Your Food and You: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that does not build up in the body. It is an important nutrient for:

  • Healthy red blood cell formation
  • Nerve cell function and DNA synthesis

Your body needs adequate vitamin B12 to prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. This is where red blood cells are too large and immature to carry enough oxygen to organs and tissues, which can make you feel weak and tired.

Not getting enough? Absorption of vitamin B12 takes place in the small bowel. Stomach acid first separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which it was attached to in food. Vitamin B12 then combines with another protein called the intrinsic factor, which is produced by stomach cells and allows your body to absorb the vitamin. Therefore, certain medications and age play a role in your body’s ability to meet dietary needs.

Who should consider a supplement?

  • Elderly people: As you age, your stomach cells make less gastric acid. This puts you at greater risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Vegans and some vegetarians may also find it more difficult to get enough vitamin B12 through diet, as it does not occur naturally in plant foods.

Be sure to look for the vitamin B12 content on the product label. Vitamin B12 supplements are well absorbed during any hour of the day, so schedule a time in your day when you will remember to take it.

Here’s our Fact Sheet below on how much you need, what that means in terms of food, and meal ideas to get vitamin B12 in your diet!


Download our PDF version here.

April 30, 2015
Revive Wellness