Prevalence and vitamin B12 deficiency

Despite growing attention for vitamin B12 deficiency in Dutch healthcare systems, there are still no national figures on the incidence and prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in the Netherlands; there is only the report by Van Asselt, who studied prevalence among the elderly (Van Asselt et al., 1998).

Outside the Netherlands the scope of vitamin B12 deficiency has been more widely studied. In 2008 the WHO reported that it can be called a global public health problem (McLean, 2008). Foreign research unanimously conclude that vitamin B12 prevalence is higher than has always been assumed.

The Framingham Offspring B12 Study into B12 deficiency prevalence (Tucker et al., 2000) mentions a pasmalevel of <185 pmol/L among 17 % of the population. 39 % of the population has a level of <258 pmol/L and 9 % shows a level of < 148 pmol/L. Recent research by the English NHS supports these figures (Hunt, Harrington, & Robinson, 2014). Among senior citizens deficiency may rise to levels of 20 to 35% of the population.