Symptoms of B12 deficiency


I am a soylent newbie. I’ve been drinking my 1.4 for about 80% of my diet for the last 9 days. Two days ago I had pain that went from my lower back down to my right hamstring. It progressively got worse to the point that it was difficult for my so sit or stand. I took pain killers and went to bed. The next day I felt a little better. While talking to some friends they said it sounded like sciatic nerve pain and that I needed vitamin b12. Since I was feeling a little better I bought b12 but didn’t take it yet. Then later that night I noticed that my heartbeat was rapid as well as my breathing. I started freaking out and had a mini panic attack. After more research I started thinking that B12 really might be the issue.

It’s quite possible that I didn’t have high b12 levels before soylent. It’s possible that this isn’t a b12 issue at all. I’m not a doctor and I haven’t had my blood levels checked. But I do know that after I started supplementing with b12 my issues have gone away. I’ve never had sciatic nerve pain in my life. I’ve never had rapid heartbeats and heavy breathing out of the blue. It was 97 bpm which is on the high side of normal but i could feel it in my chest. A very scary thing.

Has anyone else experienced this?


Heart palpitations can be due to:

Anxiety, stress, panic attack, or fear
Caffeine intake
Nicotine intake
Cocaine or other illegal drugs
Diet pills

Always contact your doctor for medical advice never your friends (unless they are in fact doctors)

Actual Symptoms of B12 deficiencey

Symptoms can include:

Diarrhea or constipation
Fatigue, lack of energy, or light-headedness when standing up or with exertion
Loss of appetite
Pale skin
Problems concentrating
Shortness of breath, mostly during exercise
Swollen, red tongue or bleeding gums
If you have low vitamin B12 level for a long time, you can have nerve damage. Symptoms of nerve damage include:

Confusion or change in mental status (dementia) in severe cases
Loss of balance
Numbness and tingling of hands and feet


Actual B12 deficiency is very rare in our society, because so many animal products provide ample B12, and our body is actually good at storing it, unlike most of the water-soluble vitamins. Someone who is a big seafood eater can have many months’ worth of B12 stored - perhaps being able to go for a year without any. Also, lots of non-meat products are fortified with B12, like breakfast cereals. It’s hard not to get plenty. And Soylent has a full days’ supply, too.

B12 is not actually produced by animals, it’s produced by bacteria, but it’s concentrated in animals, because we store it so well. Animals like cows have a lot of B12 because they are ruminants - they eat grass, but their enormous gut system contains bacteria which break down the grass, and those bacteria produce the B12 for the cow. Cows have many trillions of bacteria per liter of rumen fluid!

We also get some B12 from our gut bacteria, but not a very big amount. So if you’re eating a strictly vegan diet, with no fortified foods like breakfast cereals, and have a low-fiber diet (bacteria colonize fiber in our gut), for a long time, you may actually get low on B12 - but that’s not very common.

Usually, a B12 deficiency is not a diet problem, but a symptom of other problems - elderly people sometimes have trouble absorbing it from foods, people with pernicious anemia may not absorb enough, certain drugs may accelerate the loss of B12, etc.

So if you are actually experiencing an unlikely B12 shortage, there’s probably something else going on that you should have checked out. It’s not happening because of the Soylent, it’s just coincidence. But it’s more likely that your experience is not from B12 or from the Soylent… many people have a pinched nerve, or have a panic attack. Your experience is fairly typical, and not specific to Soylent - but if you’re worried about them, talking to medical professionals is the thing to do.

If you do actually have sciatica, then it’s true that B12 has been found to help - but it’s not a primary treatment. It’s an ‘also’ kind of add-on. The primary treatments are pain killers for the short term, and physical therapy/exercise for long term (unless your sciatica is caused by a serious physical problem and surgery is appropriate.) It’s important to be properly diagnosed, rather than treating with something like B12 “in the dark.”

For what it’s worth, excess B12 is fairly harmless, and may actually do you good in several other ways, but it’s not going to cure sciatica (even if it may lessen the symptoms for you.)


I’ve gotten canker sores every few months for as long as I can remember. (Those painful little white sores on the INSIDE of your mouth) Several years ago I started taking Jarrow’s brand Methyl B12 and the sore I had at the time went away WITHIN TWO DAYS! I kept taking it and the sores never came back until I stopped taking for a period. I restarted the B12 immediately and again the sore was gone in two days. This stuff is awesome and I’ll be taking it for life.

Note, I’m NOT a vegetarian.


If you or the OP are not deficient, how else could B12 be helping? Interested in understanding its actions.


There is some research online about people who have the MTHFR gene mutation, and how that affects folate levels. Supplementing with Methyl B12 and Methyl Folate is often recommended. I did the 23andMe testing and I have this mutation. Apparently a LOT of people do. I started taking the Methyl B12 before I knew about any of that though, and was stunned at how well it worked for my canker sores. Methyl B12 and now psyllium husk (Which I learned about on these boards!) are my two favorite life improving supplements for sure.

Note, I tried taking methyl folate for a couple weeks but it made me anxious. It could have been a nocebo effect, but whatever the case, I didn’t like it and stopped.


Simple. Neither the OP nor Zenman are describing symptoms of deficiency. The RDAs are meant to prevent deficiency not promote optimal health. Getting extra B12 is beneficial in some cases like apparently sciatica and canker sores. The extra B12 doesn’t cure the underlining condition it just alleviates the symptoms.


Thanks for the replies! I am making an appointment with my doctor to do blood work and get his input.



Although this mindset is gradually changing. The recommendation system was initially based on establishing daily allowances that avoid gross deficiency symptoms. For some nutrients, you don’t want to consume more than necessary - such as manganese. For others, consuming a small excess seems harmless, but a large excess leads to trouble - such as sodium. For still others, significant increases seem to provide health benefits for a wide group of people, and they seem to be quite safe, even in large doses - such as B12.

As the evidence accumulates, health systems are gradually moving towards recommending levels for optimum health, as opposed to minimums… but they’re understandably conservative about it. Eventually, I’d like to see the current systems replaced with clear statements of minimum, maximum, optimum intake ranges.