PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

Why do I have vitamin B12 deficiency?

ANSWER

With age, it can become harder to absorb this vitamin. It can also happen if you have had weight loss surgery or another operation that removed part of your stomach, if you drink heavily, or if you’ve taken acid reducers for a long time.

You could also have it because you have:

You can also get vitamin B12 deficiency if you follow a vegan diet, or you are a vegetarian who doesn't eat enough eggs or dairy products to meet your vitamin B12 needs. In both cases, you can add fortified foods to your diet or take supplements.

  • Atrophic gastritis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Crohn's disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite
  • Immune system disorders, such as Graves' disease or lupus

From: Vitamin B12: What to Know WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension: "Facts About Vitamin B12."

University of Arizona’s Arizona Telemedicine Program: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia."

Harvard Health Publications: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vegetarians, elderly may not get enough vitamin B12, says the Harvard Health Letter."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Pernicious Anemia."

Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin B12."

Kaiser Permanente: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12."

MedlinePlus: "Anemia -- B12 deficiency."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2019

SOURCES:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension: "Facts About Vitamin B12."

University of Arizona’s Arizona Telemedicine Program: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia."

Harvard Health Publications: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vegetarians, elderly may not get enough vitamin B12, says the Harvard Health Letter."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Pernicious Anemia."

Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin B12."

Kaiser Permanente: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12."

MedlinePlus: "Anemia -- B12 deficiency."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

When am I most likely to develop vitamin B12 deficiency?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.