Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. The body absorbs the vitamin from food but some people are unable to obtain B12 through this way. This is because they suffer from an underlying condition called pernicious anaemia.
As the NHS explains, these conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.
It’s particularly important for vitamin B12 to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
“Although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated,” warns the NHS.
Neurological problems, such as vision problems or memory loss, can be irreversible.
Why do some people struggle to get enough B12 in their diet?
B12 is naturally found in meat, salmon and cod, milk and other dairy products, so people following a vegan or vegetarian diet may avoid these sources.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or are looking for alternatives to meat and dairy products, there are other foods that contain vitamin B12, however.
According to the NHS, B12 can be found in yeast extract (including Marmite), as well as some fortified breakfast cereals and soy products.