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Low B12 & Heart Palpitations

author image Christine Garvin
Christine Garvin is a certified nutrition educator and holds a Master of Arts in holistic health education. She is co-editor of Brave New Traveler and founder/editor of Living Holistically... with a sense of humor. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga and performing hip-hop and bhangra.
Low B12 & Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations may signal a dietary concern. Photo Credit: Mikhail Tchkheidze/Hemera/Getty Images

Having an issue with your heart can be scary. Though heart palpitations are common and usually do not indicate a heart issue, feeling your heart beat quickly can certainly cause anxiety. Often, heart palpitations are linked to psychological or dietary issues. One possible dietary issue that may cause heart palpitations is low vitamin B12 levels. Be sure to check with your doctor if you are experiencing heart palpitations or other heart concerns.

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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the essential B-complex vitamins. Its main role is in energy production, along with the other B vitamins, according to registered dietitian Robert Wildman in his book "The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health." Vitamin B12 helps to metabolize folate, is required for the breakdown of certain amino acids and fatty acids for ATP production and is essential for the maintenance of the myelin sheath around the nerves. This vitamin is found in meats, eggs, poultry, shellfish and milk.

Heart Palpitations

According to Dr. Marc Goldstein in his book "Your Best Medicine," heart palpitations often feel as if your heart is beating irregularly or rapidly, when normally you don't notice your heartbeat. Heart palpitations may occur when your heart begins to beat faster than 100 beats per minute or you experience an early beat, and they may be felt in the throat, chest or neck. A relatively common occurrence, heart palpitations may be caused by a variety of issues, including anxiety, hypothyroidism and anemia.


Heart palpitations are one symptom of anemia, one form of which is caused by low vitamin B12. According to Elizabeth Crow in the book "Prevention's Ultimate Guide to Women's Health and Wellness," a decrease in red blood cells may come from vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to weakness, headaches, fatigue and heart palpitations. Strict vegetarians may be the most susceptible to this form of anemia, as vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods.


Do not assume that you are experiencing heart palpitations because of being low on vitamin B12. See your doctor, as he can do a blood test to determine if this is the case. Otherwise, your heart palpitations may be linked to another ailment. If you are low in vitamin B12, discuss with your doctor the best way to improve your levels, whether through diet, supplementing with sublingual B12 or receiving B12 shots.

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  • "The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health"; Robert E. C. Wildman, Ph.D., R.D.; 2009
  • "Your Best Medicine"; Marc A. Goldstein, M.D.; 2009
  • "Prevention's Ultimate Guide to Women's Health and Wellness"; Elizabeth Crow; 2002
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