Vitamin B12 is the talk of the town these days with folks across the board wondering whether or not they’re getting as much as they need.

B12 deficiency is often perceived as directly associated with veganism but multiple studies have confirmed that B12 deficiency is not just for vegans. In fact, researchers have found that nearly 40 percent of people in the US are deficient in this nutrient.

It appears diet may not be the only driving factor in B12 deficiency. Studies in 2008, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Tufts University, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), were able to identify genetic influences over B12 deficiency. The gene they found was called FUT2.

Follow up studies in 2012, found that there was another genetic cause of B12 deficiency. This time it was a transport protein, or another gene, associated with the transportation of B12 that was explored. Essentially, this gene, if not functioning properly, would affect the upkeep of the B12 transportation process and thus could lead to deficiency.

B12 deficiency has many symptoms, including fatigue & weakness, lightheadedness & dizziness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, nausea, diarrhea, memory loss, forgetfulness, numbness, tingling of hands or feet, poor coordination, and a sore, red, glazed looking tongue.

Needless to say, it’s not a vitamin that one should ignore whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a meat-eater.

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