Woman Got Vitamin B12 Deficiency From Not Eating Meat, Fish: Symptoms

  • A woman with extreme fatigue had “very low” levels of vitamin B12 from a plant-based diet.
  • Carly Minsky, 33, said she “could barely walk” after not eating meat or fish for six years.
  • Vitamin B12, a nutrient found mostly in animal products, is essential for healthy nerves and blood cells.

A woman suffered from extreme fatigue for years before a blood test revealed she had “extremely low” levels of vitamin B12, which can go unnoticed or eventually cause a range of symptoms, from trouble walking to numbness in the limbs.

Carly Minsky, 33, told The Daily Mail that she stopped eating meat and fish in her mid-20s to try to be healthier, and at first she felt great. But after a year, he experienced “extreme” fatigue, and after six years he was so tired that he “could hardly walk.”

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Vegans and those who haven’t eaten eggs, dairy and meat for more than five years, like Minsky, are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, says the British Dietetic Association.

Vitamin B12 is essential for nerves and red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin deficiencies usually have two causes: malabsorption due to conditions such as celiac disease and pernicious anemia, or because a person is not eating enough. B12 is found naturally in meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Symptoms can include heart palpitations or loss of balance

Minsky initially thought his fatigue was caused by a problem with his thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland that can cause fatigue if it doesn’t produce enough hormones.

But blood tests taken by his family doctor in 2020 revealed that his vitamin B12 levels were “on the very low scale,” and that he needed “immediate B12 injections.”

They also said he needs to take vitamin B12 every day for the rest of his life.

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Al tough Minsky still eats cheese, eggs and milk, he was told he wasn’t getting enough B12 in his diet.

“It was a big shock. I didn’t know I was going to be so unwell,” he said.

Brad Kamitaki, assistant professor of neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, previously told Insider that vitamin B12 deficiency “can go undiagnosed or underdiagnosed because symptoms can be non-specific.”

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, symptoms vary and include: tingling arms or legs, trouble walking, fatigue, nausea, fast heartbeat and irritability.

A cup of 2% fat cow’s milk contains half of all the B12 you need for the day

Most people in the US eat enough nutrients, National Institutes of Health data suggest.

Priya Tew, registered dietitian and founder at Dietitian UK, previously told Insider that most people don’t need to calculate or track their daily vitamin B12 intake, especially if they eat animal products most days.

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The NIH recommends that the average US adult consume 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day. For example, a cup of 2% fat cow’s milk contains half of all the B12 you need for the day, and 3 ounces of cooked salmon or fried beef contains all of it. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding need 2.6 micrograms and 2.8 micrograms, respectively, according to .

Those who do not eat animal products can get vitamin B12 from fortified plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast flakes and marmite.

The BDA recommends that long-term vegetarians and vegans have their vitamin B12 status checked and take a supplement of around 10 micrograms daily as needed.

Minsky felt better after 2 months of vitamin B12 injections

Within two months of receiving the vitamin B12 injection, Carly felt better. “It’s like my energy has been rekindled,” she said.

He continues to take vitamin B12 tablets daily.

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