Vitamin B12 Status among Healthy Indian Population: A Review


  • University of Delhi, Institute of Home Economics, New Delhi, Delhi, 110 039, India


Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble micronutrient found in animal foods. Its deficiency is not uncommon in India owing to vegetarianism but often unrecognized due to diverse clinical manifestations, involving hematologic and behavioral and neurologic deterioration. The present review is to collate the current data on vitamin B12status among healthy Indian population. A total of 620 studies were identified using PubMed, out of which 40 studies that matched the selection criteria, were shortlisted and reviewed. The results highlight inadequate vitamin B12 status in most age groups, with the prevalence of deficiency reaching 100%, 78.5%, 61.7% and 75.4% in infants, children and adolescents, adults, elderly and pregnant women, respectively based on varying cut offs. However, due to variation in the biomarkers and cutoffs used for defining clinical and sub-clinical vitamin B12 deficiency and varied laboratory techniques used for analysis, direct comparison of the prevalence of deficiency in the studied population is difficult. Nevertheless, this review highlights that vitamin B12 deficiency is an emerging public health concern that requires further research involving dietary intake of vitamin B12 and serum levels in population groups in India to understand many aspects of vitamin B12 absorption, bioavailability and metabolism.


Adult, deficiency, healthy, Indian, infants, prevalence, pregnant, vitamin B12

Subject Discipline

food and nutrition;health

Full Text:


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