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B12 Deficiency Anemia

August 15, 2016 ,

Normally, the body’s reserves of vitamin B12 surpass daily requirements, but in certain cases, a deficiency can occur.

In the case of vitamin B12 deficiency, the symptoms can be subtle or even non-existent. Diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, loss of appetite and pale skin are some of the symptoms associated with this condition.

Here are some of the possible causes:

  • Poorly balanced vegetarian diet
  • Insufficient intake during childhood, breastfeeding and pregnancy
  • Significant blood-loss
  • Taking certain medications
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Poor absorption
  • Lack of intrinsic factor (glycoprotein that helps the transport of the vitamin to the stomach so that it can be absorbed in the intestine)


Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin B12 (mcg / day)

Males Females
Children 1-3 y 0,9 mcg 0,9 mcg
Children 4-8 y 1,2 mcg 1,2 mcg
Children 9-13 y 1,8 mcg 1,8 mcg
Teenagers 14-18 y 2,4 mcg 2,4 mcg
Adults >19 y 2,4 mcg 2,4 mcg
2,6 mcg
2,8 mcg

Nutritional Strategies

Most people can prevent this type of anemia by including animal products into their diet, such as milk, cheese and eggs. However, anemia is often treated with B12 supplements in the form of tablets or injection.

It is to be noted that strict vegetarians who do not consume any animal products or foods enriched with vitamin B12 are at risk of developing a deficiency. We advise those people to:

  • Drink soya or rice milk enriched with vitamin B12
  • Try nutritional yeast enriched with vitamin B12
  • Consume meat substitutes (often made with soya) enriched with vitamin B12
  • Take a vitamin B12 supplement, if needed.

Practical Tips

SOSCuisine: Smart Vegetarian Meal Plans

A supplement is necessary if a person doesn’t have any intrinsic factor (glycoprotein that helps the transport of vitamin B12 to the stomach so that it can be absorbed by the intestine). Supplementation is also advisable for elderly people or those who have problems with absorption or intestinal inflammation.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin 12

Foods Portion Content (µg)
Beef Liver (cooked) 90 g
(3 oz)
Clam Chowder, canned, prepared with milk 250 ml
(1 cup)
Sockeye Salmon, cooked 90 g
(3 oz)
Regular ground beef, cooked 90 g
(3 oz)
Milk, 1% 250 ml
(1 cup)
Enriched Soy Beverage 250 ml
(1 cup)


Here are 3 recipes high in vitamin B12 :

Scampi Fettuccine

Scampi Fettuccine




Marie-Maxime Bergeron
Changing eating habits gradually and adapting to the needs of my clients is the cornerstone of my approach. Eating well for fun and for health is the goal and everything begins with a return to simplicity in our habits. I am a nutritionist and have offered counselling in nutrition for 10 years.

One comment to “B12 Deficiency Anemia”

July 16, 2021 IM Shots said:

My wife has been diagnosed with b12 deficiency and will be given IM shots for it. I will also give your recipes a try to help her out. Thank you for sharing

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