Vitamin B12 Facts When Turning Vegan
Vitamin B12 is one of the most misunderstood and vilified arguments against veganism. It is thrown around almost as a buzzword and can leave many health seekers confused and a little nervous to launch into their plant based lifestyles. To de-mystify Vitamin B12 we must look at where it comes from, why we need it and what to do to ensure we stay healthy as vegans.
Vitamin B12 is created by organisms in the soil. When livestock are grazing in healthy paddocks they naturally consume soil as a part of their diet and thus consume adequate B12 that then resides in their own bodies. We could do the same if our soil was safe to eat, however, modern farming techniques utilize fertilisers and chemicals that are not safe to eat so our food must be thoroughly sterilised before eating. Also, modern farming of animals often sees them in quite ‘sterile’ conditions and even the animals are not being exposed to B12. If the animal is deficient, even consuming their flesh will not see you obtaining your B12 as it is simply missing from our food. Thus Vitamin B12 deficiency can actually happened to anybody and everybody needs to be aware of it.
We need Vitamin B12 for healthy nerve function, DNA replication and energy, so it is pretty important to our health and wellbeing. The problem with B12 deficiency is that it can feel pretty non- descript at first and is often diagnosed late, after long lasting damage has occurred. The first symptoms that can present follow along the lines of weakness, fatigue, dizziness and tingling in the extremities. More severesymptoms can include mood changes, numbness and blurred vision. It is important to be vigilant and on top of these issues before they present.
When you choose to eat a predominately vegan diet you must start taking Vitamin B12 and the best supplementation is under the tongue or ‘sublingual’ dosing. This is due to the fact that as we age, it can get harder to absorb Vitamin B12 through the stomach. Getting a blood test can indicate your current level and if you are heavily deficient your health care provider may suggest treatment with injections to get you up to speed followed by a sublingual maintenance dose. Checking your levels yearly can help you determine how much support you need in this area and you may also need to adapt as you age, you fall pregnant or other circumstances change.
Taking Vitamin B12 as a supplement is recommended for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a modern farming consequence rather than a dietary inadequacy and is not an argument about the appropriateness of a natural human diet. Once understood, working to maintain adequate Vitamin B12 levels is clear, simple and the healthy choice.
References and further reading:
Thanks so much Holly, I look forward to sharing more facts tomorrow.
Any topics you would like covered?
365 Lifestyle Motivator