A range of foods containing Vitamin B12

Q & A: Do I have a vitamin B12 deficiency?

“I’ve read lots recently about vitamin B12 deficiency and seem to have many of the symptoms described.   However, I’m not vegetarian (they seem to be more at risk) and I have a good diet. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year though, and am taking the prescription drug metformin. Have you any advice? I’m 49 years old.“

Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer replies.

Animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy are the main sources of B12 rather than plants, hence vegetarians and vegans are at risk of deficiency. Symptoms can be vague and varied but include tiredness, low mood, irritability and ‘brain fog’. A severe deficiency of B12 can lead to pernicious anaemia, which usually requires B12 injections to raise levels quickly. It can also mask a deficiency of folate or folic acid, as these two nutrients work together in a number of body systems.

However, one of the main reasons for deficiency is a lack of something called intrinsic factor within the gut which is needed for the absorption of vitamin B12. Alternatively, people may have sufficient intrinsic factor but antibodies are produced which inhibit production. Either way, it leads to the possibility of deficiency.

Additionally, good gut bacteria is needed to metabolise vitamin B12; foods that feed the friendly gut flora include Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, onions, leeks, bananas, fermented foods (nori, tempeh, miso and tofu), plus green tea.

You also mention taking metformin for diabetes. Unfortunately, this drug is known to deplete levels of vitamin B12, hence many diabetics are tired all the time and don’t realise why. It’s important you get a blood test from your GP to see if you’re deficient and ask them to check your folate levels at the same time. They can then advise on the next steps as appropriate.

Meanwhile, taking a daily high potency multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains vitamin B12 and folic acid will help plug any nutrient deficiencies. This in itself may help boost your energy levels quite quickly.


  • {I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.|

  • I’m impressed, I need to say. Really not often do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing relating to this.

  • I’m excited to find this website. I need to to thank you for your
    time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new information in your blog.

  • An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your site.|

  • I’ve been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as
    you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  • Hi there terrific website! Does running a blog similar to this take a great deal of work?
    I have no expertise in computer programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the
    near future. Anyway, should you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners
    please share. I understand this is off topic but I
    just had to ask. Thank you!

  • Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

  • I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • I’ve been surfing on-line more than 3 hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It’s lovely worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before. “It’s all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.” by Dr. Rob Gilbert.