Vitamin B12 deficiency: how it arises and what helps

A vitamin B12 deficiency can be annoying because it makes you tired, limp and lacking concentration. But where does the lack come from and how can we gently compensate for it?

Do I have a vitamin B12 deficiency?

You actually slept well, but at the latest in the afternoon you still want to put your head on the table and dream a little? Or were you totally motivated to memorize the individual points for the presentation tomorrow, but nothing gets in your head? Constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating and memory problems are typical symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Why do we need vitamin B12?

Not only does our brain need vitamin B12 (cobalamin) to function properly, we also need it for blood formation. A deficiency can lead to a so-called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia – In this anemia, the red blood cells are changed.

What are the causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Since the body cannot produce vitamin B12 itself, The most common reason for a deficiency is the insufficient intake of the vitamin from food – Vegetarians and vegans are often affected here. However, there are other possible causes:

  • Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis)
  • Parasites in the intestine increase the need for vitamin B12
  • Surgical (partial) removal of the intestine
  • Tumors
  • Bowel diseases that interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food

What are the symptoms?

In addition to fatigue, pallor and difficulty concentrating A vitamin B12 deficiency can also be noticed by the following symptoms:

Due to gastritis:

  • stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Inflamed and reddened tongue

Due to neurological disorders:

  • Numbness (tingling)
  • Sensation disorders
  • Coordination disorders
  • Unsafe walk

A completely exhausted memory can also lead to severe psychological symptoms such as depression and dementia. You can easily find out whether you suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency by taking a blood test at the doctor. Incidentally, it is advisable to have the folic acid level tested at the same time: folic acid and vitamin B12 work closely together in the metabolism and here too a deficiency can easily occur.

With food against the vitamin B12 deficiency

A vitamin B12 deficiency can be dealt with based on the cause, for example by treating gastritis. The easiest way to replenish vitamin B12 stores is to take the vitamin through food. There is a particularly high amount of vitamin B12 in these foods:


There is a lot of healthy things in eggs: In addition to many proteins, calcium and zinc, they also offer a good portion of vitamin B12 (one egg covers about seven percent of the daily requirement) as well as a good dose of some other vitamins.

Dairy products

A cup of reduced-fat cow's milk and around 230 grams of reduced-fat yogurt are also suitable as vitamin B12 suppliers: A good 18 percent of the daily requirement covers each of the two variants.

sea ​​animals

Mussels are among the best vitamin B12 suppliers: Thanks to them, we can absorb a good 85 micrograms of B12 per 85 grams of mussels. But also some crabs like the king crab and various types of fish such as sardines, rainbow trout and salmon fill the vitamin B12 store.


Some of the typical FBreakfast cereals, soy and milk substitutes contain vitamin B12 – which can be a good source of the vitamin, especially for vegans. Here it helps above all to take a look at the list of ingredients: If you put "processed cereals" in the product, you can assume that it contains vitamin B12.

Beef liver

Even though not everyone likes liver, it does provide some valuable nutrients: In addition to proteins and iron, 85 grams of beef liver contain around 70 micrograms of vitamin B12. However, it must be noted that cooking can destroy some of the nutrients or the body can no longer absorb them as well.

Video tip: Healthy and beautiful: You shouldn't do without these vitamins.

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