Health & Food

Who Should Take a B-12 Supplement?

I recently started taking B12 (500mcg). The first day I took it I couldn’t sleep. To me, that meant I was definitely deficient in B12.

The Office of Dietary Supplements says this about B12:

Evidence from the Framingham Offspring Study suggests that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in young adults might be greater than previously assumed [15]. This study found that the percentage of participants in three age groups (26–49 years, 50–64 years, and 65 years and older) with deficient blood levels of vitamin B12 was similar. The study also found that individuals who took a supplement containing vitamin B12 or consumed fortified cereal more than four times per week were much less likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

They also say:

Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders should probably take a B12 supplement. Individuals with stomach and small intestine disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, may be unable to absorb enough vitamin B12 from food to maintain healthy body stores [12,23]. Subtly reduced cognitive function resulting from early vitamin B12 deficiency might be the only initial symptom of these intestinal disorders, followed by megaloblastic anemia and dementia.

I started taking B12 because I’m pretty sure I have some type of malabsorption disorder. When I consume FODMAPs I believe my body has a hard time absorbing other nutrients, such as B12 and magnesium.

Many people think that B12 will give them energy, but in fact, that’s not the case, unless of course you are deficient (which explains why I was so energized by B12!)

The Office of Dietary Supplements says this about B12, in regards to energy;

Due to its role in energy metabolism, vitamin B12 is frequently promoted as an energy enhancer and an athletic performance and endurance booster. These claims are based on the fact that correcting the megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency should improve the associated symptoms of fatigue and weakness. However, vitamin B12 supplementation appears to have no beneficial effect on performance in the absence of a nutritional deficit [81].

B12 is one of the few vitamins that does not seem to pose any danger when high amounts are ingested. It is for that reason than I decided it was worth trying B12, to see if I noticed a difference and to assure myself that I was indeed deficient (sadly). I’m glad I did. I’ve read some research about how chronic B12 deficiencies may lead to dementia or even Alzheimers. No thanks. Other groups, aside from those with malabsorption/gastrointestinal disorders, who might need a B12 supplement include elderly individuals and vegetarians (especially vegans!).

Sources of B12





Fortified foods (vegan)

Nutritional yeast (vegan)Nutritional yeast

I’m not even a vegan and I eat nutritional yeast every day! It’s a great replacement for parmesan cheese.

QUESTION: Have you ever talked to someone who told you they take B12 for energy? Now you can tell them it’s all in their head! I felt more energy the first couple of days I took the B12, but after that, I didn’t feel any more energized than normal. Why? Because I believe my levels are finally normal, phew!

About author


Hi, my name is Rebecca Houston and I am a writer. I write about health, healthy food and daily meal plan for various websites.
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