Vitamin B12 always plays a very important role in our body. People with a B12 deficiency can face extremely serious health risks.
According to some sources, vegans may have a higher vitamin B12 deficiency. So, is that information correct? How can you get vitamin b12 as a vegan?
How to get vitamin B12 Naturally as a vegan
If you are a vegan, you will need to get vegan vitamin B12 from several food sources. You can get b12 as a vegan by supplementing with foods that contain it. Most of them are easy to find at convenience stores or supermarkets.
Food sources rich in vitamin B12 that vegans like you can use include:
- B12 supplements
- Supplement B12
- Low-fat milk
- Plant-based milk supplements
- Plant-based milk
- Nutritional yeast
- Soybean products
- Some nutritional yeast
Before buying any product, it is wise to check its packaging carefully. Make sure it provides the amount of vitamin B12 you need.
However, you need to know how to balance the amount of food you use. For example, you can face some negative effects of consuming too much milk.
Specifically, milk contains the sugar lactose. This is indigestible for humans. It can make you nauseous or gassy. Some studies show that drinking milk incorrectly can lead to an increase in cholesterol in the body.
In addition, drinking too much milk can also cause you to develop acne as well as increase antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Therefore, it is best to use the foods reasonably. It is best to use smart ways to supplement B12 without harm to health.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a very important vitamin that is water-soluble. It plays a very important role in the metabolism of every cell in the human body. That means it is very important for our health.
Vitamin B12 synthesis can take place in the intestines of animals, including ours. However, we will eliminate vitamin B12 on our own after synthesizing them. That means we cannot absorb vitamin B12 on our own.
Therefore, we need to look for vitamin B12 from other sources.
We only need about 3 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day. However, a deficiency of B12 will lead to many serious consequences. You will even face the risk of death if you are deficient in this vitamin.
As a result, it is best to make sure you get the right amount of vitamins.
A vegetarian diet can make you deficient in this vitamin. Therefore, you need to supplement with products rich in B12 as well as special supplements to avoid deficiency of B12.
Reasons vegetarians don’t get B12
Plants or animals themselves do not synthesize vitamin B12. What makes vitamin B12 are microorganisms (bacteria).
Currently, the excessive use of pesticides has led to many serious consequences. One of them is that it kills all beneficial bacteria, including the kind that makes vitamin B12.
Vegetarians do not eat animals. Therefore, they tend to have less vitamin B12 than other people. However, that does not mean that eating meat can prevent this vitamin deficiency. Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians are at a very high risk of B12 deficiency.
In the past, we could even get B12 by drinking water. However, people have used chlorine to disinfect our drinking water. As a result, the water also no longer contains this important nutrient.
Where can you find vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. You can find B12 in several foods. Bacteria are what synthesize this vitamin. These bacteria are usually found in the intestines of animals or the soil.
We can see this most clearly in the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Specifically, about 3.2 percent of adults over the age of 50 have severely low B12 levels. In addition, 20 percent of them have mild B12 deficiency.
In general, vitamin B12 deficiency is not a problem unique to vegetarians. It’s a common problem for everyone.
We produce vitamin B12 in our intestines. Unfortunately, our blood cannot absorb them. Our body will eliminate them on its own.
As for wild animals, even if they only eat plants, they are not deficient in vitamin B12. The reason is that when they eat plants, they will accidentally ingest excrement and soil that contain B12. We can’t all do that, can we?
Symptoms that indicate you are deficient in B12
A deficiency of B12 can cause anaemia or serious neurological effects. This is often the case with long-term vegans who do not take the usual B12 fortified foods.
In addition, infants are also at risk of B12 deficiency when consuming the milk of vegetarian mothers with low B12 levels.
Adult, when they have a B12 deficiency, they usually have the following signs:
- Heartbeat fast
- Hair loss
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased eyesight
- Memory decline
For infants, a B12 deficiency leads to much more serious consequences. They may lose energy, have an appetite, and slow to grow.
If this continues for a long time, they can go into a coma or even die. Infants are more vulnerable than adults. Some can make a full recovery, others face developmental delays.
How much B12 do we need each day?
There is no exact answer to this question. It has significant differences between countries.
For the United States, the recommended daily intake of B12 is 2.4 micrograms for the average adult. This number is 2.8 micrograms for nursing mothers. For Germany, each person needs to supplement with 3 micrograms of B12 per day.
For both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, achieving adequate B12 intake is very easy. You can use many methods to supplement B12 that suit personal preferences.
According to the Vegetarian Association, you need to take the following actions to be able to get enough vitamin B12:
- You should take fortified foods two or three times per day. That’s to make sure you are getting at least three micrograms of B12 each day.
- You should take a B12 supplement daily. With that, you can get ten micrograms
- You should take a B12 supplement weekly to get at least 2,000 micrograms
Do not worry about you getting too much vitamin B12 a day. Your body will excrete excess B12 through urine.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it possible to get vitamin B12 from spirulina, nori, barley grass, or raw foods?
The answer is no! Many studies indicate that plant sources of vitamin B12 are negligible. Looking after them is a big mistake.
The body can be deficient in vitamin B12 if the body does not produce enough intrinsic factors. Another cause is not enough foods rich in vitamin B12 in the diet.
The best way to get vitamin b12 is to take a supplement or eat foods rich in vitamins. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in products of animal origin. In particular, it is abundant in meat and dairy products.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, they should not rely on a plant-based diet. That can make them severely deficient in B12 and the fetus will be in danger
2. What are the benefits of B12?
- Helps form red blood cells as well as prevent anemia: Vitamin B12 plays an important role in helping the body produce red blood cells. So, if you do not get enough vitamin B12, you will develop anemia.
- Preventing birth defects: For pregnant women, supplementing with B12 is very important. A fetus’s brain and nervous system need sufficient levels of B12 from the mother to develop properly.
- Good for bones and prevent osteoporosis: Maintaining proper levels of vitamin B12 in the body can support bone health.
- Bits of help treat symptoms of depression: Vitamin B12 can help improve your mood.
- Brain supplement: Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to memory loss, especially in older adults. Vitamins play an important role in preventing brain atrophy.
- Improves heart health by reducing Homocysteine: High blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, homocysteine levels in your body will increase.
3. Should I use supplements to get B12?
Yes. However, you need to use them sensibly.
In general, vitamin B12 is extremely important for human health. However, vitamin B12 deficiency is very common, especially for vegetarians. B12 deficiency can lead to serious health problems and even death.
There are many methods to get vitamin b12 as a vegan. It is important that you self-consciously supplement this vitamin daily.