What can be done to ensure that older adults are getting enough vitamin B12?

In my role as a nutritionist and dietitian, I am often asked how we can maintain optimum levels of essential nutrients in our bodies. Vitamin B12 is one such nutrient which comes up frequently. The article discusses the importance of ensuring that older adults consume enough vitamin B12, as well as how to start, examples of foods rich in this essential nutrient and additional tips for optimal intake.

Vitamin B12 and Older Adults

Vitamin B12 is essential for our overall health. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of nerve cells, DNA and red blood cell formation. This essential nutrient deficiency can cause anemia, cognitive impairment, and neurological disorders. A B12 deficiency is more common in older adults due to decreased production of stomach acid, which affects the absorption.

National Institutes of Health recommends that adults older than 50 get the majority of their B12 through fortified food or supplements, as they may not be able to absorb the natural form of vitamin found in many foods. It's important that older adults are careful about their vitamin B12 intake.

Getting Started: Ensuring Adequate B12 Intake

It's crucial to know the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin B12. The RDA for adults is 2.4 milligrams of vitamin B12 per day. Your healthcare provider might recommend higher dosages if your risk for deficiency is high.

Consider adding more B12 rich foods to your diet. You can choose to eat fortified food or take a supplement if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Discuss any changes to your diet or supplementation with your doctor.

Foods Rich in B12

Other Tips

It is crucial to monitor your B12 intake, but older adults may have difficulty absorbing it. Probiotic foods such as yogurt and probiotic supplements may help improve absorption of B12. Eating smaller meals more frequently will help you absorb nutrients. Regular checkups will detect potential deficiencies earlier.


To summarize, to ensure that older adults get enough vitamin B12, they must eat mindfully, understand the best sources of food, and consider supplements, as needed. In order to maintain optimal health, regular monitoring by healthcare professionals and consulting with them is also important. Good nutrition is the cornerstone to healthy aging.