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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

B12 vitamin insufficiency Due to a shortage of vitamin B12, a disease known as anemia occurs when your body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to every area of your body, are made possible by this vitamin. Your tissues and organs do not receive adequate oxygen if there are not enough red blood cells. Lack of oxygen affects how well your body works.

An additional B vitamin is folic acid, generally known as folate. Megaloblastic anemias include those brought on by a deficiency of folate or vitamin B12, respectively. These anemia’s result in abnormal red blood cell development.

They are enormous. Moreover, they are oval-shaped rather than spherical like healthy red blood cells. The bone marrow produces fewer red blood cells as a result. Red blood cells can perish earlier than usual.

What results in anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency?


If you don’t consume enough foods containing vitamin B12, such as if you adhere to a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, you might develop vitamin B12-deficiency anemia. Yet this is uncommon. Anemia brought on by a lack of vitamin B12 is most frequently brought on by other risk factors in the US.

For the following reasons, vitamin B12 insufficiency can occur:

  1. Absence of intrinsic factor: 

A stomach-produced protein called intrinsic factor aids the body’s absorption of vitamin B12. Pernicious anemia patients do not create intrinsic factors. Those with northern European or African heritage are more likely to suffer from pernicious anemia. If your body is unable to absorb sufficient vitamin B12 from the diet, you might develop vitamin B12-deficiency anemia.

Digestive issues are more prevalent in older persons and make vitamin B12 absorption more difficult.

  1. Lifestyle choices:

Excessive alcohol use might hinder the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12. This is more than two drinks a day for males. It’s more than one drink each day for ladies.

  1. Medications: 

Over time, using some medications may make it more difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12. Some of them include medications for heartburn and the diabetic medication metformin.

  1. Health issues: 

Certain health issues might increase your risk of anemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency. 

They consist of:

  • Type 1 diabetes, thyroid illness, and other autoimmune conditions including celiac disease external link
  • Long-term pancreatitis
  • Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome, hereditary intrinsic factor deficiency, and inherited transcobalamin insufficiency are a few genetic disorders.
  • Digestive and intestinal disorders such Helicobacter pylori infection, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
  • Vitiligo External link
  1. Abdominal surgery:

Abdominal surgery, such as a gastrectomy or weight-loss surgery, can make it more difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Symptoms of a vitamin B12 shortage might be neurological, psychological, or physical. The signs of a vitamin B12 shortage might appear gradually and progressively worsen. Despite having low levels of vitamin B12 in their systems, some people may not exhibit any symptoms. Without anemia, those with vitamin B12 insufficiency may experience neurological symptoms or damage (lack of red blood cells).

These are examples of general physical signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Feeling drained or fragile.
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are present.
  • Not as ravenous as usual.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Having a painful tongue or mouth.
  • Having skin that is yellow.

By consuming vitamin B12-rich foods and beverages, the majority of individuals may avoid vitamin B12 insufficiency.

Prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency?

  1. Foods derived from animals: Vitamin B12 is present in red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.
  2. Fortified foods: Foods that have additional vitamins and nutrients that they do not normally have are referred to as fortified foods. Some bread varieties, nutritional yeast, plant milk, and specific cereals are among the foods that have been fortified. Make careful to look at the nutritional data on the product label to see whether it has been fortified with vitamin B12.
  3. Supplements that include vitamin B12 are present in several multivitamins. Moreover, some pills include simply vitamin B12. Inquire with your doctor or chemist about the supplement they recommend for you.