November 24, 2017
B12 And A Vegan Diet
Most people are not aware at what exactly vitamin B12 does or why it is so important. In my personal experience though, many are quick to ask where I receive my B12 from through a vegan diet. In my learning I have discovered many interesting things about this vitamin that would be great to anyone, especially someone who does not consume meat, to have this knowledge.
One of the main functions of vitamin B12 is the fact it is essential for the metabolism of the nerve tissue. This includes the heath of the nervous system and aids in assuring red blood cells are developed properly and do not become over-sized or misshapen. Interestingly, even though B12 is a water soluble vitamin it can be stored in the liver, heart, brain, blood and bone marrow and an actual deficiency may take years to develop. But since it is so important to the proper functions of the nervous system it is important to receive an adequate amount daily.
For someone who is vegan, there are very limited sources of B12; since significant amounts are solely found in animal protein. Nutritional yeast is definitely the most well known ‘vegan’ food to contain B12, although small amounts are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, tempeh and miso. B12 is also manufactured by the body, in the intestines by bacteria. With that being said and where it gets tricky, your digestion must be excellent in order to allow for proper absorption of B12. If you consume a whole food diet, with limited amounts of refined and sugary foods you increase your chance of naturally obtaining the recommend daily allowance of 10 to 20 mcg.
This is why supplementing is highly recommend but not an absolute need. It is important to have your blood work done to check your vitamin B12 levels if you do choose to not supplement this vitamin.
*A fun little tip: mix sauerkraut with mashed avocado for a dipping sauce or sauce to spread on your sandwiches. It is so creamy and sour, it taste amazing!*