Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia include:

  • Long-term (chronic) inflammation of the stomach (atrophic gastritis).
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding.
  • Removal of all or part of the stomach (gastrectomy), gastric bypass surgery, or gastric stapling surgery.
  • Problems of the small intestine (ileum) where vitamin B12 is absorbed.
  • Certain parasite infections, such as a fish tapeworm.
  • Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Not eating meat, eggs, or dairy products. Vitamin B12 is found only in foods that come from animals. Strict vegetarians (vegans) who do not eat milk, meat, or cheese can prevent having a vitamin B12 deficiency by taking supplements or multivitamins that contain vitamin B12.
  • Alcoholism.

Last Updated: December 19, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.