platter of foods that are rich in b12

5 Reasons Your Vitamin B12 Levels May Be Low

In this article, we will explain what vitamin B12 is and its function in the body. We will also take a look at what may cause vitamin B12 deficiencies, the negative effects of these lower levels, and some ways we can regain a healthy balance of vitamins in the body.

What even is a vitamin?

We all remember taking vitamins as kids – but what exactly is a vitamin and what does it do? Vitamins are ‘vital amines,’ also known as organic molecules or macronutrients. Vitamins help the body function normally. They are helpful for healing injuries, turning food into energy, forming blood cells, making DNA, and the list goes on and on.

Vitamins are essential to nearly every system in the body, and while there are 13 recognized vitamins, this article will be focusing on one of them: vitamin B12.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important vitamin that is required for all individuals. Having the proper levels of B12 in the body is essential to maintain the best health possible. Vitamin B12’s range of functions aid in the body’s production of red blood cells and DNA, as well as in essential processes in the nervous system.

Where does B12 come from? It is actually produced by bacteria, not by animals, plants, or fungi even though we take it in through the consumption of animal products. Our natural stores of vitamin B12 can be found in our liver and can last up to 3 to 10 years.

When it comes to vitamin B12 deficiency and its causes, it narrows down to two main reasons: a decrease in food consumption and a compromise in the body’s normal absorption of the vitamin. While most of the symptoms can be attributed to these two reasons, there are a variety of complexities within each of these groups.

What causes vitamin B12 deficiencies?

Everything in the body should be balanced to function properly. A decrease in any vitamin level in your blood will lead to a vitamin deficiency. This could be causing anything from bone loss to weight loss and even issues in the immune system. An increase in vitamin levels in your blood will lead to hypervitaminosis, which is connected to toxic symptoms.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes of vitamin B12 deficiencies.

1. Having a “strict” vegan/vegetarian diet

One of the main dietary causes for B12 deficiencies is something that doctors call a ‘strict’ vegan diet. People who may have a B12 deficiency in this case are individuals that completely eliminate animal products from their diet without getting B12 from some other source, like a supplement. Another cause could even be from a vegetarian diet, especially in the case of pregnancy. Women require higher levels of B12 during pregnancy. The fetus absorbs vitamin B12, so improper or imbalanced levels of the vitamin could lead to a deficiency. This is also likely for women that are breastfeeding an infant due to the increased uptake of vitamins from the infant. While vegan and vegetarian diets can cause vitamin B12 deficiencies, lower levels can also occur if there are issues with the body’s natural absorption of vitamins.

2. Medications that reduce stomach acidity

Some medications can lead to problems with the body’s absorption of vitamin B12. These medications are ones that will reduce the acidity in the body’s stomach. This is a problem for B12 absorption because the acidity in the stomach is what helps us break down food and gain access to B12.

These medications can also be known as H2 receptor blockers or proton pump inhibitors. H2 blockers are normally used to help with issues like stomach inflammation, gastritis, or even certain types of ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors similarly reduce stomach acid and are used typically to help with issues related to acid reflux.

Other types of medications include metformin and neomycin. Metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, and neomycin is used in combination with other medications. In a variety of cases, it is used to lower the risk of bacterial infections.

These are just some of the examples of medication that can lead to decreased or compromised absorption of vitamin B12 in the body and can actually worsen a B12 deficiency.

3. Pancreatic Diseases

In some cases, the pancreas can have problems with the glands it uses to secrete chemicals into the bloodstream. This can cause symptoms related to jaundice and can be noticed in the yellowing of the eyes or the skin. There are pancreatic enzymes that we need in order to help with vitamin B12 absorption. A lack of B12 can cause issues with the body’s red blood cells such as a decrease in the production and circulation throughout the body. This is what can lead to the discoloration of the eyes and skin.

4. Neuropathy

This is more of a symptom than a cause, but it’s important to note because it happens to many people. Problems with the body’s absorption of B12 can lead to issues with the body’s peripheral nerves, which you may experience in the form of tingling, numbness, or weakness in areas like your hands and feet (i.e., neuropathy).

Vitamin B12 is essential for your body in this context because it aids in the strengthening of your nerves. Your nerves need to transfer signals safely, which explains why a lack of B12 will cause your nerves to weaken and work improperly. This can be a vague symptom at times, experienced even through a burning sensation in the hands or the feet.

5. Gastrointestinal Disease

This last one is probably the most directly related issue to your body’s absorption of B12 in your stomach. Gastrointestinal diseases can include anything from Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, gastritis, or malabsorption syndrome. Another cause could be a gastric bypass, which is where portions of the intestinal tract are taken out. This will cause issues with your body’s absorption rates. Other GI diseases that we may not generally hear about can be an infection from a fish tapeworm, which will lead to lower B12 levels due to the tapeworm feeding on the vitamin.

How do I know if my B12 levels are low?

While we have covered many of the causes and some of the symptoms of B12 deficiency, there are some proven ways to test your B12 levels. Doctors will diagnose B12 deficiency by simply checking your blood’s B12 levels with a standard blood test. This would check for the presence of antibodies or of an elevated level of a substance called methylmalonic acid (MMA). MMA is directly related to patients with B12 deficiency.

While there are some home tests and over-the-counter solutions, some of these methods may have not been fully tested or not as effective as more thorough treatments. The best option is to consult with your primary healthcare provider for the most accurate results and treatments for any deficiencies that may be present.

Treating B12 deficiency with IV infusions

There are a few ways to treat a B12 deficiency. It depends on whether it was caused by impaired absorption or from a nutritional deficiency.

B12 shots and dietary changes in combination with B12 supplements are commonly used to treat both major causes of B12 deficiencies. B12 supplements come in the form of oral pills or through injection. However, some individuals may not see the best absorption results from vitamins taken orally. Though injectable vitamins are not for everyone, they may be the more effective route for restoring your B12 levels.

To learn more about how injectable vitamins can provide direct boosts to your metabolism and improve your health and brain functions, you can schedule an appointment here, or visit for more information on what may be best for your individual situation.

woman receiving iv hydration therapy while drinking lemon water

What does NAD do for the body?

Humans are living longer and better than ever before – talented scientists, researchers, and doctors continue to discover new answers for how the body works. We have learned ways to decrease infant mortality rates and increase life expectancies in many countries around the world. While this has enabled many of us to live longer, there are still some inescapable facts of life that accompany old age. One thing professionals have learned is that, over time, our bodies will experience cell damage. Learning what this looks like and what causes it, on a molecular level, has led to new therapeutic practices in the field of anti-aging/regenerative medicine. Treatments like IV vitamin therapy or NAD infusions can relieve a wide range of symptoms related to things like mineral imbalances or general fatigue.

What is NAD/NAD+?

Studies have shown that our cells produce less and less energy as we grow older. This means we are losing the fuel our cells need for repairing any damages. That’s where NAD comes into play. It stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, and it is a critical cofactor involved in hundreds of processes in the body.

One of its main uses is related to energy production within the mitochondria which, as you know from high school science class, is the powerhouse of the cell. NAD is crucial in converting the nutrients we eat in our foods into usable energy through chemical reactions that can be directly related to other processes in our bodies, like metabolic rates or the amount of ATP produced in the body. ATP stands for Adenosine Triphosphate, but all you need to know is that when your cell needs energy it will pull from ATP as a source. The thing is that ATP cannot be made without NAD; the two are directly related.

You can think of it like this: if you are getting older, you are going to have more DNA damage. It just so happens that the little helper your cell uses to repair your DNA requires NAD as fuel.

How can NAD help us live longer?

That is exactly why NAD+ IV infusions and IV vitamin therapy have so many therapeutic benefits – from promoting brain growth and muscle recovery to treating chronic illness, managing pain/stress and even restoring your energy and mood.

For years now, practitioners have offered IV vitamins to help patients boost their immune system and deal with chronic pain conditions. This method of treatment is being used more and more because the IV is a very efficient way to deliver supplements into the body. They are infused directly into the circulatory system, bypassing other systems, like the digestive tract. There are other methods for delivery of NAD supplements through ingestion or even using a patch, but the IV method allows more NAD to be absorbed by the body. For people who aren’t a huge fan of needles, though, the NAD patch is a great alternative which will give you the same benefits over time. With studies showing less certainty that we are able to take them in through ingestion, and with the direct path to our bloodstream through the IV injections, the IV route remains the more efficient and extremely safe treatment.

After using IV vitamins for years, a newer treatment has been developed called NAD+ IV infusion. It is the process where the oxidized form of NAD is administered via IV drip to deliver the coenzyme directly into the bloodstream.

Research has shown powerful connections between NAD levels in our cells and our mental and physical health as we grow older. Decreased levels of NAD have shown to speed up the aging process as well as increase the risk for certain age-related diseases. Since NAD works with other enzymes in our cells to help them create and maintain energy, these treatments aim to decrease the risks of neuro- and muscular degeneration and improve cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Let’s take a look at some of the different ways we can deal with age-related or health conditions by replenishing our levels of NAD in the body:

Anti-Aging/Regenerative Properties

As mentioned earlier, NAD is the source of energy for a cell to repair itself. Replenishing our bodies’ NAD levels affects us in various ways – but most recent research links NAD with overall cell protection and more specifically, DNA repair.

Both of these abilities, in theory, can prolong an individual’s lifespan. Typically, the best results have been seen in systems of the body that benefit directly from mitochondrial functions: brain growth and muscle recovery. The special enzymes in our brains that NAD activates are called sirtuins. Research has linked sirtuins with:

  • strengthening memory
  • improving cognition, and
  • decreasing risks of degenerative diseases.

Not only do sirtuins support growth for your brain and its functions, but it also acts to reinforce and protect parts of your DNA as it undergoes mitosis. Essentially, NAD has varying effects on other molecules and biological conditions in your body to provide energy as well as protect and maintain current energy production.

Boost Athletic Performance with NAD

Whether it’s for rehabilitation or even for athletic performance, restoring your cell’s NAD levels will improve muscle recovery in damaged tissues. Many athletes will strain and push their bodies to their limits. People who challenge their physical limits in this way are heavily depleting their body of NAD. Even though athletes like this will be in peak physical shape, their levels of NAD are being used extremely fast.

If you are an athlete and have noticed that your workouts are not producing the same results that they used to, or that you are hitting what seems like a ceiling in your progress, it may be because your body is utilizing all the energy that it possibly has to get to a certain level.

In cases like this, adding even just a small amount of supplementary NAD to the body can give a boost to an athlete’s performance. In addition to boosting performance, using NAD therapy can also reduce athlete’s recovery periods. Typically, if athletes have performed at a very high level for a long period of time, their bodies are depleted of NAD and energy. This makes following workouts more strenuous and not as effective as they could be. By adding NAD to the body, it allows the athlete to generate more energy so that they can recover and get back to their normal routine more quickly.

Weight Loss Benefits of NAD Infusions

Another major use for NAD is to boost the body’s metabolism. If you have been trying to either lose weight or just boost your metabolism to operate at a higher level, then NAD can be a very good option for you. Patients who are wanting to use NAD therapy to boost their metabolism have typically seen the best results by already consulting their primary health care provider to ensure that they are following some other necessary guidelines that would help with losing weight and boosting metabolism.

If you are considering being a candidate for NAD therapy, be sure to consult with your doctor or primary health care provider. It’s important that you are maintaining the right diet, and exercising enough to be leading at least a fairly healthy lifestyle.

If these things apply to you already, then using NAD treatments as an additional therapy or boost is a great place to start because NAD is involved in redox reactions, which are the chemical reactions that lead to energy production in the body.

NAD is really important in the metabolism of carbohydrates – they help turn carbs into sugars that can be used by your brain, your muscles, and all of your cells. The more efficiently the body can turn carbs into usable sugar, the faster your metabolism works.

What does an IV session involve? Will there be any side effects?

As mentioned earlier, NAD is normally administered through an IV. It is a longer infusion than maybe doing an IV vitamin hydration. If you decide that NAD therapy may be something you want to explore, schedule a time to talk with whoever is administering the therapy so that they can see what your individual wellness goals.

After that, you’ll be connected to an IV line and the fluids would begin to be administered. Drip times vary on how quickly your body will receive it, so you may experience some side effects associated with the infusion if the speed is very high. Side effects may include an elevated heart rate, chest tightness, or shortness of breath – all very mild. These side effects are typically relieved by simply turning down the rate of the IV drip.

There are other options available, like NAD patches, so feel free to consult with your primary doctor for what is best for you and your goals. You can schedule an appointment here or go to for more information.