7 Health Dangers of B-12 Deficiency

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A person walking through a sunny field. B-12 deficiency has also been linked to other neurodegenerative disorders.

There are a great number of people out there who rely on vitamin B12 supplements as a natural way to help ease stress and boost their energy levels. While the vitamin’s ability to enhance mental performance is relatively well known, research suggests that the effects of B12 deficiency may be more serious than a simple lack of energy. Let’s take a look at seven of them.

1. Cognitive Impairment

In the elderly, B12 deficiency has been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia. This deficiency has also been linked to other neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. [1]

2. Psychosis

Depressed mood, hallucinations, seizures and hypertension have been found in subjects who tested positive only for low B12 levels. Administration of B12 has been found to result in quick recovery (less than a week). [2] In one case, a middle-aged man diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and low B12 levels found relief through the use of methylcobalamin (B12). [3]

3. Melancholic Depression

Individuals suffering from melancholic depression (caused by physical rather than psychological factors) have consistently displayed an inverse relationship between B12 levels and depression. [4]

4. Stroke

Increases in homocysteine levels resulting from adequate B12 have linked a B12 deficiency to stroke. One reported case involved an older male suffering from recurring strokes along with reduction in blood cells from an intestinal inability to absorb B12. This resulted in abnormally high levels of homocysteine in the blood — a likely contributor to stroke and blood clots. [5]

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

While studies continue into the mechanism’s causing Alzheimer’s disease, a recently published study demonstrated a treatment of folic acid, B6 and B12 as a significant improvement in the reduction of cerebral atrophy. [6]

6. Cardiovascular Disease

Without B12 the body cannot convert homocysteine. This leads to a build-up of homocysteine levels which have been associated with atherosclerosis and increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. [7]

7. Anemia

This disorder hinders the body from producing red blood cells and can develop into fever. Researchers have noted that administration of a B12 intramuscular injection alleviates indications of anemia. [8]

Make Sure You Get Your B12

Vitamin B12’s overall value to the human body cannot be stressed enough. In addition to reduced brain mass, long term B12 deficiency has been shown to readily contribute to impaired DNA synthesis and replication inside the body, as well as nerve damage, memory loss, and other cognitive issues. In some cases, it has also been associated with mania and various forms of temporary psychosis. These are big problems and can be avoided by simply keeping your vitamin intake regular and in check.

Do you take a B12 supplement or do you rely on food? Please leave a comment below and tell us!

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References (8)
  1. McCaddon A. Vitamin B12 in neurology and ageing; clinical and genetic aspects. Biochimie. 2013 May;95(5):1066-76. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2012.11.017.
  2. Dogan M, Ariyuca S, Peker E, Akbayram S, Dogan Z, Ozdemir O, Cesur Y. Psychotic disorder, hypertension and seizures associated with vitamin B12 deficiency: a case report. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2012 Apr;31(4):410-3. doi: 10.1177/0960327111422404. Epub 2011 Oct 25.
  3. Sharma V, Biswas D. Cobalamin deficiency presenting as obsessive compulsive disorder: case report. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2012 Sep-Oct;34(5):578.e7-8. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.11.006. Epub 2012 Jan 9.
  4. Seppälä J, Koponen H, Kautiainen H, Eriksson JG, Kampman O, Leiviskä J, Männistö S, Mäntyselkä P, Oksa H, Ovaskainen Y, Viikki M, Vanhala M, Seppälä J. Association between vitamin b12 levels and melancholic depressive symptoms: a Finnish population-based study. BMC Psychiatry. 2013 May 24;13(1):145.
  5. Bougteba A, Basir A, Kissani N. Recurrent ischemic stroke revealing Biermer's disease. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2009 Dec;165(12):1099-102. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2009.01.051.
  6. Douaud G, Refsum H, de Jager CA, Jacoby R, Nichols TE, Smith SM, Smith AD. Preventing Alzheimer's disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 4;110(23):9523-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301816110. Epub 2013 May 20.
  7. Refsum H, Nurk E, Smith AD, Ueland PM, Gjesdal CG, Bjelland I, Tverdal A, Tell GS, Nygård O, Vollset SE. The Hordaland Homocysteine Study: a community-based study of homocysteine, its determinants, and associations with disease. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6 Suppl):1731S-1740S.
  8. Manuel K, Padhi S, G'boy Varghese R. Pyrexia in a patient with megaloblastic anemia: a case report and literature review. Iran J Med Sci. 2013 Jun;38(2 Suppl):198-201.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Mesi Baranyi

    Hi Edward,

    Very informative article. I have pernicious anemia too. I used to be very tired, felt short of oxygen and out of breath all the time, had cold hands, feet and pale skin. During regular blood tests when nurses took 3 tubes of blood I was always on the brink of fainting after my blood tests, even though I eat meat and other animal products too. Unfortunately my condition was discovered only in March and my GP informed me that I need a lifelong treatment. We started off with hydroxocobalamin injection, first every week. After the 4th week I became a bit sick, but after that my health started improving. Now I am on injections every 3-4 months. I don’t feel that tired any more, getting up early is easier, I am not short of breath any more and my hair started growing stronger as well. My condition taught me on how important this vitamin is. My ex-fiancé’s mother had MS and died. That is why the advice I can give to others, especially to strict vegans is that even though I know how cruel CAFOs are and even though at some point I am compassionate towards animals as well, everyone should be on a healthy, balanced diet. We, humans are made like this. That is why everyone should take care of their vitamin B12 intake who are healthy and can afford to take it through nutrition, because a deficiency of this vitamin is not a joke. I am talking from my own personal experience.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience Mesi.

  • Chloe

    Not sure if this helps or if anyone is interested but I recently heard about a new oral prescription alternative to the injections called Eligen B12. I recently read that it works even if you don’t have intrinsic factor (so even if you don’t have normal gut absorption), which would mean no more shots. Apparently it came out a month or two ago. Has anyone tried it??

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  • walterallenhaxton

    I have been hospitalized 4 times in the last 30 years and I have been on disability for 20 years. I get manic. I do not have depression. This is the first time I have heard about B12. I have never been tested for it.
    ___I am tired of not being able to trust my own brain and being given worthless and unhealthy medicines.
    ___Do doctors know about this?

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  • Peter

    Doctors are trained to ignore the most important health solutions because the policies are influenced by corporations for selfish satisfaction. Almost all diseases are curable but they are hiding the natural cures so that more money would b made on drugs. There is more to life than meets the eye. You will soon be fine because you never gave up.

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  • Earlene Ouellette

    I have learned that taking my meds. with baking soda and water helps me to absorb my meds. better since I have acid reflux disease I take Sertraline for 25 years plus I can’t take Imipramine anymore as I am too old. So I take Advil pm and vitamin B12 before I go to bed and as long as I don’t consume alot of carbohydrates I can sleep.

  • Sasha

    Hi dr group , I don’t have b12 deficiency,
    levels are normal.can I still take b12.but my ferritin is14. What do you suggest? I m a nursing mother also. Can we give b12 supplement for children age 10? My daughter she is nearsighted,teeth grinding,insomnia, snoring.she is having all these issues. I am planning to supplement her with b12. Please suggest.thanks

  • GHC Support

    Hi, Sasha. Thank you for contacting us. Although Dr.
    Group is unavailable for consultations, our Team works closely with him regarding our product and protocol information. If your levels of VeganSafe B-12 are normal, you may still consider taking the product to maintain your health. Since a low dietary intake of iron can lead to ferritin deficiency, you may incorporate plant sources in your diet such as pulses, beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, lima beans, and vegetable sources such as spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, turnip greens, peas, beet greens and mushrooms. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are also
    wonderful sources of iron.

    Additionally, the majority of our products are designed to naturally rejuvenate and detox the body, however, they have not been formulated for children; as a result we do not have a recommended dose of VeganSafe B-12 for individuals under 18 years old. In these delicate cases, the multi-vitamin IntraKid may be helpful in boosting your children’s immune system and energy levels. Below, you may view more information:


    If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact our Customer Satisfaction Team at 1-800-476-0016 10am-6pm CST M-F or support@globalhealingcenter.com.

    Have a happy & healthy day!

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