Hi guys! This is a topic I know all too well. I struggled with a B12 deficiency for over 5 years. B12 deficiency is a common health problem not only affecting plant-based munchers, although they are at higher risk.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, even though I was still eating animal products on a daily-ish. My body stopped absorbing this essential vitamin and supplements were of no use to me as my levels kept dropping. That’s when they decided to put me on monthly injections to bypass the digestive tract
Doctors couldn’t explain why this was happening as there was nothing wrong with me, except the vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms. Malabsorption of B12 is often seen in people with stomach issues or autoimmune diseases.
After 5 years of these injections, everything went back to normal. And again doctors had no medical explanation for this. However, I think eating more raw veggies, especially leafy greens, fruits and fewer grains, dairy, and animal products had something to do with it… because that are the things I changed during those years… and daily yoga 🙂
Vitamin B12 deficiency can have serious consequences
Vitamin B12 (or cobalamin) plays a significant role in the production of DNA and red blood cells. It is also involved in the production of our protective myelin layer around our nerves.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause several health issues like:
- Memory loss
- Strange sensations and tingling in hands, legs and feet
And that were exactly the symptoms I was experiencing in 2008. Usually, I was always bursting with life. I loved going out with friends… but suddenly my happy life changed, and my bed and couch became my best friend. I simply lost my interest in life.
For me, the B12 injections saved my life and brought back my energy and love for life. Now that my body has healed and kicked back into action, we eat 2 servings of organic meat or fish a week to meet our needs.
B12 almost only found in animal products
B12 is produced in the gut of animals, and plants don’t need B12 for any of their internal processes, so they don’t store it either.
Many vegans and vegetarians, however, believe that certain foods like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina, and brewer’s yeast contain B12. But those actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides and can do more harm than good. Those analogs block the intake of the real vitamin B12 and increase the need.
So if you’re a vegan or vegetarian it is important to check your levels and supplement with B12 when necessary. This is especially important for vegan or vegetarian children and pregnant woman, whose needs are greater.
B12 supplements and injections are amongst the safest supplements on the market and vitally important.
If you have been following my blog posts then you know I always advise against supplements as eating a balanced, whole food diet should meet all your needs. Well, we’ve come to the one exception, and that’s B12, especially if you don’t eat animal products.
B12 tests and supplements are cheap and easy. Even if you’re not covered by an insurance.
How To make sure you get your daily dose
Or daily need of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms. The easiest way to meet your needs is through organic fish, seafood, eggs, and meat. 2 small servings a week should provide you with enough B12 to get you through the week.
For 100% vegans and vegetarians, it is important to eat B12 fortified foods such as fortified nut milks and cereals. But make sure to pick the ones that are the least processed and doesn’t contain a lot of hidden sugars. Or like I said before, vitamin B12 supplements are amongst the safest supplements out there.
If you struggled with the same issues, what helped you overcome the deficiency? Please share your thoughts on this vital topic with us in the comment box below.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.