Vitamin B12 is important when it comes to the creation of red blood cells in the body. A lack of the vitamin can cause the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that can’t function properly. B12 also keeps the nervous system healthy and helps in the release of energy from food. If you’re eating a balanced and healthy diet you should be able to get enough of the vitamin from your food.
How to get vitamin B12
Meat and fish are some of the best sources of B12, but people who don’t eat these foods, such as vegetarians, may face having low levels of the vitamin.
Some people take vitamin B12 supplements to maintain healthy levels, however the Department of Health advises that taking too many could be harmful.
Dr Andrew Thornber, chief medical of Now Patient told Express.co.uk it’s rare to overdose on vitamin B12, but it can occur if too much has been taken.
He explained: “Some people may be prescribed certain B12 tablets or injections (if they have certain medical conditions).
“The GP would prescribe the correct amount for you, so it would be hard to overdose.”
But if too much vitamin B12 is taken, certain symptoms may arise – including a change to your pee.
Symptoms of too much vitamin B12
Dr Thornber said one of the signs of too much vitamin B12 is urine discolouration.
Pee may be bright yellow because it’s a water-soluble vitamin.
Other signs Dr Thornber notes of someone taking too much vitamin B12 are:
- Joint and muscle pain
How much vitamin B12 do you need?
Vitamin B12 is necessary only in very small amounts each day. The NHS advises the recommended daily amount (RDA) as 1.5mcg for adults.
Dr Thornber advised: “Vitamin B12 should be used with caution if you have any of the following conditions – heart concerns, high blood pressure, history of cancer, skin disorders, genitourinary concerns, gastrointestinal concerns, blood disorders, low serum levels of potassium, and history of gout.”
He added: “If you’re eating a balanced and healthy diet you should get enough B12 from your food including, meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Marmite is very high in B12. Your body doesn’t store Vitamin B12 for long though.
“There is some research to show vegetarians and/or vegans may not be getting enough B12 and should look to take a supplement if levels are low (chat to Pharmacist or GP).
“Some people with certain deficiencies such as Crohn’s disease and coeliac may struggle to get enough B12 in their diet.”
If you think you’ve overdosed on vitamin B12, Dr Thornber recommends you contact your GP or a hospital ASAP.