.5 mcg

0.5 mcg

1–3 years

0.9 mcg

0.9 mcg

4–8 years

1.2 mcg

1.2 mcg

9–13 years

1.8 mcg

1.8 mcg

14+ years

2.4 mcg

2.4 mcg

2.6 mcg

2.8 mcg

* Adequate Intake

Foods rich in Vitamin B12

  • Fish

  •  Meat

  •  Poultry

  •  Eggs

  •  Milk and milk products.

I also happened to read that vegetarians can opt for milk products like dahi, paneer, cheese, etc. Fortified breakfast cereals like cornflakes are a useful source. So try to have a wholesome and balanced diet and ward off chances of any kind of deficiency.

Stay tuned for some more posts on other vitamin deficiencies.

Take care!