Health Advice



Who might need B12 supplements?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

To B12 or not to B12 -- that's a question a lot of folks are asking. The answer? It depends. If you have a healthy blood level of B12, taking a supplement won't boost your energy, improve your mood or sharpen your concentration. However, if you're deficient -- and it's estimated that up to 15% of adults in the U.S. are -- you can get those benefits from increasing your intake of certain foods and perhaps taking supplements or getting injections. So who's likely to B lacking?

-- Vegans and vegetarians may be, because most B12 you can get comes from animal products. That's one reason it's important to eat grains that are B12 fortified.

-- People over 50, because reduced levels of stomach acid hinder absorption. Folks taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux, the diabetes medicine metformin and aspirin can also have lower levels.

-- Celiac, Crohn's and other gastrointestinal disorders may cause reduced levels of B12, as can drinking alcohol regularly.

-- Weight-loss surgery also interferes with absorption.

You can check your level with a blood test. Most laboratories define subnormal serum or plasma values as lower than 200 or 250 pg/mL. A serious vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected with weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 supplements. A mild B12 deficiency can be corrected with a standard multivitamin and by eating fish, skinless poultry and fortified grains, cereals and nutritional yeast. Three ounces of cooked Atlantic salmon delivers 2.6 micrograms; 3 ounces of broiled bluefin tuna provides 9.3 micrograms.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



Nate Beeler Pickles Gary Varvel Shrimp And Grits Zits Kevin Siers