Fitness & Nutrition

12 Ways for More B12

March 11, 2020

Vitamin B12 keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells working properly and is important in the production of genetic material—making it especially essential during early life, adolescence, and pregnancy. Along with folic acid, B12 helps in iron absorption, so you also need B12 to avoid certain types of anemia.

Excess B12 is stored in your liver for use when you need it. If you don’t overdo it (bloating and diarrhea are the unpleasant but largely harmless symptoms of excess B12 consumption), you can build up quite a backup supply.

B12 Absorption

B12 can be found naturally in some foods, or you can get B12 from fortified foods and supplements. The absorption of B12 from food is a two-step process requiring hydrochloric stomach acid and a protein, also produced in the stomach, called intrinsic factor. Older adults and others whose stomachs don’t produce enough hydrochloric acid must get their B12 from fortified foods and supplements. Those without enough intrinsic factor will likely need special supplements prescribed by a doctor.

B12 Sources

Here are 12 easy ways to get the B12 you need:

Candidates for Extra B12

How do you know if you need extra B12? A simple nutritional screen can test your blood for B12 and folate. And if you’re 50 or older, have Crohn’s or celiac disease, take medication for ulcers or acid reflux, or are vegan, you may want to make sure you’re getting enough. Look out for these symptoms:

If you have one or more of these symptoms and reason to believe you might have a B12 deficiency, check with your doctor.