You may have heard vegans talking about needed a B12 supplement but what actually is it? Vitamin B12 is found attached to the proteins in the food we eat. However, it cannot be adsorbed that way therefore it is the role of your stomach to separate the B12 from food and break them down to a state where they can easily be absorbed into the body. The body stores up to 5mg in the liver at one time and the body actually only needs around 0.2% of this to be released every day so it can function effectively.
So if you aren’t getting enough B12 your past reserves may be able to sustain you until you get more into your system. Getting enough Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells which help to carry oxygen around your body and regulate your nervous system.
The most famous myth around B12 is that vegans don’t get enough of it. This is only partly true. Well-absorbed types of B12 are only available in foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy but this does not mean vegans don’t absorb B12. Many plant-based foods which include non-dairy products have naturally occurring B12 in them. And interestingly in most vegan products, the B12 isn’t bound to protein which means it can be absorbed at a higher rate and can get into the gut more easily, unlike B12 which is bound to protein which relies on your protein doing most of the work to break it down.
What foods have B12 in them?
- Beef liver and clams are the best sources of B12.
- Fish, poultry, meat, and eggs also contain B12
- Some nutritional yeasts have B12 in them
What happens if I don’t get enough B12?
If you have a deficiency you may feel tired, weak, constipated, and have a little appetite. There are many other symptoms such as problems with balance, confusion, poor memory, and soreness in your mouth. If you are concerned speak with your GP or a medical professional.
What are the Benefits of B12?
- Can reduce the risk of Heart Disease.
- Can help to increase endurance and energy
- SUpports bone health
- Helps to prevent anemia
- Supports your gut health
So overall as long as you are eating the right foods you don’t need to take a B12 supplement as your body can only store a certain amount of it at one time but if you are concerned please speak to your GP or a medical professional.