As you age, your stomach acid level decreases. Stomach acid is necessary to convert dietary B12 (from meat, fish, dairy, and eggs) into an active form of vitamin B12 that the body can absorb.

Since the decrease of stomach acid levels is a gradual process the hereby caused vitamin B12 deficiency is of a creeping kind. Symptoms that typically arise are classic ageing symptoms, your concentration lapses, and you feel less energetic. You may dismiss the symptoms as normal ageing, but in many cases it is the beginning of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Often heard symptoms are:

  • Problems concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Tremor
  • Balance problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia
  • Frequent unexplained falls, ataxia
  • Dysphasia (problems speaking, not being able to find the right words)
  • Confusion, behavioural changes
  • Weight loss, loss of appetite
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Being cold
  • Incontinence

These symptoms are very common and it is important to exclude the possibility that they are caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency. Because if it is a vitamin B12 deficiency, symptoms will only worsen over the years; more symptoms will be added and eventually the damage will be permanent.

Do you recognise symptoms, then get your vitamin B12 level tested by your general practitioner and start a test treatment with active B12. After 6 to 12 weeks, it will be clear whether or not your symptoms are related to a vitamin B12 deficiency and positive changes will have been set in motion.


Overview of medicationknown to interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.

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Experience expert Contact: Lavinia Bijl