What is B12 anyways?
B12 is only available from bacterial production – it is not made by plants or animals. B12 is found in plants and animals because the bacteria growing in or on them. Also, consider that not all B12 produced are the same. Some are very useful to us while some are called analogs, which are similar to B12 in chemical structure but are not utilizable by our metabolism.
The B12 myth:
B12 like the protein myth is another subject that concerns a lot people that are on a vegan diet. Can vegans get enough B12? The answer is: YES! But it also could vary from person to person – according to their body’s ability to produce and assimilate B12. I know many vegans, including myself, who never had any B12 issues, but I also know two people that follow a vegan raw food diet who were low in B12 and they had to take supplements.
In general, there are many studies out there that have shown that B12 deficiency is rare among healthy vegans. My personal recommendation is to have your blood checked for B12 levels at least every three year.
B12 deficiency can cause nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, fatigue and some other symptoms.
How about B12 supplements? Are they safe?
I personally would not recommend supplements, because some B12 supplements contain GMO ingredients like Cobalamin and vitamin B12. Unless they are declared non-GMO. GMO products have been tested in laboratories all over the world and they have been proven that they are not safe for consumption. Also, you should not take any supplementation unless your doctor recommends.
How to ensure you are getting enough B12?
We have B12-producing bacteria throughout our body, which the amount produced is enough to meet the requirement of 0.5 micrograms per day. Our nasopharyngeal passages alone, produces 0.5 micrograms per day. Utilizable B12 is also produced in the small intestine and in the large intestine, while the colon produces 5 micrograms per day our body can not absorb it from the colon.
As you just read our body produces enough B12 for its own use. But have in mind that not because you body is producing B12 that you shouldn’t have it checked – because you should. You body may be producing it but is it assimilating it? Another good questions, uh? To ensure your body will be producing and assimilating B12 you have to avoid acid foods like: coffee, soda, alcohol and other acidifying foods.
Adopting a healthy vegan diet will help the B12 producing bacteria flourish in your body. So, the major source of B12 for vegans? – their own body. Second, B12 is also found on organic fruits and green leafy vegetables, as long as they are not washed with tap water, some utilizable B12 will remain on them that were produced by bacteria from the soil.