Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

By Arunima Verma  on: 12 October 2017
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Many of you, who might have had a look at health check-up packages, might have seen that almost all such packages have tests for Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. I already written about vitamin D in a previous article. Here I am going to focus on Vitamin B12.

What is Vitamin B12

It is a water- soluble vitamin, also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, and is very important for normal functioning of brain and the central nervous system. It works closely with folic acid and helps in the formation of red blood cells. Folic acid and B12 also work together to form a compound which is involved in immune function and mood. It also helps in the production of DNA and RNA, body's genetic material. Vitamin B12 along with Folic acid and vitamin B6, control the levels of homocysteine, which in high levels can cause heart diseases. Therefore it is a vital nutrient, the deficiency of which will invite a lot of diseases.

Since Vitamin B12 also assists in the metabolism of protein and fat, it has been found to be important for body building. Bodybuilding requires the amino acids resulting from protein metabolism to repair and build muscles, and fat for energy. But if the person is not deficient in Vitamin B12, then taking extra doses than recommended will not improve the energy levels or the workouts.


Vitamin B12 deficiency is a fairly common condition but is usually undiagnosed due to lack of enough classic symptoms but yet there are some signs and symptoms which one can look out for.

  1. Depression, Psychosis, Dementia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), memory loss, tremors, shaky movements, unsteady gait. As mentioned above, it is involved in the functioning of the brain and Central Nervous System, therefore its deficiency can lead to the above symptoms.
  2. Pernicious Anemia, Fatigue, Shortness of breath. Anemia is a classic symptom of B12 deficiency. Severe anemia can lead to fatigue and shortness of breath. These symptoms are also related to congestive heart failure, along with ankle edema, breathing difficulty and frequent urination at night.
  3. Loss of balance, tingling in the arms and legs are some other signs of deficiency.

Reasons of Deficiency

  • In India, one of the main reasons is thought to be dietary habits. Due to religious, spiritual, and socioeconomic conditions, our country is largely vegetarian and since B12 is mainly found in animal food sources, it may contribute to deficiency of this vitamin. Also, there is a high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection. H.pylori  is a bacteria which causes stomach infection which then leads to low secretion of stomach acids and something called an intrinsic factor which helps in the absorption of vitamin B12.
  • People with Celiac disease, Crohn's Disease may not absorb Vitamin b12 well.
  • People over 50 lose the ability to absorb Vitamin B12 from food.
  • If an individual has undergone any gastrointestinal surgery or weight loss surgery, he or she may not be able to absorb vitamin B12.
  • Some others who are at risk are individuals with diabetes and HIV.
  • Consistent intake of antacid.
  • Heavy drinking

Food Sources of Vitamin B12

Image courtesy of (Lamb: James Barker; Fish: Dan; Eggs: amenic181; Museli and fruit: joephotostudio; Milk: John Kasawa) at

  • Organ meat particularly liver and kidney
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

In case one is detected with deficiency, supplementation will be required along with food sources. For certain cases which are not diet related deficiency, vitamin B12 injections may be given. Please follow the doctor's advice for supplementation. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate.

Side Effects

Recent research from Ohio State University, suggests that long term use of high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 is related to higher risk of lung cancer in men relative to non-users. This risk was higher in male smokers than non- smokers. More research is underway to see if the results can be replicated.

Remember that this is only for high doses and long-term use. Do not panic the moment you are given this supplement by your physician. Because deficiency will require supplementation along with the right kind of food.


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Dietitian Arunima Verma is a nutritionist based in Ansal Sushant City, Panipat, India (presently consulting online). Online Nutritionist Arunima Verma is a weight loss diets expert . She is helping people to reach to their health related goals with her healthy diets & lifestyle. Online Dietitian Arunima Verma provides weight loss diet consultations online. Online diet consultation, customised online diet plans, personalised Diet chart are provided for services like fast and Healthy Weight Loss, Healthy Weight Gain, control and manage diabetes , Healthy Online Diabetic Diet, Weight Loss for kids, Healthy Heart Diet, Online diet, Child nutrition, diet for toddlers, Post natal diet, Therapeutic diet and other disease management.In this fast-paced, high-stress society, where everything is going online, why not diet? My e clinic;  " Dietitian Arunima's Diet Clinic " helps you attain optimal health by online diet plans and motivating diet counselling sessions. Looking after your health today gives you a better health for tommorow!  She is one of the best Dietitians in Panipat.Looking for top online weight loss diet in Ansal Sushant City, Panipat, or a Dietitian in Ansal Sushant City, Panipat? Interested in excellent weight loss service online or in Ansal Sushant City, Panipat?( Presently consulting online) Then contact famous weight loss diet consultant Diet Specialist Arunima Verma.You can view our testimonial, weight loss success stories and experience of our clients who have successfully reduced weight through healthy weight loss diet charts. One of the leading weight loss consultant in Panipat. (Presently consulting online)Nutritionist Arunima's Verma major area for diet counseling is therapeutic diets, weight gain, weight loss, diabetes, diet for toddlers, pre and post natal program, Kids diet, therapeutic diet, heart related problems specially pertaining to cholesterol. With a right diet a 100 % reversal can be brought down for pre diabetics and type 2 diabetics where the blood sugar level can be completely controlled for a better and disease free life.Online Diet Consultant Arunima's Verma diets aims at overall nutritional correction with comprehensive individual assessment, with long term results and benefits. Lets make life better by bringing in a total lifestyle change!!Online dietitian Arunima Verma is a qualified nutritonist/dietitian providing Diet programs such as Weight loss diet, Pregnancy and Lactation diet, Diet for toddlers and Diet for other disorders.Email & phone consultation is also provided. If you're looking to consult best dietitian in Ansal Sushant City, Panipat, then do register on this eClinic. PRESENTLY CONSULTING ONLINE.
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