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WHAT EVERY VEGAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT VITAMIN B12

29 Mar 2019 no comments Blooming Flavors Categories Healthy Diet, VitaminsTags

WHAT EVERY VEGAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT VITAMIN B12

Vitamin B12 is a variant of vitamins which is rare in its kind. Unlike some other vitamins, its supply is not guaranteed by fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods but may be found to some extent in soil and plants, and as such, has been absorbed by many herbivorous animals by the bacteria present in their digestive system.

By virtue of some research and experimentation carried out by some vegans, sure sources of Vitamin B12 are B12 fortified foods and supplements of which adequate intake is exceptionally good in the optimization of the total health of a vegan. Research has also revealed that vegans who consume fortified foods or B12 supplements are less at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency, unlike the regular meat consumers. However, the availability of this vitamin may be in varying proportion, depending on the brand of food and the country. So next time you find yourself at the mart, you might need to do a bit of label reading to know the content level of Vitamin B12 in order to know which is sufficient for your health needs and your personal taste.

You may have a question bugging your mind as to what other alternatives of Vitamin B12 there are, other than fortified foods and supplements. It is important to note, and in fact emphasize, that it may be a futile or foolhardy attempt to source for Vitamin B12 outside these two known sources. Special studies have revealed that raw food taken by vegans offer no special protection. So it is better to be on the safe side, especially pregnant and nursing mothers.

In fact, Vitamin B12 has been recognized by the US, recommending a daily intake of 2.4 micrograms for adults and 2.8 micrograms for nursing mothers. However, this recommendation is not a threshold for every country, as it varies from one country to another. Supplements, on the other hand, can be different. A B12 supplement which contains a minimum of 10 micrograms or more daily is equivalent to an intake of one microgram three times daily. It is advised that you either chew a B12 supplement or allow it to dissolve in your mouth in order to enhance its absorption in your body system while tablets should be kept in opaque containers.

Signs of an inadequate intake of Vitamin B12 may include homocysteine and MMA levels increased slightly, increased risks of heart problems and diseases in adults of which preeclampsia in the phase of pregnancy and neural tube defects in babies are not exempted. Hence, it is advisable to increase your intake in folate, most of which can be found in green vegetables. Other symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Anemia or a damaged nervous system
  • Loss of energy and abnormal gait
  • Poor memory
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Blurred vision or hallucinations
  • Personality changes, etc.

In infants, on the other hand, signs of B12 deficiency may make them prone to permanent damage in comparison with adults. Often times, the symptoms are not easily noticeable, since they occur gradually over time, sometimes as long as months or even a year. More so is the fact that no one symptom is the consistent sign of a Vitamin B12 deficiency. But then, when you eventually notice them, it is advisable to promptly obtain the diagnosis of a certified medical doctor since this symptom may even be a resultant causative factor of another Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Now, how do you check your Vitamin B12 level?

Testing your Vitamin B12 status by blood test may prove very unreliable. While we do not rule out the fact that it may be tested through blood, it is essentially informative to let you know that algae and some other plant foods can imitate Vitamin B12 so much as to actually interfere with the metabolism of Vitamin B12. Hence, you may need to resort to blood homocysteine or methylmalonic (MMA) testing which is more reliable.

All in all, consumption of fortified foods 2-3 times daily to obtain at least 3 micrograms of B12 in a day or Vitamin B12 supplements for a minimum of 10 micrograms in a day and 2000 micrograms in a week are highly recommended for vegans, especially when you are mid-age and above. Remember, a well-informed vegan is a well-armed vegan, to avoid a well-deformed vegan.

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