Vitamin B12 deficiency: causes & tips for a lack of B12

The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are quite diverse, which sometimes makes it difficult to make the correct diagnosis. Most people with a B12 deficiency experience weakness, fatigue, stomach upset and tingling. The causes are usually found in problems with the digestive system, but this vitamin deficiency also occurs in alcoholism and vegetarianism. To quickly supplement a vitamin B12 deficiency, you can take nutritional supplements. What can you do about a vitamin B12 deficiency and in which foods can you find it?

Function of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that plays an important role in the human body. Its function is to balance the amino acids in the body. In addition, it ensures the production of red blood cells , which are responsible for the transport of oxygen in the body. Furthermore, this vitamin also has a function in the brain, bone formation and a good nervous system.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Basic symptoms

The possible symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency are very different. The symptoms often relate to the digestive system: for example, stomach complaints, constipation and diarrhea. A sore tongue, physical weakness, dizziness, fatigue and rapid breathing can also indicate a lack of vitamin B12, as can bleeding gums , pale skin and a sore tongue.


If the vitamin B12 deficiency is only discovered over time, the symptoms may worsen. We think of tingling and a “sleeping” feeling in the hands and feet. Furthermore, an advanced B12 deficiency can also lead to mood swings, depressive feelings and confusion. In severe cases you can suffer nerve damage.

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency

Power supply

In a normal situation, you can get enough B12 from the food you eat, as long as you follow a healthy diet. Because some vegans and vegetarians do not eat certain foods, their risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency may be increased. If your digestive system cannot absorb enough vitamins, the cause is most likely a digestive problem.


Diseases or conditions that may be associated with a B12 deficiency include:

  • alcoholism
  • pernicious anemia
  • autoimmune diseases
  • surgery on the stomach or intestines
  • reduced production of stomach acid
  • stomach problems, such as a thinned stomach wall
  • chronic intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis

Treatment and tips

Power supply

You can start by trying to supplement your vitamin B12 deficiency with the right diet. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs. But B12 is also present in meat, poultry and seafood. Stopping drinking alcohol, or at least limiting your alcohol consumption, can also help prevent the vitamin B12 deficiency from getting worse.


If the doctor detects a noticeable lack of vitamin B12, he can recommend additional treatment with supplements. Dietary supplements can quickly make up for the lack of vitamin B12 and boost your total B12 levels. This can be done through an injection of B12 for quick treatment, but also through tablets for longer-term treatment. Especially if you are vegan or vegetarian, it is recommended to take extra vitamin supplements.

read more

  • Magnesium deficiency: causes & tips for magnesium deficiency