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#4 – Vitamin B12 for Vegans

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B12 Supplementation

Vegans, whether cooked or raw, are at risk of not getting enough B12 into their diet. Vitamin B12 benefits your mood, energy level, memory, heart, skin, hair, digestion, and more. It is also an essential vitamin for addressing adrenal fatigue, multiple metabolic functions including enzyme production, DNA synthesis, and hormonal balance, and maintaining healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems. So this is nothing to sneeze at. It is wise to be tested regularly for homocysteine or methylmalonic acid levels, which can indicate a B12 deficiency.

Why can’t I get B12 from raw foods?

The best sources of B12 are beef liver, clams, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. Many foods are also fortified with vitamin B12, but they are typically heavily processed. So as you can see, B12 is hard to come by within a vegan or raw vegan diet. You can find some B12 in certain seaweeds and even in chlorella, which I like to add to my green smoothies. Nutritional yeast is another way that a vegan/raw fooder can get some B12 (1 Tbsp = 2.4 micrograms). It is also considered a complete protein since it contains at least nine of the eighteen amino acids that the human body is unable to produce. (source)

But here’s the thing, don’t just supplement or down spoonfuls of nutritional yeast or chlorella, assuring yourself that you don’t need to be concerned by a B12 deficiency. Besides being a vegetarian, vegan, or raw vegan, other factors inhibit the absorption of B12. Vitamin B12 absorption can be hindered when someone has a history of alcoholism or heavy smoking. In addition to alcohol and nicotine, long-term antibiotic use can also reduce the ability of the stomach to absorb and use vitamin B12. For this reason, anyone who has used stomach-acid controlling drugs may want to talk to their doctor about needing vitamin B12 supplements.

Potassium supplements can also reduce the absorption of vitamin B12 benefits, so if you take large amounts of potassium in supplement form, you should watch out for a possible vitamin B12 deficiency. Potassium from food sources shouldn’t cause a problem, but very high amounts may set someone up for a vitamin B12 deficiency.

According to the NIH, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is: (source)

Always talk to your healthcare provider before supplementing.

Which form of B12 do I take?


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