Avoid Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Your body needs Vitamin B12 for the production of blood cells and proper nervous system function. In order for Vitamin B12 to be usable, it has to bind to a protein called intrinsic factor, which is made in the lining of the stomach. After gastric bypass surgery the normal mechanism for absorbing Vitamin B12 is disrupted and B12 deficiencies can occur.

Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Sore, red tongue
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Poor memory, confusion or depression

While it’s rare for people who have not had bariatric surgery to have a true Vitamin B12 deficiency, people do become more susceptible over the age of 60. Also, strict vegetarians or people who have had medical issues affecting their stomach lining may also be at risk for a deficiency.

3 Tips To Avoid Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Eat foods that are naturally high in Vitamin B12: lean cuts of beef, clams and other mollusks, fish
  • Eat foods fortified with additional Vitamin B12: many breakfast cereals are fortified with Vitamin B12
  • Take a Vitamin B12 supplement: supplements are available orally or by injection

A simple blood test given by your doctor can determine if you are suffering from, or at risk for, Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you notice a sore, red tongue or persistent fatigue, contact your doctor right away to have your levels tested.