People at Risk of Vitamin B Deficiency

4 minutes read

B vitamins perform essential functions in your body. Without adequate levels of Vitamin B, your body cells will struggle to function, and you will have trouble making energy. There are many potential causes of Vitamin B deficiency. While anyone can be at risk, some people are at a greater risk than others. Read on to learn more about the people at risk of Vitamin B deficiency and whether you fall within one of these groups.

In this article:
B vitamins - Groups With a Higher Risk of Nerve Damage

People With Gastrointestinal Disorders 12

The way your body absorbs Vitamin B is complex. Unfortunately, some people can develop conditions that cause malabsorption, which means that their body cannot absorb, or struggles to absorb, the nutrients and vitamins it needs to function. Some gastrointestinal disorders known to cause Vitamin B deficiency include pernicious anaemia, inflammatory bowel diseases, and gastric bypass surgery. 

People on a Restricted Diet 2

Since your body does not produce Vitamin B on its own, you get the Vitamin B you need from the food you eat. Some B vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, can only be obtained from dietary sources like meat, eggs and dairy products, which is why a balanced diet is so essential. Therefore, if you don’t eat a diverse diet or eat diets high in refined carbohydrates, you won’t be able to get the amount of Vitamin B that your body needs to function properly, which is why vegans and strict vegetarians are at risk of Vitamin B deficiency. 

People Older Than 50 Years 235

Your ability to absorb Vitamin B declines with age, which is why the elderly are at an increased risk of vitamin B deficiencies. Other risk factors amongst the elderly include poor dietary intake and increased demands by the body. Elderly people may also be on medications for co-existing conditions that can decrease the absorption of Vitamin B. 

People Taking Certain Medications 245

When your body works as it’s supposed to, the Vitamin B you eat is absorbed and transported to the cells in your body that need it for energy. Unfortunately, some medications can disrupt or decrease this absorption and can even lead to malabsorption. If you don’t absorb enough Vitamin B, your body won’t get the energy it needs to work effectively. Examples include certain oral diabetic medications and medications used to treat excess acid in the stomach. 

People With Diabetes 246

People with diabetes are at increased risk for Vitamin B deficiency. This is because certain long-term oral diabetic medications can decrease the absorption of Vitamin B and may result in a deficiency. Additionally, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for deficiency of the three neurotropic B Vitamins, which can damage their nerves. 

People Who Consume Alcohol Excessively 27

Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is often associated with a poor diet and vitamin deficiencies. Alcohol is high in calories, which reduces hunger and promotes malnutrition. As a result, alcohol can interfere with the dietary intake of B vitamins, which can then interfere with their absorption, storage, utilisation and excretion by the body.  

People Infected With HIV 8

Vitamin B deficiencies are common in patients infected with HIV, even in patients who do not show any symptoms of HIV. This is due to decreased absorption and increased usage of the vitamins by the body. Not only does HIV affect B Vitamin levels, but studies have shown that Vitamin B deficiency in these patients can worsen their condition and overall health. 

In short

Having sufficient levels of Vitamin B is essential for everyone. However, if you’re one of the groups with a higher risk of Vitamin B deficiency, it’s even more crucial for you to monitor your health status appropriately. If you do notice any symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency, such as tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, you should see your doctor right away for an early diagnosis and treatment to ensure the best possible outcome and quality of life.  

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor

Talk to your doctor about the Vitamins B1+B6+B12 (NEUROBION®) formulation, dose and duration of treatment that is appropriate for you.

Article Sources

¹ Skrovanek, S., DiGuilio, K., Bailey, R., Huntington, W., Urbas, R., Mayilvaganan, B., …, & Mullin, J.M. (2014). Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, 5(4), 496.

² Hunt, A., Harrington, D., & Robinson, S. (2014). Vitamin B12 deficiency. BMJ, 349.

³ Lachner, C., Steinle, N.I., & Regenold, W.T. (2012). The neuropsychiatry of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly patients. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 24(1), 5-15.

⁴ De Jager, J., Kooy, A., Lehert, P., Wulffelé, M.G., Van der Kolk, J., Bets, D., …, & Stehouwer, C.D. (2020). Long term treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes and risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency: randomised placebo controlled trial. BMJ, 340.

⁵ Lam, J.R., Schneider, J.L., Zhao, W., & Corley, D.A. (2013) Proton pump inhibitor and histamine 2 receptor antagonist use and vitamin B12 deficiency. Jama, 310(22), 2435-42.

⁶ Essa, N.S., & Aladul, M.I. (2022). Role of Neurotropic B Vitamins in the Treatment of Diabetic Neuropathy: Narrative Review. Iraqi Journal of Pharmacy, 19(1), 98-111.

⁷ Tetsuka, S., & Hashimoto, R. (2021). Alcohol-Related Central Nervous System Disorders Associated with Vitamin B Deficiency. SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, 3(2), 528-37.

⁸ Layden, A.J., & Finkelstein, J.L. (2018). B-vitamins and HIV/AIDS. Nutrition and HIV, 27-87.

Applicant: P&G South African Trading (Pty) Ltd. Reg. No.: 1989/004241/07. |S1| Neurobion® Tablets. Each tablet contains Vitamin B1 100 mg, Vitamin B6 200 mg and Vitamin B12 200 μg. Reg. No.: H2487 (Act 101/1965).
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