What are the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency in a non-vegetarian?

Q. What are the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency in a non-vegetarian?

Answered by
Dr. Naresh Kumar M.
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 31, 2018 and last reviewed on: Aug 17, 2023

Hi doctor,

I have a vitamin B12 deficiency, even though I eat a lot of non-vegetarian food. A doctor prescribed me New Nervijen plus capsule. Is it safe to use?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Having vitamin B12 deficiency in a non-vegetarian is unlikely.

Why did you get your vitamin B12 levels checked? What is your hemoglobin level? Do you drink alcohol?

You can use the Nervijen capsule (a combination of Benfotiamine, Folic acid, Methylcobalamin, Nicotinamide, and Pyridoxine hydrochloride) safely.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for clearing my doubt.

We had a general medical checkup at the office, and my vitamin B12 was 143 pg/mL. My hemoglobin level is 5.2 g/dL. I do not drink alcohol, and I am quite healthy. The doctor asked me to take New Nervijen capsule for 30 days as vitamin B12 might not be getting absorbed.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

There are some conditions where vitamin B12 deficiency can occur in a non-vegetarian, like worm infestation and pernicious anemia. In worm infestation, whatever we eat, the worms in our gut compete for the absorption of vitamin B 12.

Pernicious anemia is a condition where there is a defect in the absorption of vitamin B 12. In such a case, even with oral medication, vitamin B 12 levels may not improve, as that also needs to go through the same absorption pathway.

For a confirmatory diagnosis of pernicious anemia, we need to do an upper GI (gastrointestinal) endoscopy and take a gastric biopsy to look for atrophic gastritis.

Several noninvasive tests like anti parietal cell antibodies are recently available in the market. But, these have lower sensitivity and specificity compared to endoscopy and biopsy.

I would suggest you try taking the following medicines. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start taking the medicines after their consent.

1. Tablet Zentel (Albendazole) 400 mg for three days at bedtime, which is a deworming agent.

2. Capsule Nervijen for one month.

3. Repeat vitamin B12 test after a month. If it is normal, then there is nothing to worry. If it is still low, then get an anti parietal cell antibody blood test done.

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