The famous vitamin B12. How to obtain it?

One of the big concerns for those new to veganism is the possible lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary for intellectual performance and vitality. It acts to improve concentration, memory and relieve irritability. It is the most powerful antianemic known, necessary to obtain energy from carbohydrates.

Who should take special care to ingest B12 in sufficient quantities?

- Celiac people,
- Seniors,
- People who abuse alcohol,
- People who abuse tobacco,
- People who take anticholesterol drugs.

What effects can its deficiency produce?

  1. Megaloblastic anemia: B12 is necessary for the proper formation of red blood cells. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to the production of abnormally large and dysfunctional red blood cells, known as megaloblasts, resulting in anemia.
  2. Neurological problems: Vitamin B12 is crucial for the maintenance of the nervous system. Prolonged deficiency can cause neurological damage, which can manifest as numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulty walking, memory loss, problems concentrating, and other neurological symptoms.
  3. Fatigue and weakness: Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, and a general feeling of tiredness.
  4. Gastrointestinal disorders: Some people with B12 deficiency may experience gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or constipation.
  5. Vision problems: B12 deficiency can also affect vision and cause blurred vision.
  6. Mood changes: There may be mood changes, such as irritability, depression, or anxiety.
  7. Cognitive problems: B12 deficiency has been associated with cognitive problems, including difficulties in memory and concentration.
  8. Cardiovascular complications: B12 deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

How do these effects manifest themselves? What are the symptoms?

- Pain and weakness in the extremities,
- Decreased reflexes,
- Instability when walking,
- Stuttering,
- Seizures,
- Depression,
- Lack of spirit,
- Continued fatigue,
- Dementia in the elderly,
- Fatigue,
- Wounds on the tongue,
- Indigestion,
- Bad body odor.

All of these symptoms are reversible if treated early, but some damage can be permanent, especially in children. Its absence in adults usually manifests itself about 5 years later, although in some cases within 1 year.

What do our vitamin B12 levels depend on?

- Of the amount ingested through food,
-How much is segregated and
- How much is absorbed.

What is the amount of vitamin B12 we need per day?

The recommended daily amount is very small, just 10 micrograms per day, much less than what we need from any other vitamin. This amount is based on 50% absorption, although in reality absorbing 3 micrograms a day would be more than enough.

How to get it?

- Through a vegetable supplement of vitamin B12. Our B12 needs have nothing to do with our "supposed" need for meat. The B12 in meat or milk is the same as that in vegetable supplements or enriched foods. Vegans are recommended to take a vegetable vitamin B12 supplement from time to time. There is no toxicity if one exceeds the recommended intake of B12.

- By ingesting it in the form of food, the problem is that our body is sometimes not able to distinguish between vitamin B12 or other analogous substances that do not actually act like B12, and are found in algae. spirulina, nori seaweed, brewer's yeast, alfalfa sprouts, sesame seeds, in some drinking waters, mushrooms, tempeh, miso, fresh vegetables from the organic garden, cauliflower and spinach, whole grains , wheat germ, soy beans...

The amount of vitamin B12 in a food increases as its level of hygiene decreases, as this favors the presence of vitamin B12-producing bacteria.

Why can we have B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur for several reasons. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is essential for various functions in the body, such as the formation of red blood cells, maintenance of the nervous system, and DNA synthesis. Here are some reasons why you might be deficient in B12:

  1. Insufficient dietary intake: Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. People who follow strict vegetarian or vegan diets may be at higher risk of deficiency if they do not consume fortified foods or take supplements.
  2. Absorption problems: Absorption of vitamin B12 occurs mainly in the small intestine. Certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease, can affect the body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
  3. Lack of intrinsic factor: Intrinsic factor is a protein produced in the stomach that is essential for the absorption of vitamin B12. Some people may have a deficiency of this intrinsic factor, making it difficult to absorb B12.
  4. Pernicious anemia: It is a form of anemia caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 due to lack of intrinsic factor. In this case, the immune system attacks the cells that produce intrinsic factor.
  5. Gastric bypass surgery: People who have had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12, as the part of the stomach responsible for absorption may be affected.
  6. Long-term use of certain medications: Some medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (used to treat heartburn) and certain diabetes medications, can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.
  7. Aging: As we age, the body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 may decrease.

Ana Moreno
Excerpted from "Survival Manual for New Vegans"

1 comment on "The Famous Vitamin B12, How to Get It?"

  1. I don't understand, is the egg buried whole, or with its contents exposed?
    Thank you

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