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How can I get enough vitamin B12?

As long as you're fairly young and healthy and eat a diet that includes animal products (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy foods), you probably get enough vitamin B12. But you're at risk for a deficiency if you're a vegetarian; you're over 50; you lack a substance called intrinsic factor, which allows B12 to be absorbed into the bloodstream; or you have a gastrointestinal disorder or have had gastrointestinal surgery.

It's estimated that up to 15% of Americans have a B12 deficiency, which can lead to a variety of problems, including anemia, loss of balance, weakness, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. B12 injections are the typical treatment, but oral supplements can also work for patients who are able to absorb B12. Foods fortified with B12, including many breakfast cereals, can also help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.