Vitamin B12 – all you need to know as a vegan!
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Anyone on a vegan diet cannot avoid one thing: B12. The vitamin is currently on everyone’s lips, in the truest sense of the word. In this blog post I will tell you what you need to know about the vital preparation, how to recognize a deficiency and how you can safely cover your needs.
WHY DO VEGANS HAVE TO SUPPLEMENT B12?
Plants themselves do not contain any vitamin B12, but soils that are not contaminated with chemicals form bacteria that can actually produce vitamin B12. The problem: Even if you eat organic food today and leave the peel on top of fruit and vegetables, you don’t have a chance to absorb enough of this vitamin. Why? The answer is very simple. Our soils are now so polluted that these good bacteria no longer have a chance to stay there. In addition, all fresh foodstuffs are always washed, peeled or cleaned in another way. This means that the valuable vitamin is lost on the surface from the harvesting area to the dining table.
In India, for example, people in rural areas have no shortage. It is therefore assumed that the B12, which would theoretically adhere to the plants, still exists. This could explain why a B12 shortage is virtually unknown in rural India. Even when people eat pure vegan food for years.
Vitamin B12, which can be used by us humans in the Western area, is now only found in animal products. These include meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. This fact is sufficient for many critics to claim that the vegan diet is not perfect. This is total rubbish when you become aware of the problems with today’s floors.
WHERE IS VITAMIN B12 AVAILABLE IN A VEGAN FORM?
Some vegan foods are already enriched with vitamin B12. However, these added quantities are usually too small. Therefore, it is almost impossible to cover our needs with it. Plus: Organic products must not be enriched with vitamins in the first place. So if you buy organic, you can forget about it anyway!
There is also a lot of discussion as to whether so-called analogue vitamin B12 forms are available. Spirulina and chlorella (I take the Chlorella from Nu3. With the code NU3ANI30 you’ll get 30% discount)are said to also contain several times the daily consumption. That’s true, but they only contain it in analogue form. Our organism is actually able to produce B12 itself, but apparently only in the small intestine (according to today’s state of knowledge). Spirulina and chlorella are only absorbed in the colon, which could be too late. The whole issue is still very controversial today and opinions are drifting apart. Recent studies indicate that certain types of algae actually contain B12, i. e. B12 that we can absorb. Especially the Nori Alge seems to contain a large amount of B12. Until all this has been researched, I can only recommend that you continue to supplement. I’ll tell you how to do that.
VITMIN B 12: WHICH SUPPLEMENTS ARE THE BEST?
Vitamins are available in tablet form (500 to 1000 µg per tablet). If you already have a diagnosed deficiency, you can start by taking one tablet daily. That’s what happened to me. My values were not much below the reference value, but there was already a small defect. Later – or for people without deficiency – it is therefore sufficient to take one tablet twice a week.
Good to know: Since the human body can store vitamin B12 for a longer period of time, such uniquely high doses of B12 can cover its supply for a long time. Plus: Vitamin B12 is soluble in water. This means that if you take too much of it, the excess vitamin B12 is simply excreted with the urine.
Attention, attention: Vitamin B12 is often sold together with other B vitamins. It may well be that the capsule is not vegan, but contains gelatine. Strictly speaking, the preparation is no longer even vegetarian. It’s best if you go to your family doctor for a status assessment. These blood tests are expensive and the results are available within a few hours. Make sure that the holo-TC value is determined. This is the most important indicator. Unfortunately, there are still doctors who cannot test it or that the laboratory does not offer this test. However, the earliest indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency is exactly this holotranscobalamine level in the serum (also known as holo-TC value).
ALL POSSIBILITIES FOR VITAMIN B12 INTAKE:
Vegan tablets: A high-dose preparation containing 1,000 µg of vitamin B12 as methyl cobalamin. Methylcobalamin is to be preferred because in this form the vitamin B12 is better absorbed!
Various studies have shown that B12 can be absorbed particularly well via the oral mucosa. That’s why I like to use a toothpaste that has been enriched with it.
Inject injection directly into the muscle: If the memory is empty or B12 is not well absorbed via the stomach and intestine (in case of indigestion the case). But I have to say that I don’t know anything about it and I have also heard it from people who didn’t even understand it.
If enriched foods are consumed regularly, the amount of supplementation in tablet form can be reduced. I prefer to eat yeast flakes or take chlorella tablets.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT I HAVE A DEFICIENCY?
First of all, it must be said that vitamin B12 deficiency is often considered a “problem of vegans”. But that is wrong. Rather, doctors are much less sensitive to vitamin B12 deficiency in meat eaters. In the case of meat eaters, however, the deficiency is often not recognized or not even tested in the first place.
But in older people the risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency is increased. Even if they don’t eat vegan food. This is related to the production of gastric juices, which eventually declines. This means that the vitamin can no longer be absorbed well.
SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY:
- tingling or numbness of the limbs
- reduced sensation of pain or pressure
- visual disturbances
- aching tongue
- strange posture and gait
B12: THE UNEXPLORED VITAMIN
There are still a lot of questions about B12 that cannot be answered conclusively. For example, there are vegans who have been completely healthy for decades without taking additional B12. Normally it is said that you develop a deficiency after about 3-5 years. On the other hand, there are vegetarians and even meat eaters who suffer from a dangerous shortage.
Recent studies also assume that long-lasting stress can increase the consumption of B12 (B12 is very important for the development of nerve cells). Also exciting: antibiotic treatments can damage the digestion to such an extent that B12 can hardly be absorbed anymore.
One thing is certain: since the discovery of the vitamin, about 60 years ago, we have learned a lot and yet we still know little about it today. So I can only advise you to play it safe and take pills. And as I said: If you absorb too much of it, the body will excrete it anyway.
Now I’d love to know if you take a B12 supplement too. And if so, which one and how often? Was this article helpful? Looking forward to read your opinion about it.