What Causes B12 Deficiency?

Causes of B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur due to several factors, including:

  1. Inadequate dietary intake: A common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is a lack of consumption of foods that are rich in this vitamin. Vitamin B12 is predominantly found in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Therefore, strict vegetarians or vegans who do not adequately supplement their diets with vitamin B12 may be at higher risk of deficiency.
  2. Malabsorption issues: Certain medical conditions can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food. Examples include pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition that affects the stomach’s ability to produce intrinsic factor, a substance necessary for vitamin B12 absorption. Other gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and surgical removal of part of the stomach or small intestine, can also lead to impaired absorption of vitamin B12.
  3. Lack of intrinsic factor: Intrinsic factor is a protein produced in the stomach that binds to vitamin B12 and enables its absorption in the small intestine. In pernicious anemia and other rare conditions, the body fails to produce intrinsic factor, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency.
  4. Chronic alcoholism: Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the absorption and utilization of vitamin B12 in the body, contributing to deficiency.
  5. Medications and medical treatments: Certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), H2 blockers, and metformin, can affect vitamin B12 absorption or increase its excretion from the body. Additionally, individuals who undergo bariatric surgery may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency due to reduced stomach acid production or intestinal changes.
  6. Age-related factors: As individuals age, their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food sources may diminish, leading to an increased risk of deficiency.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, anemia, neurological problems, and tingling or numbness in the extremities. If you suspect a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on appropriate supplementation or treatment.

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Tags