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How Long to Recover from B12 Deficiency

Recovering from vitamin B12 deficiency takes time and the correct treatment in order to return to sufficient levels. Restoring levels from deficiency begins with identification, through recognising symptoms or testing your levels. How long it takes to recover will depend on the course of action taken to improve your B12 intake, such as injections or supplements. 

Table of Contents:

Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

In order to know how long recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency takes, you need to know the signs and symptoms of deficiency to look out for. If you identify with the symptoms, you may require vitamin B12 supplements to recover. Whilst symptoms affect everyone differently, the common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  1. Tiredness and fatigue 
  2. Glossitis (sore and red tongue)
  3. Paler skin than usual
  4. Unbalanced mood
  5. Pins and needles
  6. Difficulty concentrating and brain fogginess

Who Is Most At Risk?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new draft guidelines for B12 deficiency which outlines who can be more susceptible to B12 deficiency. The groups who may be more likely to suffer low levels of B12 include:

  • Older adults (aged 60+) - As we age, we produce less stomach acid which in turn makes it more difficult to break down food in order to absorb vital nutrients. As per the updated NICE guidelines, “Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in older people and is thought to affect around 5% of 65-74-year-olds and over 10% of over-75s.”
  • Vegans - People who follow a diet that excludes, or is low in, animal-source foods, e.g. vegans, or diets excluding meat for religious beliefs are missing vital food sources of vitamin B12 if they are not supported by vegan supplements. There are plant-based options so it is possible to identify how to get B12 as a vegan
  • Those with health conditions - Certain health conditions, particularly those which impact the stomach or intestines, such as atrophic gastritis, coeliac disease, and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Those taking certain medications - Some medications will impact your likelihood of developing B12 deficiency. Those include the anti-seizure medicines phenobarbital, pregabalin, primidone and topiramate. Colchicine, H2-receptor antagonists, metformin and proton pump inhibitors.
  • Those with Pernicious Anaemia - This autoimmune condition impacts your stomach lining, and is one of the primary causes of low B12 levels in the UK.

You Should Test For Deficiency If You Have Symptoms

You should take a B12 test if you have one or more symptoms of low levels. The new NICE guidelines recommend healthcare professionals offer B12 blood tests to anyone with at least one symptom or sign and one or more risk factors.

You can also test for B12 deficiency at home with BetterYou’s vitamin test kits. This is a quick and simple blood test which measures the amount of biomarkers in a sample to determine overall levels. In order to test:

  1. Order your B12 blood test online
  2. Fill a microtube with blood using a quick prick of the finger
  3. Send your sample in a pre-paid envelope to our UKAS accredited lab partners
  4. Receive your results via email within 5 working days of the lab receiving your sample
  5. Receive your bespoke supplementation plan based on your results to help you to recover from B12 deficiency or maintain your nutrient levels

This test is not a substitute for seeing a doctor. If you are at all unsure about your results, please consult your doctor or medical professional.

You may need multiple tests in order to assess if your supplementation plan is working and your B12 levels are improving. If you’ve seen a Doctor about potential deficiency, they may arrange for you to be tested.

What Daily Dose of B12 Do I Require?

In order to stay on top of your nutritional health, you need to know how much B12 per day you need. This will vary from person to person due to age, lifestyle, dietary requirements and other health considerations. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency in older adults is more prevalent than previously thought thanks to the new draft guidelines from NICE.

  • In general, the NHS recommends adults (aged 19 - 64) need about 1.5 µg (micrograms) a day of vitamin B12.


How Much B12 Per Day? (µg - micrograms)

Children (0-6 months)


Children (7-12 months)


Children (1-3 years)


Children (4-8 years)


Children (9-13 years)


Children (14-18 years)


Adults (19+ years)


Older Adults (60+ years)




This may be difficult to achieve from diet or tablet supplements alone, due to the difficult nature of B12 absorption. B12 requires an enzyme called intrinsic factor to be absorbed, which our modern diets have reduced the presence of.
BetterYou’s Boost B12 Oral Spray provides 1200μg (micrograms) per dose. This is higher than the recommended Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) because it is specifically designed to help recovery from B12 deficiency by increasing levels in those who are deficient.

At risk groups may need more B12 per day than those who eat a sufficient amount of foods rich in B12, are younger, don’t take medications, and do not suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

How to Increase Intake

Increasing your intake using oral spray supplements is effective in helping reduce the length of time it takes to correct and recover from B12 deficiency. Our oral sprays provide effective absorption in the inside of the mouth, meaning they bypass the gastrointestinal tract. BetterYou’s vitamin B12 supplements are designed to provide the essential nutrient directly to the bloodstream to help recover from B12 deficiency.

Our Vitamin B12 Oral Spray contains a form of B12 known as methylcobalamin, which is the naturally active form found within human metabolism. Our B12 supplements are Vegan approved by the Vegetarian Society, so can and should be included in a plant-based diet.

Our sprays do not need to be taken with food or water, and you can supplement at any time of the day and combine with our other pill-free supplements.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Recovering from B12 deficiency doesn’t happen overnight. You need to increase the levels of vitamin B12 in your body in order to alleviate symptoms and prevent deficiency from reoccurring. Even the best B12 supplements will vary in how long they take to improve your levels, due to multiple factors to consider. 

How long recovery from B12 deficiency takes will differ from person to person, depending on various risk factors, lifestyle, whether you use B12 tablets or sprays, and how low levels were to begin with.

BetterYou’s B12 Oral Spray

Our B12 oral spray delivers 1200μg (micrograms) per daily dose and is specially formulated to increase levels for recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency. As vitamin B12 is water-soluble, excessive intake is unlikely, as anything you don’t need your body will excrete in urine. This dosage is higher than the recommended daily amount in order to help increase low levels to sufficient and reduce how long recovery from B12 deficiency can take.

In our experience, oral spray supplements can take 3 days to increase serum nutrient levels, with a significant increase seen after 10 days, and a deficiency can be turned into an optimal level within 10 weeks.

Intramuscular Injections

If you see a Doctor for your deficiency, you may be offered an intramuscular injection instead of an oral replacement, especially if there are concerns with your ability to absorb B12 from food or tablet sources in the gut. The NHS suggests recovery via injection can take up to 2 weeks, but this can also vary depending on the cause.

Non-Diet-Related Causes

Non-diet-related causes may require an intramuscular injection every 2-3 months for the rest of your life. Supplementing with a B12 oral spray for pernicious anaemia between injections may help to reduce the risk of symptoms returning before your next injection is due.

When to Visit your GP

You should visit your GP if you are concerned about your intake and want to know more about how long it takes to recover from B12 deficiency. Visit your Doctor if:

  • You are in one or more of the at-risk groups
  • You are experiencing one or more symptom of deficiency
  • You have taken a test and do not understand your results
  • You have re-tested after a period of supplementation and your levels have not increased to normal B12 levels for your age

Supplementing with BetterYou

At BetterYou, we pioneered pill-free supplementation to make complete nutrition more accessible. Our products have been absorption tested by Cardiff and Sheffield Universities. From our men’s health supplements and women’s health supplements, start supporting your healthy lifestyle today.

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