Vitamin B12 Excess: Symptoms and How to Fix It

November 18, 2022

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a micronutrient that the body obtains from food. It is a substance of an animal, although it can also be found in fortified foods of vegetable origin and food supplements or multivitamins. 

B12 is a water-soluble vitamin involved in vital functions such as protein metabolism, red blood cell formation, and the correct functioning of the nervous system and cognitive functions. 

Maintaining adequate levels in the body is essential for good health, while its low presence can be as bad as maintaining levels that are too high.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 excess

Are you wondering what vitamin B12 is for? Correct measurement is basic for the functioning of the organism. Meat, fish, seafood, eggs, milk, and dairy products are some of the main sources for obtaining the daily dose required by the body, a dose that, as stated by the National Library of the US National Institute of Health, ranges from 2.4mcg/day to 2.8mcg/day in adults, depending on sex, age or specific circumstances, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

However, although an excess of high vitamin B12 in women or men is not frequent, it is something that can occur, especially if this water-soluble vitamin is not adequately expelled through urine and an abnormal accumulation occurs.

When this happens, the most common symptoms of excess vitamin B12 and possible causes that can alert us to excessively high levels include:

  • Dizziness and headaches for which no objective cause can be found.

  • Dysfunctions of the digestive system, usually manifest themselves in the form of vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Skin eruptions, itching, redness, or acne.

  • Vision problems.

  • Fatigue or unexplained tiredness.

  • Insomnia.

  • Alterations in heart rhythm. 

  • Arrhythmias or palpitations.

How to eliminate excess vitamin B12

The indicated symptoms can be a sign of numerous pathologies, but they can also hide a high vitamin B12 index, something that can be verified with a simple blood test. 

However, the suspicion that the cause of some of the symptoms we mentioned may be due to a too-high vitamin B12 is increased in the case of frequent intake of foods or supplements that include this vitamin artificially. In any case, medical consultation is important.

If there is an excess of vitamin B12, a series of measures should be implemented to help lower its levels, since this high amount can end up triggering various pathologies. These are some of the possible solutions:

Avoiding the intake of more vitamin B12, suppressing the intake of supplements containing it, and establishing a diet in which the foods richest in it are temporarily limited. In this sense, the advice of a nutritionist can be of great help to establish the ideal diet, which helps to control high levels of vitamin B12 without ending up falling into deficiencies that are also unhealthy.

Follow healthy lifestyle habits: a varied diet with a predominance of fruits, vegetables, and greens, some exercise, and sufficient fluid intake, mainly water to help purify the body.

When vitamin B12 is "shot", a specific medical treatment may be necessary, which will always depend on the disease that may be causing the high levels. Liver disease, which affects the liver, the organ responsible for the correct storage of the vitamin, or some degree of renal insufficiency, which means that the kidneys cannot correctly eliminate excess vitamin B12, are two probable causes of this excess, which must be treated by the corresponding specialists.

Excess vitamin B12 consequences

Just as a deficiency of vitamin B12 requires specific actions to increase its level in the body, so does the excess of it require adequate treatment because, in the long run, it can have serious consequences for health. These are the main consequences of excess vitamin B12:

The risks of storing too much vitamin B12 exist, so supplements or medications containing vitamin B12 should not be taken without a doctor's prescription.

In addition to triggering severe gastrointestinal problems, the accumulation of vitamin B12 can end up affecting the liver, leading to diseases such as liver cirrhosis.

The kidneys can also be affected by an excess of this vitamin, being forced to increase their functioning to try to eliminate it, something that could end up damaging them to a greater or lesser extent.

It affects the circulatory system since this situation could favor the formation of dangerous blood clots and even affect the correct pumping of the heart, causing some type of heart failure.

As you may well have known, the excess of vitamin B12 should be treated thoroughly, however, the lack of it too.