I realized I haven’t spent much time chatting about B vitamins and B12 deficiency symptoms; it’s a commonly missed/misdiagnosed deficiency that’s surprisingly common in our society. I have many clients with numerous health issues and after I dove deeper into their B12 levels and taught them what the ‘normal’ levels were, which aren’t what Western medicine thinks, they started to feel better.

Many of us aren’t able to absorb B12. I had a B12 deficiency in my 20s and now my B12 is perfecto!! No one ever told me the early symptoms of B12 deficiency or the best ways to test for it. I just listened to my Western medicine MD thinking he knew what he was doing in my 5 minute doctor’s visit. Once I started working with Integrative MDs I started to dive deeper into trying to understand what I’d have to do to get my levels back up! And that’s what we’re gunna chit chat about today.


Good. Here we go!

Here’s are a few (not the complete full list) of diseases that mimic the symptoms and signs of a B12 deficiency.

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Immune Dysregulation
  • Cancer
  • Infertility for women and men
  • MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Lately I’ve been doing so much research on B12 deficiency and speaking to colleagues about how common this is than Western medicine and other folks realize. The part that really throws people off is that having a B12 deficiency mimics what people attribute to aging such as fatigue, lethargy, memory decline/loss, decreased mobility, and so on.

The reasons B12 deficiency is commonly overlooked is because most doctors don’t test for it. Also, the range that you see on the blood work results is totally bogus. The reference range at the low end of the spectrum is WAY too low, which is why your levels can look normal and in range but you really have a deficiency.

So, what the heck is B12 and why do you need it?

B12 has an important role in your body – it works with folate in the synthesis of red blood cells and DNA as well as many other roles such as producing the myelin around nerves.


What are the causes of B12 deficiency?

There are a few reasons why your B12 is low. They include alcohol use, medications, pernicious anemia, low stomach acid, Leaky Gut, Dysbiosis, inflammation in your gut and exposure to nitrous oxide. Now, can you see why some people who eat lots of animal products that contain B12 are STILL deficient in B12? I get so many clients saying “My B12 is low, but I eat so many animal products and I don’t know why it’s low.” Well, it’s great that you are eating those organic animal products for your B12 but you’re not absorbing it due to some of the above issues I’ve mentioned.

Who’s at a high risk for B12 deficiency?

  • People over 60 years old
  • People with Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, IBS or ulcerative colitis
  • Women who have a had miscarriages or infertility
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • People on diabetes drugs or acid suppressing drugs

Now, B12 is ONLY found in animal products which means that the trace element, cobalamin), is made in the guts of animal products and it’s surprisingly the ONLY vitamin we cannot get from plants or sunlight. Plant’s do not need B12 so they don’t store it. Interesting, right?

It’s not possible to get B12 from seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and other vegetarian foods because plant foods contain B12 analogs that are called cobamides which block the intake of B12 and increase the need for B12.

Now, I’m not telling anyone to be a vegan or vegetarian or meat eater. That’s not my goal or my purpose in life. My goal is to help you and to make sure you are feeling well and getting the right results and answers you need from your doctors without feeling like you’re in the dark about your health.

All you need to do is get a blood test for B12 that can be done anywhere and once you get your levels back, you can work with your Integrative MD to restore your levels. I had to get B12 injections in my 20’s to help me but I haven’t had one in 5 years because my levels are in great shape! You can take oral, sub-lingual or nasal supplements to treat your deficiency if needed.


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Red Quinoa with Coconut Roasted Apples
Serves: 4
Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Amie Valpone
Recipe type: Entree





  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  3. Toss apples with melted coconut oil and cinnamon on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender then remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
  4. Portion quinoa, roasted apples, cabbage and pumpkin seeds and optional coconut flakes among serving bowls. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Add orange zest and serve. Add more balsamic vinegar and oil, if needed. (I don't like to have my salad sopping with dressing so if this is too dry for you, add more balsamic and oil!)
Nutrition Facts
Red Quinoa with Coconut Roasted Apples
Amount Per Serving
Calories 328 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 16mg1%
Potassium 505mg14%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 546IU11%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. I cant thank you enough.
    I’m just shy of 66yrs old and I work on my health constantly. I just couldnt seem to find what is wrong with me. I’m taking meds that strip B12 out of my stomach. I’m blessed with your information.
    Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    Our society needs a paradigm shift in this very direction…no more cancer funding…I’m for disease prevention funding…

  3. This looks delicious! I love that it’s anti-inflammatory, with Thyroid Disease it’s important for me to eat a healthy, clean diet. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  4. You talk about B12 blood levels……what do you think is a normal range???? Thank you in advance for your thoughts!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Sharon; everyone is different so my advice is to work with your Functional/Integrative MD to make sure your levels are in range for you and not compare them to the standard Western medicine ranges.

  5. I had Glandular Fever for 1.5 years, now thats left me I have chronic Fatigue, …all from a migraine tablet the doctor prescribed and it atacked my immune system. He didn’t tell me how bad it would be. I was desperate for answers…starting with detoxing my system and this is where I came… Im just about off those migraine pills ( Topomax ) and because Im eating the right foods I rarely have a migraine compared to the three a week I used to have. Feeling stronger as time goes on and enjoying new foods.

  6. 5 stars
    I eat healthy for my kid’s sake. I want to not only be a good role model to them, but also want to be able to enjoy a long, quality-filled along side them.

  7. I eat healthy, because it’s important for every organ of your body. I have found that it helps my digestion and keeps me “regular”. If it weren’t for eating healthy, I would still feel bloated, gassy, and suffer from chronic yeast infections. Changing my diet has definitely increased my quality of life. ?
    I have not tried this recipe, but I am putting it in my reminder list.
    Thanks Amie for all you do! ?

  8. I eat healthy to avoid taking prescriptions for my fibromyalgia. Healthy food is our arsenal against disease and sicknesses! Would love to read New Vegan Cooking! Thanks for all your helpful information!