9 Jun 2014

Vitamin B12: Are You Getting Yours? {by The Rawtarian, Laura-Jane}

Today’s hot topic is Vitamin B12. Most of us are aware of our daily nutritional requirements: vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbs, etc. However, one vitamin that is often overlooked is—you guessed it—Vitamin B12! I learned about Vitamin B12 the hard way (but more on that later!). Let’s take a closer look at this extremely important vitamin…
Vitamin B12 – In a Nutshell
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, as well as preventing anaemia. Its absorption is facilitated by stomach acid during the course of digestion. It can be stored in our body for years. B12 is mainly found in animal sources, fortified foods, and supplements. 
Primary Sources of B12 
B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products. Some foods are fortified with B12, such as cereals and meal-replacement shakes.
Alternate sources of B12
There are claims that B12 can be found in fermented or other alternative foods such as inca berries and blue algae. If you want to use alternate sources, make sure you’ve researched that they do, indeed, contain B12, and make sure you are eating enough to get your daily requirement! 
However, if you are diagnosed with a deficiency, these sources will likely not be enough to restore your levels to normal. Supplements will probably be required, especially if you are exhibiting deficiency symptoms. Make sure you discuss your options with your doctor.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency
Last year I noticed an unpleasant tingling in my hands and feet, that didn’t go away. Blood tests showed a B12 deficiency. I promptly went on supplements, because if a B12 deficiency isn’t properly and quickly treated, neurological symptoms (like the tingling) may be irreversible—and I didn’t want to risk that! Even “low normal” levels of B12 can cause symptoms.
Some symptoms you may notice:
  • Neurological symptoms such as tingling in hands and feet 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Depression
  • Mental impairment (memory loss, confusion)
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Anaemia

Types of supplements 
There are all sorts of supplements available. B12 comes in pill, liquid, sublingual (dissolved beneath the tongue), nasal, and injection. 
If you are not deficient, you can supplement with a ‘normal’ daily dosage of B12 which is actually quite low. The daily recommendation for B12 is minimum 2.4 mcg for adults (higher for pregnant/lactating women). Look for the methylcobalamin form of B12 in your supplement.
If you are low or deficient, or suffer from malabsorption issues, then  nasal, sublingual, or injections might be indicated. Some factors that prevent absorption are anaemia, illness, bowel disease, or chronic use of antacids like Zantac & Pepcid.
Bottom line: make sure you’re getting your B12!
If you choose not to supplement, make sure you are getting the recommended amount of B12, whatever source you’re using. I recommend having your B12 levels tested to make absolutely sure you are not becoming deficient. If you are deficient, follow your doctor’s advice and take the required supplements. 

My experience with B12 deficiency certainly opened my eyes—I certainly didn’t expect to be deficient in anything! Thankfully my symptoms did disappear, and I now take a daily supplement. What about you—are you getting enough B12 in your diet? 

Laura-Jane Koers is a dedicated raw vegan who delights in sharing her passion. Her decision to ‘go raw’ five years ago transformed her life. She now hosts a popular raw food recipe site, The Rawtarian [http://www.therawtarian.com/]. There you will find 100+ simple, satisfying recipes, as well as a wide variety of podcasts, video tutorials, e-books and online courses.

When not uncooking in the kitchen, Laura-Jane lives the good life in the country, tending her garden, and hiking with her husband and dog.

You can also connect with Laura-Jane on Twitter [https://twitter.com/therawtarian] and Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/therawtarian].


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Name: Shari said...

You can also get a B12 shot from your doctor or naturopath. That's what I've done when my levels are really low. Helps immediately.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a b12 supplement that doesn't contain cobalt?

I'm allergic. I started taking it last year, and my whole body and face broke out in rashes and I couldn't figure out why. Had allergy testing done a year later and found out I was highly allergic to cobalt, and that it is in b12

One love said...

Hippy Mom, Hey Em, its been a while, I just wanted to say sorry if my comment was taken wrong , I guess im use to naked hippies especially at burning man most peeps I know don't wear any clothes for the week and take pics and post them, my friends are still making fun of me saying Im harassing you, well hope your well and I still love your blog!!!

Anonymous said...

I have had a deficiency too and people started immediately saying that I have to eat meat again. What people dont know is that Vitamin B12 gets actually built from bacterias in the ground. So when plant eating animals eats gras then they get it from there and thats why humans get Vit B12 from animals. But there are even meateaters who have a deficiency because the animals in factory farmings dont get gras anymore, so they have already a deficiency.
Our colonbacterias can built Vit B12 as well but its not possible to get it into the blood.
So to prevent the deficiency we might stop washing so much our vegetables and fruits. In India the hygienic standard is not so high and there you dont find really a deficiency and the most of the people eat vegetarian!
I have gotten once per week a shot for 3 weeks, then after 4 weeks and then after 3 months again. Then the resources are full again and then its fine with supplements or 2 times per year a shot.
Hope that helped

Anonymous said...

my level of b12 currently is extremely high -- hippy mom

Zanna said...

The B12 molecule contains cobalt... Hmm!

Anonymous said...

I've been LFRV for 3 years, vegetarian for 15 years before that. I took a B12 supplement on and rarely over the last 5 years. For the first time I had my B12 levels checked last month, I fully expected a low level. Instead it was on the higher side of normal!!

Anonymous said...

I get my B12 from seaweed. Here is the link to related subject: http://www.rawfoodexplained.com/why-we-should-not-eat-meat/the-facts-about-vitamin-b12.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily! I have been a huge fan of your blog for ages, i also have my own that i would love you to check out =]. I was just wondering if you could tell me how you got the social network badge to stay on your page as you scroll….

Thank you!

Minerva said...

Hey great article!
First of alle greetings from Germany!

Just my 2 cents: Please point out more that it has to be : methylcobalamin

Moste pills and injections have another active component which is inactive or as we say not bio active. methylcobalamin is bio active so it's in my opinion the only choice! inactive b12 only goes into your blood but not really in the b12 storage!!!

Minerva said...

Sorry just had to write one more so i get email notification and to tell you guys that seaweed like chlorella or spirulina has awfully only inactive b12 !!!

Animals that are bought in the supermarket only got their b12 from supplementation with synthetical chemical created b12. so as i said is it only the b12 which only makes your blood values look better but it never does anything good because it wont fill up your storage!!!

sorry for my bad english i hope i could help :)

btw. im raw vegan

VirreVojj said...
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