Vitamin B12….very important for your functioning, for young people and elderly…….

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) ensures proper functioning of the immune system, nervous system and the formation of DNA.

It is also necessary for the production of red blood cells and nerve cells in the body.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and milk.

But know that a vitamin B12 deficiency can arise due to a problem with its absorption in the stomach or intestines or if you eat little or no meat or meat substitutes. A deficiency of folic acid or iron can also counteract the absorption of vitamin B12.

For everyone – young people and elderly – the symptoms and / or complaints with a vitamin B12 deficiency can be different.

Top 10 complaints that can arise from a vitamin B12 deficiency: a.o.

  • Fatigue, no energy and /or fitness
  • Highly sensitive or overstimulated e.g. for light or sound
  • Problems with concentrating, memory problems or finding it hard to come up with words (aphasia)
  • Cramps or tingling in the feet, hands, legs, arms or face or numbness in the hands and /or feet (feeling as if there are pads under your feet or as if you are walking on “cotton wool”…..)
  • Feeling cold
  • A reduced immune system
  • Forgetfulness, balance problems, osteoporosis, cardiac arrhythmias and poor vision or hearing.
  • Loss of strength in arms and legs
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Depression or psychosis

Other complaints: a.o.

Inflamed and /or thick tongue (Glossitis), menstrual complaints, loss of appetite, falling, tripping, reduced pain perception, reduced sense of smell and taste, mood and behavioral changes, irritability, muscle pain, pale skin, blurred vision, Restless Legs Syndrome ( RLS) / restless legs and ringing in the ears.

Causes / consequences of a Vitamin B12 deficiency: a.o.

  • Medicines that stop the absorption of vitamin B12
  • Pregnancy: the body consumes a lot of vitamin B12, in combination with folic acid
  • Age: with age, the stomach acid content that converts vitamin B12 decreases in the body
  • Young adults and children: e.g. familial, from mother to child – consequence: delay in physical growth and mental development and a learning delay can also arise
  • Vegetarians and Vegans: eat little or no meat (-substitutes)

Causes of a disrupted absorption in the process of converting vitamin B12: a.o.

  • Medicines:

Metformin (for use in diabetes)

Proton Pump Inhibitors (antacids): Omeprazole and Pantozol / Pantoprazole

Antacids (gastric acid binders): for example Maalox

Folic acid (lowers vitamin B12 in your body)

Potassium tablets

Other causes: a.o.

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Helicobacter Pylori infection (bacteria in the stomach)
  • Gastrectomy (total or partial removal of the stomach), gastric bypass (stomach reduction)
  • Alcoholism

A vitamin B12 deficiency in adults:

Gastric acid is needed to convert vitamin B12 from food into a form that the body can absorb. In the stomach, a protein is disconnected from the vitamin, among other things by the stomach acid.

  • As you get older, the stomach acid content decreases little by little, so you don’t realize that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Complaints therefore do not arise immediately, but gradually and you think it is due to aging, but do not think of a vitamin B12 deficiency. The elderly can also use medicines (e.g. metformin or a NSAID = Non Steroïdal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) that require a stomach protector (antacids). By taking these antacids such as omeprazole or pantozole / pantoprazole, the decrease of vitamin B12 in the body is promoted and complaints may increase, which are therefore noticeable after a period of time.

A vitamin deficiency in children:

As already mentioned, a shortage of vitamin B12 in children can be caused by, among other things, familial transmission. From mother to child, probably already during pregnancy.

Consequences: a.o.

Delay in physical growth and mental development, learning delay, speech problems, allergy and skin complaints and a malfunctioning immune system, which in turn leads to many other problems.

Vitamin B12 supports growth in children by promoting calcium absorption.

Vegetarians and Vegans:

A shortage of vitamin B12 can arise because little or no meat or meat substitutes are added to the diet that contains an active form of vitamin B12.

An inactive form of vitamin B12 is not processed by the body. That is why a supplement of vitamin B12 is certainly recommended.

Causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency:

A vitamin B12 deficiency does not arise immediately. All vitamin B12 is temporarily stored and used in the liver until this stock is used up. Only then can a shortage arise. If a vitamin B12 deficiency has been present for some time, it will take a while before it returns to the correct level. The level can be brought back up to standard by taking an (extra) vitamin B12 supplement.

Your body itself ensures that the excess of vitamin B12 is not absorbed but is immediately removed with your urine.

What kind of vitamin B12 to take:

It is advisable to take the tablets with vitamin B12 that contain the (biologically) active form of Methylcobalamin. Preferred are melt tablets.

These tablets do not need to be converted by the body and can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the oral mucosa after dissolving.

There are also vitamin B12 tablets based on:

  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Methyl- and adenosyl cobalamin

But the biologically active form of Methylcobalamin as a melting tablet is best recommended, as mentioned above.

Use / Intake / amount: preferably in the morning… .. during the meal. (see also the leaflet with the bottle)

Important: If you suspect a vitamin B12 deficiency and /or have complaints, you can consult your general practitioner and have a blood test determine whether you have a deficiency.

Often there are permanent complaints due to a late diagnosis and / or insufficient or no treatment.

(These are some facts and tidbits about vitamin B12… and there will no doubt be a lot more to say / read / write about… ..)

The compiler(s) of this article accepts no liability whatsoever for the completeness, correctness or effectiveness of the information. The use of the information is at the sole responsibility and risk of the user.

© 2021 by Lynn

(in consultation / collaboration with