If you are now vegan and are saying "no" to all animal products, it's important for you to know that you are most likely not getting your adequate vitamin B12 in to your diet. If you are not eating meat, then should you be supplementing? The answer is YES. While there are fortified foods out on the market today, eating a sufficient amount every day would be no easy task to get your recommended daily intake, so the best thing to do would be to take a supplement.
How did we get it in the past?
Everyone needs B12 in their daily intake, however, vitamin B12 is found in the intestines of animals. It is essentially made up of bacteria in the soil that is found in ruminant animals such as cows, goats, and sheep that get their B12 while grazing. These animals store it in their tissues and their gut, which in turn, is passed along to people once it is consumed.
What does vitamin B12 do for our body?
Vitamin B12 supports our central nervous system, our brain health, and red blood cell formation. Only a fraction of our B12 intake is absorbed at one time, so making sure that we get our full daily intake is important.
How much should we get?
It is recommended that adults get at least 250 mcg daily to ensure that the minimum amount is properly absorbed in the body. Anything in excess to this will just be eliminated when you urinate. You can easily find B12 in any of your local health food stores or vitamin shop and is pretty inexpensive. And don't forget to check the ingredient labels, too. Be sure to pick one that is vegan. Gelatin can creep up in those supplement capsules. You will most likely find two kinds of vitamin B12 in your shopping travels; cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Dr. Greger states in his book, How Not To Die, that he recommends cyanocobalamin as there have been scientific studies done on their effectiveness. Personally speaking, I am supplementing with methylcobalamin as I find that to be readily available, and I also found one that I really like and to be the most cost saving, too. According to my last testing with my Naturopath, my vitamin B12 levels are optimal and he has no concerns.
I will be talking more in the future on how we can make sure that we are getting in all of our necessary nutrients on a vegan, plant based diet. Vitamin B12 is the one thing that we cannot get from plants.