Hashimoto’s and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

How B12 Deficiency Can Worsen Hashimoto’s Symptoms

Hashimoto’s is a widespread autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, causing it to become inflamed and unable to produce enough hormones. Moreover, in most cases, it causes hypothyroidism due to the destruction of the thyroid gland. It is also the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. While the exact cause of Hashimoto’s is unknown, the evidence suggests it be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. One of the environmental factors that can contribute to Hashimoto’s is a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that helps the body produce red blood cells and maintain a healthy nervous system. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to a variety of health problems, including an increased risk of developing Hashimoto’s.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin in animal products such as fish, meat, eggs, and dairy. Synthetic Vitamin B12 is also found in some fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast. Synthetic Vitamin B12 is inferior to the natural form of Vitamin B12 so you need to be careful when you pick Vitamin B12 as a supplement. Vitamin B12 is needed for the proper development and production of RBCs (red blood cells), which carry oxygen throughout the body. It also helps maintain a healthy nervous system and is necessary for the metabolism of fats and proteins.

How Does a B12 Deficiency Affect Hashimoto’s?

A vitamin B12 deficiency can worsen the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. This is because B12 helps the body produce red blood cells, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Without enough red blood cells, the thyroid gland cannot produce enough hormones, leading to an increase in symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression. In addition, a B12 deficiency can also lead to megaloblastic anemia, where RBCs get too large. Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and pale skin. 

Who is at Risk for B12 Deficiency?

Anyone can be at risk for a B12 deficiency, but certain groups are more likely to be deficient. These include people who are vegan or vegetarian, people with a history of gastric bypass surgery, and people who have certain digestive disorders, such as celiac disease, IBS, SIBO, or Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis diseases. In addition, older adults are more likely to be deficient in B12 because they may not absorb it as well as younger people. People who take certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors or metformin, may also be at risk for a B12 deficiency.

How to Treat a B12 Deficiency

Supplements to treat B12 deficiency

B12 deficiency is usually treated with B12 supplements, which are available over-the-counter in pill or liquid form. Some patients may require injections of B12, which can be administered by a health care provider. Patients with B12 deficiency should also receive dietary advice, to ensure that they are getting enough of the vitamin from their diet. Foods that are rich in B12 include animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

The Difference between Synthetic and Methylated Forms of Vitamin B12

Synthetic forms of vitamin B12 are usually found in many processed foods and dietary supplements and are derived from chemical processes. This form of vitamin B12 is also known as cyanocobalamin, and it is readily absorbed by the body. The body must then convert cyanocobalamin into a form that it can use, which is called methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is a form of vitamin B12 naturally found in foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. It is already in a form that the body can readily use and does not need to be converted like the synthetic form does. 

The methylated form of vitamin B12 may be preferred as the body does not need to go through different conversion steps to make Vitamin B12 that can be used. In addition, the methylated form of vitamin B12 is thought to be better utilized by the body than the synthetic form. In general, it is recommended that people take a vitamin B12 supplement that contains the methylated form of the vitamin.


Anyone can be at risk for a B12 deficiency, but certain groups are more likely to be deficient. Test – do not guess when it comes to Vitamin B12 deficiency. It is important to know the baseline for Vitamin B12. But even if it is within “normal,” you still may need some supplementation. It all depends on a variety of factors, your symptoms, and several tests that may point to indirect Vitamin B12 deficiency. 

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