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Thread: Is B12 really something to worry about?

  1. #1
    sigen92's Avatar
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    Default Is B12 really something to worry about?

    When I first went vegetarian, I was constantly asked whether I got enough protein. Now, after reading up on it, I have learnt that this is not an issue if you eat a healthy, balanced diet.

    Then I stumbled over the B12 question when I went vegan (two weeks now! lol) and my question is: Do we really have to worry about it? Is it possible to have a normal vegan diet without taking supplements or buying specific types of food, just to meet the daily recommendation?

    Sorry if this seems about newbie, but I do try to lead a healthy, but also ethically right, life so this question has been bothering me for some time now...
    Why kill when you have the choice to avoid it?

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is B12 really something to worry about?

    ...to worry about B12... compared with what? ;-)

    According to American Dietetic Association, "An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals."

    This means that if you're not on a vegan diet, you should worry about...
    • a higher risk of death from ischemic heart disease
    • higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels
    • higher blood pressure
    • higher rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes
    • higher body mass index
    • higher overall cancer rates
    • increased risk of chronic disease
    • higher intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol
    •lower intakes of fiber, phytochemicals
    ....and much more.

    Therefore taking some B12 isn't such a big deal, really.


    Is it possible to have a normal vegan diet without taking supplements or buying specific types of food, just to meet the daily recommendation?
    B12 can be stored in the body for months and even years - you don't need to take anything daily. But a "normal" plant based food doesn't mean unprocessed, fresh, organic food anymore. All depending on your current B12 and MMA levels, it may be a good idea to stay away from B12 for some time, but in general - it's better to have a little too much B12 than a little too little.

    Your body consumes some B12 every day, which is why you need to provide it with some more - but with our modern lifestyle and 'modern' food, there's no reason to trust that the plants we consume nowadays can give us all the B12 we need.

    Protein, calcium, iron etc. is easy to get from vegan food if you just eat the right food, but the special thing about B12 is that it is very fragile, exist only in really small amounts and that it's easily destroyed by it's 'enemies'.

    Short version: either monitor your level of active B12 by taking the relevant blood tests circa every year - or take some B12.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  3. #3
    Muvesz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is B12 really something to worry about?

    I don't take supplements (unless I am traveling).
    So many foods are fortified with B12.
    My personal choice for a little extra B12 is Aloe Vera juice. You should be able to buy it at any healthfood store. It's amazing.

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