Importance of Vitamin B12 intake in Vegan and Raw Food Diet
The vegan and raw food diets are great because you can enjoy nutrients in their purest state. But, these diets are not perfect, and you should be aware both of the benefits and downsides of such diets. One of the most important issues is vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin is scarce in food, being found only in several types of food, especially if you are a vegetarian. And you should be aware of what does such deficiency implies and how you can fight it off. You won’t be able to ignore it since it can trigger serious health issues, so do keep reading, to find out how it manifests and how you can manage it.
The most common sign of not getting enough vitamin B12 is anemia. Also, extended periods in which this vitamin is absent from your system can lead to damages in the nervous system. Each vitamin and nutrient have their purpose, and its absence is never something that should be left uncontrolled. So the lack of vitamins B12 makes us feel tired all the time, to lack sleep, problems in focusing and working, depressions, and many more. In the worst cases, manias can get installed, or the spinal cord gets damaged. Thus, it is an issue that must be treated with a large dose of seriousness.
What are sources of vitamin B12?
If you are wondering where you can find the vitamin B12, you should know that all fresh fruits and vegetables contain it, more or less. So a way to make sure you get this vitamin in your body is through food. Although, you should also know that organic fruits and vegetables will contain a higher dose of B12. Why? Because vitamin B12 is produced by living bacteria and released into the soil. From here, it is taken by plants in their body. In the case of controlled crops, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used, the bacteria responsible for producing B12 is not present in such large quantities. Thus, a vegetable or fruit coming from such a harvest will not have a significant dose of B12. Still, even by eating fruits and veggies, which are an essential part of the vegan and raw food diet, may not offer you the needed B12 daily dose. You should consider supplementing your daily diet with fortified foods or supplements containing this vitamin.
When we are talking about fortified foods, we mean foods that specifically have an added amount of vitamin B12. To check if certain foods have sufficient quantities of this vitamin, you need to check the label of the product. In case you are a vegan or follow a raw food diet, you should know what your options are concerning the B12 intake. Thus, you can do the following, to ensure that your body has the correct portion of this vitamin. In case you choose to eat fortified foods, they should be present in your diet two or three times a day, just to get about 3 micrograms daily of B12. A daily supplement can provide 10 micrograms. And a vitamin supplement taken once a week will add 2000 micrograms. Still, the best way to make sure that your body takes full advantage of B12 is to take it in small portions. So probably the most balanced way is to take daily supplements, as they have the right dosage, and it is the easiest way to make sure you have a correct B12 intake.
What type of supplements should be used?
Quality should always precede quantity, so go for supplements that are easily absorbed by the organism and has a reliable content. Some of the most reputable vitamin B12 supplements are Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin. If you never took B12 supplements, probably these names mean nothing to you. So, whether you heard about them or not, we are going to discuss a few details about these supplements and make a comparison between the two in the following lines.
Cyanocobalamin is supplement widely used for the prevention of vitamin B12 deficiencies. When you think about a vitamin supplement, you consider that it is good for you and that it will help you be healthier. That is very much true, but that doesn’t mean the vitamin content is necessarily natural. Many vitamin supplements on the market today use synthetic products, like laboratory replicas of the vitamins we find out in nature. So a downside of Cyanocobalamin is that it does not contain B12 we would normally find in plants. More precisely, it contains a cyanide molecule, as the name suggests as well. Before you panic, you should know that in very small quantities, cyanide will not harm the organism. You should know that the seeds of many fruits, like the ones found in apple, naturally contain small amounts of cyanide, just in case you noticed that they are bitter if you ate them by accident. But these amounts are insignificant and are not toxic. Still, it is a substance your body has to deal with and to eliminate it in the end. So a detoxification process may be more than welcomed, to support this process.
On the other hand, Methylcobalamin was noticed to be more easily absorbed by the organism. The body appears also to retain a higher quantity of vitamin, instead of washing it off with the debris. By doing a simple thinking, we can notice that a better absorption rate mean that the supplement is better used by the organism. Another advantage of Methylcobalamin is that it contains vitamins B12 in a form that is much preferred by the brain. In the beginning, we talked about how the lack of B12 can cause damages to the nervous system. So offering it this vitamin in a form that can be used efficiently, by the nervous system, is a great plus. Practically, the supplement you are taking goes straight to doing the job it is supposed to do. Don’t you know how to recognize a B12 deficiency in your brain? If you experience dizziness, tingling, burning sensations, numbness, muscle cramps, slow reflexes, then you probably need vitamin B12 supplementation.
How much vitamin B12 can I take a day?
As you can see, it is not right to disregard the absence of vitamin B12, because the symptoms are quite unpleasant. And when you put at risk your nervous system, the consequences can be severe. We require very small quantities of B12 to function normally, in comparison with other types of vitamins, but even the lack of this subtle vitamin can lead to incredible health related problems. If you are wondering about the correct B12 intake, you should know that standards vary from one country to another. It may start from 2.4 micrograms, and it can go up to 3 micrograms. The recommendations are made considering that the average absorption rate is about 50%. Thus, you should take enough B12 so that the final absorbed quantity to reach 1.5 micrograms, every day. It is believed that this quantity is sufficient to prevent the unwanted effects of vitamin deficiency and further complications.
The frequent consumption of fortified foods is welcomed, since they bring about 1 microgram of B12 at every meal. Meaning that if you have these foods three times a day, you will reach the 3 micrograms of daily B12 intake. Also, if you choose to take a daily supplement, of 10 micrograms, will lead in the end to approximately the same amount of absorbed B12 as in consuming fortified foods. This is why supplements are considered to be more economical and practical. Still, the best way to enjoy these supplements is by chewing them or letting them dissolve in our mouth, to get a better absorption. Also, they should be kept in dark containers, away from light. And the recommended dosage should not be exceeded. Do not take more than 5000 micrograms in an entire week, to avoid any potential issues. There aren’t any records concerning toxicity in the case of taking too much B12, but it is always best to stay within the recommended limits.
Where to buy vitamin B12 tablets?
The only Vitamin B12 tablets I personally recommend can be found here: Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin
Even though vitamin B12 is frequently disregarded, and we need it in small quantities, our body needs it, and the lack of it causes serious imbalances. Regardless of the type of diet you are following, vitamin B12 must be present in your organism. If you experience any of the previously presented symptoms, it may be a sign that you do not have a proper vitamin B12 intake. Every time we feel bad or unusual may indicate an unbalance, triggered by problems in our diet or inadequate vitamin and nutrient intake. Our diet is extremely important in keeping a great health, this is why a diverse and balanced diet will ensure that we benefit from all the available nutrients. Still, B12 is that vitamin that is rather scarce in nature, so it is best to help ourselves by taking supplements or fortified foods, just to make sure that our nervous system is not subjected to any risks.