The b12 vitamin is one of the most important micronutrients that we can find in food and highly necessary for the health of people, especially for their participation in the formation of Red blood cells and formation of DNA.
However, vitamin B12 is a vitamin with a peculiar characteristic: It is only found in foods of animal origin. That is to say, so far it has not been possible to verify any fruit or vegetable that contains vitamin B12; except for some fortified products.
For this reason, people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet find it more difficult to incorporate vitamin B12 into the body. These types of people are more prone to developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
Required dose of vitamin B12 per day
Humans need to ingest a minimum amount of vitamin B12 on a daily basis in order not to develop a deficiency of this micronutrient. Thus, people with a lack of this vitamin in the body have symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, weakness and have a higher risk of having megaloblastic anemia.
In this sense, the National Institute of Health of the United States has developed a guide with the sufficient dose of vitamin B12 a person should consume a day, depending on factors such as age or sex:
|Stage of life||Recommended amount|
|Babies up to 6 months of age||0.4 mcg|
|Babies 7 to 12 months of age||0.5 mcg|
|Children 1 to 3 years of age||0.9 mcg|
|Children 4-8 years old||1.2 mcg|
|Children 9-13 years of age||1.8 mcg|
|Adolescents 14 to 18 years of age||2.4 mcg|
|Pregnant women and adolescents||2.6 mcg|
|Breastfeeding women and adolescents||2.8 mcg|
In addition, there are certain people who, due to their conditions and characteristics, are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency.
People at higher risk of deficiency
For the body to properly absorb vitamin B12, laborious work is necessary. Two key phases are necessary. On the one hand, the hydrochloric acid in the stomach must separate the vitamin from the protein in which it is present.
Next, vitamin B12 is mixed with ‘intrinsic factor’, a protein previously produced by the stomach. Thus, some people tend to find it difficult to make this protein and therefore poses a problem for the absorption of this micronutrient from food.
Among the people with the greatest difficulties in absorbing vitamin B12 we find the following cases:
- People who have undergone a gastrointestinal operation. Sometimes they tend to lose the ability to absorb this vitamin.
- Person over 50 years of age who lose absorption capacity as they age.
- People who follow a vegan or vegetarian philosophy of life and do not regularly consume foods of animal origin.