This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a low level of vitamin B12 in your body. Vitamin B12 is only found in foods that come from animal sources such as fish, beef, dairy products, and eggs. Vitamin B12 deficiency should be treated as early as possible. Without treatment, it can cause permanent nerve damage over time.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Depression, confusion, dementia, or poor memory
- Mouth or tongue soreness
- Trouble keeping your balance
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
- In infants and children, irritability, poor growth, developmental delay, or movement disorders
Contact your healthcare provider for any of the following:
- Symptoms continue or get worse
- Questions or concerns about your condition or care
Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency
may include any of the following:
- For low intake deficiency , you may need to eat more foods that contain or are fortified with vitamin B12. You may also need to take an over-the-counter supplement.
- For low absorption deficiency , you may need several high doses of vitamin B12 to increase your levels. These doses of vitamin B12 may be given as a shot or pill. You may need to take these vitamin B12 supplements for the rest of your life.
Good sources of vitamin B12:
- 3 ounces of cooked clams, 84.1 mcg
- 3 ounces of cooked beef liver, 70.7 mcg
- Fortified breakfast cereals, 1.5 to 6 mcg per serving
- 3 ounces of salmon, rainbow trout, or canned tuna fish, 2.5 to 4.8 mcg
- 3 ounces of top sirloin beef, 1.4 mcg
- 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1.1 to 1.2 mcg
- 1 cup of a soy milk product, 0.9 to 3.3 mcg
- 1 ounce of a meat substitute, 0.5 to 1.2 mcg
- 1 ounce Swiss cheese, 0.9 mcg
- 1 large egg, 0.6 mcg
Amount of vitamin B12 you need each day:
- Infants 0 to 12 months: 0.4 micrograms (mcg) to 0.5 mcg
- Children 1 to 3 years: 0.9 mcg
- Children 4 to 8 years: 1.2 mcg
- Children 9 to 13 years: 1.8 mcg
- Children over 14 years and adults: 1.8 mcg
- Pregnant women and adolescents (over 14 years): 2.6 mcg
- Breastfeeding women and adolescents (over 14 years): 2.8 mcg
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.