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How is a vitamin B12 deficiency treated?

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If you have pernicious anemia or have trouble absorbing vitamin B12, you'll need shots of this vitamin at first. You may need to keep getting these shots, take high doses of a supplement, or get it nasally after that.

If you don’t eat animal products, you still have options. You can change your diet to include vitamin B12-fortified grains, a supplement or B12 injections, or a high-dose oral vitamin B12 if you are deficient.

Older adults who have a vitamin B12 deficiency should take a daily B12 supplement or a multivitamin that contains B12.

For most people, treatment resolves the problem. However, any nerve damage that happened due to the deficiency could be permanent.

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

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How can I prevent vitamin B12 deficiency?

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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.

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