What is Vitamin B12?


Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin. Also known as Cobalamin, it supports your body to create healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around your body. This essential vitamin is also used to create other major cells and supports vital bodily functions. (1, 2, 5)

Why is Vitamin B12 Important?

The human body needs B12 to function properly and healthily as it is used to create red blood cells as well as nerve cells and DNA. (1, 2, 5)

The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day. However, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women should take in more. (5, 6)

Without this daily intake, you can be at risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency. (1, 2)

What is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

This can occur when your body doesn’t get the necessary intake of Vitamin B12. It can cause your body to produce abnormally large red blood cells, which cannot function properly.

It is important to understand that, like many vitamins, Vitamin B12 is not naturally created in the human body. It is absorbed through diet. (1, 2, 5)

What are the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Due to Vitamin B12 is so vital for your body’s everyday functions, it can manifest itself in a number of symptoms. These include (1);

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Paraesthesia, commonly known as pins & needles
  • Sore red tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Poor vision
  • Lack of strength or weaken muscles
  • psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion
  • problems with memory, understanding and judgement

If you are unsure if you have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency, please speak with your doctor. You can also find out through self-testing. With self-testing kids such as LetsGetChecked Vitamin B12 Test, you can monitor your B12 levels from the privacy of your own home while having better control over your health.

What are Sources of Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is widely available in a range of animal products, especially dairy and meat products.

Animal organs, also known as offal, are very nutritious and are abundant in this essential vitamin. Livers and kidneys are particularly rich in Vitamin B12, especially lamb’s livers and kidneys. (3)

Vitamin B12 is also plentiful in certain seafood and shellfish. It has been found that clams and sardine are both rich in B12. (3)

Vitamin B12 Supplements

While Vitamin be is readily available in a range of food, many people prefer to support their B12 intake with supplements. This is perfectly natural. It is the prefered method for people who are vegetarian or are vegans. Also, some people are not keen on eating offal.

At Chemist Direct, we work with leading healthcare brands to provide our customers with the very best vitamins and supplements at competitive prices. We stock our own range of vitamins and supplements as well as trusted brands such as HealthAid and Vitabiotics, which are all specially formulated to provide you with the Vitamin B12 you need. Check them out today.

This article has been medically approved by Superintendent Pharmacist Shilpa Shailen Karia, MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2087328


  1. Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia - NHS 
  2. Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia - NHS Inform
  3. Top 12 Foods That Are High in Vitamin B12 - Healthline 
  4. Vitamin B12 - WebMD 
  5. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful - Harvard Health Publishing 
  6. Vitamin B12 in meat and dairy products - Nutrition Reviews