Les Carences en Vitamine B12

Vitamin B12 deficiencies

Mar 25, 2024

Vitamin B12 deficiency is an often underestimated, but potentially serious, health problem. Vitamin B12 is indeed an essential vitamin for the proper functioning of many body systems, including the production of red blood cells and the functioning of the nervous system. How to recognize, understand and resolve a vitamin B12 deficiency? We tell you everything you need to know in this article!

What you need to know about vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamins B12, also known as cobalamins , are a group of organic compounds that contain cobalt in their chemical structure. Cobalt, the central component of vitamin B12, is an essential chemical element . It is involved in enzymatic reactions crucial for essential biological processes such as the formation of red blood cells, the metabolism of fatty acids and the functioning of the nervous system. It can therefore be said that cobalt plays a vital role in maintaining health and normal functioning of the human body .

Their importance for the human body

Like other types of vitamins, vitamin B12 is considered important for the human body. And this is explained in particular by its different key functions:

  • The formation of red blood cells : Vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis of DNA, which is necessary for the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. A vitamin B12 deficiency can therefore lead to abnormal production of red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
  • The functioning of the nervous system : vitamin B12 is necessary for the health of nerve cells and the transmission of nerve signals. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to damage to peripheral nerves, causing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and coordination problems.
  • Metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids : Vitamin B12 also plays an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, which are essential for energy production and other metabolic processes in the human body.

Food sources of vitamin B12

Vitamins B12 can be assimilated from a certain range of foods, the main ones being animal products . Red meat (beef, lamb) or poultry (chicken, turkey), for example, are an important source of vitamin B12 for humans.

However, fish and seafood , such as salmon, trout, tuna, shrimp or even mussels, are also good alternatives rich in vitamin B12.

Finally, eggs and dairy products , such as milk, cheese or yogurt, also contain vitamin B12.

Plant foods , on the other hand, do not naturally contain vitamin B12. However, some sources are enriched with vitamin B12 . Here we can take the example of cereals, plant-based drinks or even meat substitutes.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies

What can cause vitamin B12 deficiencies?

Vitamin B12 deficiencies can be caused by several factors, the main ones being:

  • An unbalanced diet : people following a vegan or vegetarian diet have a higher risk than others of vitamin B12 deficiency, because this vitamin is mainly present in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
  • Malabsorption : certain medical conditions, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, atrophic gastritis or gastric surgery, can lead to poor absorption of vitamin B12 by the body, even if it is consumed in sufficient quantity.
  • Taking medications : Some medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (used to treat heartburn and ulcers) and metformins (used to treat type 2 diabetes), may interfere with absorption vitamin B12.
  • Underlying medical conditions : Conditions such as pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the cells responsible for producing the intrinsic factor needed for vitamin B12 absorption, can also lead to a deficiency in vitamin B12.
  • Aging : The body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 generally declines with age, which may increase the risk of deficiency in older adults.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can develop gradually and vary from person to person. And in some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency may be asymptomatic, especially in the early stages. But if you want to get an idea of ​​what a vitamin B12 deficiency translates to, here are some of the main symptoms.

First, persistent fatigue and weakness : People affected by vitamin B12 deficiency may feel tired even after adequate rest.

Additionally, a deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia , characterized by a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the blood. Symptoms associated with anemia may include pale skin, feeling cold, or dizziness.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies can also lead to neurological problems , which may be recognized by the following symptoms: numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty coordinating, balance problems, nerve pain, burning sensations and muscle weakness.

Furthermore, cognitive functions can also be affected by vitamin B12 deficiencies. Which can then cause difficulty concentrating, memory problems, mental confusion and a reduction in intellectual abilities.

Finally, some people with vitamin B12 deficiency may experience mood changes (irritability, depression, anxiety, mood swings).

What solutions to overcome vitamin B12 deficiencies?

To compensate for vitamin B12 deficiencies, several solutions exist today:

  • Vitamin B12 supplements : Vitamin B12 supplements can be taken orally or in the form of injections, depending on the severity of the deficiency and individual needs. For example this food supplement Cell Complex Vitalié and Immunity , rich in vitamins and various essential nutrients.
  • A modification of the diet : for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet, incorporating foods rich in vitamin B12 can help prevent deficiencies. This may include foods such as seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, and foods fortified with vitamin B12.
  • Treatment of underlying conditions : If vitamin B12 deficiency is due to an underlying disease, such as malabsorption or lack of intrinsic factor, treatment of this condition may be necessary to correct the vitamin B12 deficiency .

In all cases, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations if vitamin B12 deficiency is suspected.


Ultimately, vitamin B12 deficiencies are a significant health challenge, requiring vigilance and preventive actions. By monitoring your nutritional intake, consulting a healthcare professional if necessary, and exploring supplementation options, it is possible to effectively prevent and treat these deficiencies through simple, natural solutions.

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