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What Foods To Avoid If You Have B12 Deficiency?

You should avoid spirulina, seaweed, and folic acid fortified foods. These foods are either too lacking in B12 or actively create a more significant B12 deficiency. It’s important to avoid drinking alcohol, too, as it counters and worsens a B12 deficiency.

As much as it’s important to be aware of what foods are rich in B12, it is equally paramount to avoid foods that reduce your B12 level. You may not be aware of foods to avoid when tackling a B12 deficiency as it’s rarely discussed.

A steady level of B12 vitamins is intrinsic to leading a healthy life. B12 is responsible for keeping your red blood cells and nerve cells functioning and even improving brain functions. Lack of B12 can lead to all kinds of medical conditions, including anemia.

You must get the balance right between B12 rich foods and foods that lack B12 to avoid the repercussions of a B12 deficiency.

In this post, we’ll explain what foods to avoid if you have a B12 deficiency.

Let’s get to it.

Don’t consume an excessive amount of folic acid-fortified foods

Avoid folic acid-fortified foods when dealing with a B12 deficiency. Folic acid (synthetic Vitamin B9), like B12, works to keep nerve and blood cells functioning, but too much of it can harm your B12 levels. Consuming an excessive amount of folic acid can also hide your B12 deficiency.

Folic acid-fortified foods include the likes of breakfast cereals, liver, broccoli, peas, kidney beans, and chickpeas.

If you’re already suffering from a B12 deficiency, avoid countering it with an excessive amount of synthetic B9. Over-consuming folic acid can lead to a more significant memory loss if you have low B12 levels, particularly if you’re over 60.

Additionally, the responsibilities of both B12 and B9 are similar. So when there is a deficiency in one, there may not be apparent signs until it is too late.

Folic acid works to maintain your cells, giving you a false sense of energy, hiding that you lack B12.

If you don’t notice the symptoms of B12 deficiency and solve it, it can lead to irreparable nerve damage. Some symptoms of B12 deficiency are fatigue, irritability, and depression.

What’s more, excess folic acid can even lead to more significant anemic symptoms, causing the symptoms of a B12 deficiency to grow exponentially.

It is therefore important to balance the amount of synthetic B9 you take with your B12 intake. To ensure this, avoid taking over 1,000 mcg of folic acid foods per day.

Avoid an excessive amount of B12 rich foods

Avoid overindulging in B12 to counter a B12 deficiency. Consuming an excessive amount of B12 can lead to similar symptoms to that of a B12 deficiency. These symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, dizziness, skin rash, and excessive itching.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that the correct daily dosage of B12 should be:

  • 2.8 mcg for women who are breastfeeding

  • 2.8 mcg for pregnant women

  • 2.4 mcg for people over the age of 14

  • 2.4 mcg for people over the age of 50

  • 6 mcg for vegetarians and vegans

You can attain the exact amount listed above daily through B12 supplements and tablets.

Seaweed is not a primary source of B12

Seaweed products like nori should not be considered a primary source of B12. Although it does contain some traces of B12, it cannot be a replacement for a B12 supplement.

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, author of Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More, states that the commonly held belief that seaweed products are the best source of B12 is uninformed.

Those who solely consume large quantities of seaweed will likely remain B12 deficient. It’s best to combine seaweed products with B12 supplements like Why Not Natural.

Nonetheless, there are alternative vegan sources of B12 that you can experiment with.

Seaweed can be consumed as part of a balanced diet, but you shouldn’t rely on it solely for B12. The same applies to sea vegetables and other sea-grown products that contain B12.

Spirulina does not contain sufficient B12

It would be best to avoid spirulina when making up for a B12 deficiency as it is not a source of the active B12 vitamin. Spirulina often gets wrongly associated with B12 supplements because it’s regularly used to supplement other lacking vitamins.

Spirulina is rich in iron, copper, protein, and vitamin B1, B2, and B3. It does not contain a high content of B12 for humans.

Spirulina is rich in a pseudo vitamin B12, which many often mistake for a B12 beneficial to the human body. B12 sources in spirulina are found in cyanobacteria. Scientists have concluded that spirulina is therefore ineffective in countering a B12 deficiency.

Pseudo vitamins have a similar build to real vitamins but lack the nutrients that define them.

Consuming this pseudovitamin is by no means as effective as consuming genuine B12. So it doesn’t help resolve a B12 deficiency. It’s best to try other B12 supplements.

Avoid alcohol when suffering from a B12 deficiency

Alcoholics are amongst the highest at risk of suffering from a B12 deficiency. Alcohol is capable of extracting all B vitamins from your system, B12 included. You must, therefore, refrain from drinking alcohol if you are experiencing the symptoms of a B12 deficiency.

Alcohol gets broken down in your body using stored nutrients. Excessive alcohol consumption makes your body spend all the nutrients and vitamins found in your body, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

Your liver will spend all of its natural nutrients and will look for backup elsewhere in your body to help break down the alcohol. If necessary, the liver will then use all of your B12 resources, leaving you with a substantial B12 deficiency.

Alcohol also affects how your body absorbs vitamins. One common symptom of binge drinking is gastritis, which is when your stomach becomes inflamed. Gastritis often leads to a B12 deficiency.

Gastritis makes it extremely difficult to absorb any vitamins, especially B12. Alcohol essentially cancels out any B12 rich foods you may have eaten.

Lastly, alcohol-related liver disease can sometimes render B12 deficiency tests inconclusive. Those suffering from alcohol-related conditions may not realize they suffer from a B12 deficiency, as results often come back ostensibly high.


When suffering from a B12 deficiency, you should avoid some foods, including spirulina, seaweed, and folic acid-fortified foods. You could also make an effort to avoid consuming alcohol or foods which contain alcohol, as these can create all kinds of issues for the B12 deficient.

Folic acid-fortified foods can hide your B12 deficiency and make it unclear whether you are still deficient or not. Seaweed, although a popular B12 supplement, often doesn’t contain a sufficient amount to solve a deficiency. Spirulina, on the other hand, has only a pseudo vitamin B12.

Alcohol is one of the worst things you could consume while suffering from a B12 deficiency. Not only does it spend your B12 resources, but it also makes it impossible for your body to absorb new sources of B12.

The best way to treat your B12 deficiency is by using appropriate supplements, such as the Why Not Natural B12 Liquid Drops. This supplement is straightforward to administer and comes in an organic cherry flavor!

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