My mother was recently found to have a vitamin B12 level of 122 pg/ml, which is considered abnormally low (normal range - 187-883 pg/ml). A practicing Gujarati Jain, she is anyway considered to be part of an “at-risk” population for vitamin B12 deficiency and so she was asked to start B12 injections followed by tablets.
For the last 20-30 years, the gospel has been that all vegetarians across the world and especially in India and particularly, practicing Jains, are vitamin B12 deficient, due to two reasons; the first is that their only sources of B12 are animal products, milk and eggs, which most vegans and Jains eschew and the second is the multiple research papers in India and abroad that have reported B12 deficiency in between 50-70% of all vegetarian adults, the deficiency worsening with increasing age .
So it all makes so much logical sense. If you are vegetarian, your B12 levels are likely to be low. If you do a B12 blood test, it will reinforce the presence of B12 “deficiency”. As a result, you will be asked to take supplements either in the form of injections or capsules. Your repeat blood test will likely show “improvement” to so-called normal levels and everyone will be happy that a deficiency has been addressed.