Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

Jump to: navigation, search

Vitamin B12 deficiency Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Vitamin B12 deficiency from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

Schilling Test

Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

CDC on Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics in the news

Blogs on Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

Directions to Hospitals Treating Vitamin B12 deficiency

Risk calculators and risk factors for Vitamin B12 deficiency epidemiology and demographics

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Epidemiology and Demographics

A large study in the US found that 39 % people had low values.[1] This study at Tufts University used the B12 concentration 258 pmol/l (= 350 pg/liter) as a criterion of "low level". Research has shown that B12 deficiency may occur at a much higher B12 concentration (500-600 pg/l). On this basis Mitsuyama and Kogoh [2] proposed 550 pg/l, and Tiggelen et al [3] proposed 600 pg/l. Against this background, there are reasons to believe that B12 deficiency is present in a far greater proportion of the population than 39% as reported by the Tufts University.

In the developing world the deficiency is very widespread, with significant levels of deficiency in Africa, India, and South and Central America. This is due to low intakes of animal products, particular among the poor and strict vegan Increased intake of animal products or supplements have been suggested.[4]

B12 deficiency is even more common in the elderly.[5] This is because B12 absorption decreases greatly in the presence of atrophic gastritis, which is common in elderly.


  1. "B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought / August 2, 2000 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service". Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  2. Mitsuyama Y, Kogoh H. (1988). "Serum and cerebrospinal fluid vitamin B12 levels in demented patients with CH3- B12 treatment". Japanese Journal of Psychiatry and Neurology. 42 (1): 65–71. line feed character in |title= at position 80 (help)
  3. VanTiggelen CJM, Peperkamp JPC, TerToolen JFW. (1983). "Vitamin-B12 levels of cerebrospinal fluid in patients with organic mental disorder". Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry (12): 305–11.
  4. Sally P. Stabler and ­ Robert H. Allen(2004). "Vitamin B12 Deficiency as a Worldwide Problem. Annual Review of Nutrition 24: 299-326". soft hyphen character in |author= at position 22 (help)
  5. H.W. Baik, R.M. Russell (1999). "Vitamin b12 deficiency in the elderly. Annual Review of Nutrition 19: 357-377".