Vitamin B12 Deficiency FAQs
Reviewed By : Dr. Anjali D.
Following are common questions about Vitamin B12 deficiency:
- What are the primary causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- What tests are suggested for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- What are the lab values of tests required for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- What are the test charges of Vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosis in India?
- What is the importance of Vitamin B12 for our body?
- What symptoms can you find that prove Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- What are the different treatment methods for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- What are preventive measures to adopt for avoiding Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- Is there a link between depression and Vitamin B12 deficiency?
What are the primary causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused due to the following reasons:
- Pernicious Anemia: This condition makes vitamin B12 absorption in your body difficult, thus causing deficiency.
- Diet: People who follow a strict vegan diet are at high risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency. A diet that comprises of diary products, fish and meat is necessary for providing essential supply of Vitamin B12.
- Surgery: Surgery for removal of your stomach's part or for your small intestine may be the cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Surgery for weight loss can also lead to deficiency.
- Medications: Some kind of medications also lead to a deficiency of Vitamin B12. Monitoring by doctors is recommended in such cases.
- Disorders: Disorders pertaining to your immune system like lupus or Graves' disease may also be causes for Vitamin B12 deficiency.
What tests are suggested for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
The following tests are usually prescribed for checking Vitamin B12 deficiency:
What are the lab values of tests required for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Normal value range for tests related to Vitamin B12 deficiency are as follows:
- Vitamin B12 test: 200 to 835 pg/ml (Picograms/Milliliter)
- Folic acid test: 2.7 – 17.0 ng/ml (Nanograms/Milliliter)
- CBC test: Dependent on sex, age, location (above sea level), and blood sample type
What are the test charges of Vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosis in India?
Charges of tests for Vitamin B12 diagnosis may vary depending on your city of residence, type of diagnostic center you choose, or the hospital from where you get the tests done. You can find the prices of Vitamin B12 test in various Indian cities here.
What is the importance of Vitamin B12 for our body?
Vitamin B12 is extremely necessary for many essential body functions.
It is necessary for:
- Blood formation
- Energy production
- Myelin formation
- DNA synthesis
Deficiency of Vitamin B12 will render you defenseless to fight diseases and increase the risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, depression, sleep issues, cancer etc.
What symptoms can you find that prove Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Deficiency of Vitamin B12 is known to develop slowly. This causes its symptoms to gradually appear and the intensify with time. However, due to varied symptoms, it becomes difficult to identify them.
Having a blood test done is necessary to confirm deficiency of Vitamin B12 on visibility of above symptoms.
- Tingling and strange sensation along with numbness in feet, legs or hands
- Balance or staggering problems while walking
- Inflamed, swollen tongue
- Memory loss or cognitive issues such as difficulty in reasoning and thinking
- Hallucinations or paranoia
What are the different treatment methods for Vitamin B12 deficiency?
The treatments for Vitamin B12 deficiency will vary according to the cause.
Treatments are as follows:
- Injections: Hydroxocobalamin injections are usually prescribed to patients with Vitamin B12 deficiency. These are injected alternate days for couple of weeks, or may be continued till improvement is visible in patients.
- Tablets: Vitamin B12 tablets are prescribed if your diet lacks vitamin; thus leading to deficiency of B12. Vegans may need these tablets for their entire life (though there are foods in vegan diet that can provide you essential supply of Vitamin B12).
What are preventive measures to adopt for avoiding Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- For vegans: Vegans need to ensure that they consume foods that can provide them adequate amount of B12. Breakfast cereals are available to provide this required vitamin. Nutritional yeast is also a good source for B12.
- For non-vegetarians: Even though fish, diary products, meat and eggs provide you with necessary B12, balance is the key. Over consumption of such food may create other ailments and lack of some of the above may lead to deficiency.
Is there a link between depression and Vitamin B12 deficiency?
B vitamins along with Vitamin B12 are extremely important for production of brain chemicals responsible for affecting brain functions along with mood. Deficiency of these vitamins are hence definitely linked to causing depression.
Note*: Pernicious anemia that is caused due to autoimmune condition cannot be prevented in any way.