Learn here why you need Vitamin B12, its deficiency, symptoms, sources of vitamin B12 & how vegetarians & vegans can get vitamin B12.
In this article, you will find:
(i) What vitamin B12 does in your body?
(ii) What will happen if you don’t get enough vitamin B12?
(iii) Does your body make vitamin B12?
(iv) How you can get vitamin B12 through different sources?, and
(v) How vegans can get vitamin B12?
First let’s take a look what vitamin B12 does in your body. It’s one of the most important vitamins that your body critically needs in maintaining optimal health.
Why You Need Vitamin B12?
Number 1: It helps make your DNA and red blood cells.
Number 2: Your body requires it for proper functioning of your neurological system, maintaining healthy nerve cells, energy production from the foods you eat, and efficient metabolism.
Number 3: It plays a very important role in the production of hemoglobin, which is a kind of protein that helps transport oxygen in your blood.
Can Your Body Make Vitamin B12?
A very interesting fact that you should know is that your body cannot produce vitamin B12 on it’s own. So, you have to get it from foods or supplements.
What Happens When Your Vitamin B12 Is Low & You Are Vitamin B12 Deficient?
Let’s now look into what will happen if you don’t get enough B12:
Early stage of vitamin B12 deficiency can include mild symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and a general sense of tiredness.
If you let it continue untreated it can lead to intermediary symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles sensation in your feet and hands, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Later stage of vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms:
Number 1: Nerve problems causing increased tingling and numbness in hands and feet, increased muscle weakness, loss of reflexes and balance, and trouble in walking.
Number 2: Neurological damage causing medical conditions such as confusion, dementia, depression, and memory loss.
Number 3: The digestive system problems leading to nausea, vomiting, heartburn, enlarged liver, and a smooth thick and red tongue.
So don’t you think, it is really important to treat vitamin B12 deficiency as soon as possible?
How Much vitamin B12 Do You Need?
If you are an adult, you need between 1.5 to 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily.
If you eat reasonable amount of Meat, Fish, Eggs or Dairy Foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
Plant foods, such as grains, vegetables & fruit don’t contain vitamin B12 naturally, unless they are fortified. The vegetarians can get Vitamin B12 only from the dairy products. So the vegetarians, especially vegans are most likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.
How Vegetarians Or Vegans Can Get Vitamin B12?
Let’s see how the Vegans can get adequate amount of vitamin 12.
If you are a vegan, you must obtain vitamin B12 from either B12 fortified soy products or supplements. Some examples of these fortified food sources are:
(i) Almond and Coconut milk,
(ii) Fortified Breakfast cereals
(iii) Nutritional yeast, and
(iv) Sea Algae such as Spirulina.
I suggest, if you have vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, speak to your doctor to find out what is the best course of treatment for you before you start taking any supplementation.
VIDEO of the day!
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”