Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vitamin B12 - Just Not That Big Of A Problem

B12. The vegan's nemesis (or so they want us to think). The information is out there on the net in abundance but it can't hurt to have it here as well. After all, the more myths about veganism that are busted, the healthier the planet will be.

Yes - according to the hard facts, you can only get vitamin B12 naturally from animal flesh. There is speculation that there may be other ways of getting it from plant material but the sources are unreliable and when you're messing with the possibility of irreversible damage, unreliable is no good.

The numbers range but the most agreed upon Recommended Daily Intake of B12 in an adult is 2.4 micrograms. The simplest way to achieve this RDI is by taking a daily multi-vitamin (which you should be doing anyway). Check the list of 'ingredients' on the side of your vitamin bottle. Daily, you should be getting 10-100 micrograms of B12. Mine have always contained 100 micrograms, which I believe is pretty much a standard. Another option is to take a B12 supplement of 2000 micrograms once per week, but you're taking the multi-vitamin anyway, right?

Why do you need such a high intake if you only need 2.4 per day? Like anything else you ingest into your system, only so much is actually absorbed into the body before becoming waste product.

What does B12 do? It is needed for cell division and blood formation. Without it, anemia and nerve damage will eventually result. Humans that have switched to a vegan diet in their adult years, and have not fortified their diet with B12, have been know to go 20 years before showing the effects of B12 deficiency. This in an experiment you should not try!

You can get B12 from other sources as well, such as fortified breads, fortified cereals, and fortified soy or rice milk. But, as I'll say a million times over, and believe me I don't get paid to say it a million times over, take a multi-vitamin daily!

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