B12 is one of the most vital vitamins for the proper functioning of a human body. Also known as cobalamin, it is responsible for carrying out critical functions such as DNA & RNA synthesis, haemoglobin production and maintaining our nervous system. Vitamin B12 belongs to the cobalamins family and is mostly found in food sourced from animal products. Popular Vitamin B12 foods include dairy products, eggs, meat and fish. However, vitamin B12 sources for vegans are few in number, and it becomes extremely essential for people who follow this lifestyle to ensure a proper intake of the vitamin to avoid deficiency.
Do you know low B12 levels in your body can cause nervous system damage and may cause anaemia? B12 is also known for reducing complications related to pregnancy. It is a saviour for heart patients since Vitamin B12 reduces the risk of a heart attack. Be it a supplement or fortified food, Vitamin B12 can only be sourced from microorganisms. Vegans out there can get their dose of Vitamin B12 in fortified breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast and other fortified foods. They can also eat yeast spreads and specific types of mushrooms for sourcing Vitamin B12.
The market is thriving with Vitamin B12 supplements which ensure proper intake on a daily and weekly basis. The supplements provide at least 10 micrograms of B12 every day, which is essential for us. While consuming Vitamin B12, you should note that B12 is best absorbed by our body in little amounts. Deficiency of B12 can take as much as five years to appear in adults. Low levels of Vitamin B12 can affect mood and cause depression since it fluctuates serotonin production. Considering the benefits, it is advisable that Vitamin B12 must be consumed adequately.
Top Vitamin B12 sources for Vegans
Nutritional yeast is one of the most popular food products often used in vegan kitchens. Apart from healthy minerals, antioxidants and protein, yeast also contains several B vitamins. Do you know as low as one tablespoon of yeast has over 180% of RDI for B vitamins? In a nutshell, nutritional yeast is rich in Vitamin B12, Niacin, Riboflavin and Thiamine. Moreover, yeast is a total protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Since B12 is majorly found in animal sources, vegans can easily supplement their diets by including yeast.
B12 is a highly soluble vitamin in water. Today, the market is thriving with readily available Vitamin water that can be consumed to source Vitamin B12. Since it’s highly soluble, when taken with water, our body almost immediately absorbs the vitamin. Human body stores Vitamin B12 in the liver for years. It helps in creating red blood cells and aids our central nervous system.
Start your day with a morning breakfast rich in Vitamin B12. Fortified cereals are another amazing source of Vitamin B12. Be it cornflakes, oat flakes or general mill flakes, fortified cereals can be a great source for your B12 needs. Your morning breakfast is the best time to take Vitamin B12. Your body gets all day to absorb and benefit from the vitamin. A bowl of cornflakes can serve 100% of your daily Vitamin B12 intake needs. Apart from that, fortified cereals are rich in fibre and hence ensure proper bowel movement.
Another exclusive source of Vitamin B12 for vegans is Shitake Mushrooms. Although B12 levels are relatively low, you may pair Mushrooms with any of the above-mentioned food items. You should eat at least 50 grams of Shitake Mushrooms to fulfil the body’s B12 needs. People who like exotic vegetables can find Shiitake Mushroom a good source of Vitamin B12. These can be consumed in breakfast, lunch and dinner as per your flexibility.
Vitamin B12 supplements:
One should know that vegans, pregnant women, and seniors are prone to Vitamin B12 deficiency more than others. Even age and digestive problems can cause a deficiency of B12 in our bodies. The deficiency of B12 can cause tiredness, vision loss, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Luckily, people can take Vitamin B12 supplements as an energy and endurance booster. B12 supplements can ensure a daily recommended dosage of Vitamin B12 and treat deficiency.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms and the Bottom Line
Fatigue, blurred vision, excessive sweating, nerve damage, digestive problems, tingling in hands are some of the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency in your body. At any cost, vegans should be mindful about their Vitamin B12 intake. The daily recommended amount for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults and 1.5 mcg for children. Introducing the foods we talked about above in your diet can make a difference. Pregnant ladies must know B12 also helps in preventing major birth defects. It promotes healthy growth of bones and reduces the risk of macular degeneration.